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By Devon Maresco
There’s a reason building information modeling (BIM) has become the standard for building planning and facilities maintenance in the modern age. As buildings become more sophisticated, our demands and expectations for better facilities management also grow. The benefits of BIM empower facilities managers to meet those expectations.
What is BIM used for? How does it enable better utilization of facilities? What are the benefits of BIM in the context of facilities management? Look at the answers to these questions below, as we outline the 10 biggest benefits of BIM:
- Better budgeting. How much did your HVAC system cost to maintain last year? Do you have any capital improvements coming up? BIM software can answer these questions and more to enable better budgeting and cost planning. While many facilities managers already practice this level of budgeting, BIM automates and does it better, for more accurate, informed budgets.
- Cost optimization. In addition to budgeting, cost optimization is an integral part of facilities maintenance. It’s vital to know the total cost of ownership of facilities subsystems and their components, to make smarter decisions about maintenance vs. replacements and upgrades. Cost information gathered by BIM makes cost-conscious decisions simpler.
- Subsystem insights. One of the premier advantages of using BIM is the ability to see each subsystem within a building and understand its context. How does that system exist in relation to others, and what’s its role in broader building function? With this information in-hand, facilities managers can make better decisions about how they manager, alter, and maintain different subsystems, and the effects of those decisions on the building.
- Dynamic updates. Especially during building and renovation phases, dynamic updates empower real-time insights about a building. If you change X variable in a BIM plan, it updates Y and Z affected systems, to show a true-to-form model of what those changes look like and what they mean for facilities as whole. This intuitive action-reaction relationship cuts down on the guesswork of modifying facilities.
- Clash detection. What happens when you make a change to one subsystem that disrupts a different subsystem? Trying to route plumbing through HVAC ducting, for example. These types of clashes derail development and can cause bigger issues for facilities managers and contractors when they become apparent. Clash detection through BIM prevents these issues from arising by stopping the actions that lead to them.
- Reduced rework. With clash detection comes another benefit—reduced work. If the BIM model detects a potential clash, it can show alternatives to avoid it. Stakeholders can explore new solutions to their needs that avoid subsystem clashes, leading to the desired result without putting in any need to backtrack and redo work that’s already done. This is especially beneficial for cost conservation—in both man-hours and materials costs.
- Improved productivity. Reduced rework has extrapolating benefits, including better productivity. Doing things right the first time is the pinnacle of productivity and doing the work on an expedited timeline that’s already accounted for potential clashes means fewer potential errors that creep into the process. The productivity benefits associated with BIM extend to projects of all sizes and scopes, which makes it a vital component in project planning.
- Risk mitigation. BIM risk mitigation takes many forms. BIM can help model maintenance and improvement task sequentially, to reduce risks associated with the scope of a project. Or it can deliver risk analysis for certain aspects of building function. It can even mitigate on-the-job risks by assessing the inherent dangers of specific tasks. In short: BIM makes facilities maintenance and modification safer.
- Enhanced agility. When you can approach building management and maintenance safer, with more knowledge, and with a complete understanding of costs, you can move quicker. Agility is one of the premier benefits of BIM and, as a result, it helps facility managers get results quicker. In fact, this agility reinforces many of the other benefits BIM offers: cost savings, better insights, and risk mitigation.
- Superior decision-making. All these benefits roll into one overarching benefit—better decision-making. Because BIM is a data-driven system that offers comprehensive insight to facilities and the systems hat power them, there’s never any need to guess about the best way to oversee, maintain, or manage the building. Every decision becomes a data-driven one, which means there’s an opportunity for betterment across the board.
Think about these benefits in terms of saved time and money, as well as improved productivity and efficiency. It becomes very quickly evident why BIM is so important and why companies are increasingly using it to power a more sophisticated approach to facilities management.
Keep reading: What is BIM in Facilities Management?