Building information modeling (BIM) has long been the digital cornerstone of the design, planning, and construction phases. With BIM in integrated facilities management, you can leverage existing data to streamline operations and maintenance. 

Watch How To Leverage BIM for Facilities Management 

Long gone are the days of simple brick and mortar buildings. Modern facilities are at the cutting edge of architecture, civil engineering, and material science. And we use sophisticated technologies to design, plan, construct, operate, and maintain them. Building information modeling (BIM) supports collaboration and streamlines workflows at every stage of the facility life cycle, allowing teams to centralize, share, and leverage data.      

What is BIM and what can it tell us? 

Buildings involve large investments of time and money, so they require many different teams of professionals, including architects, engineers, real estate developers, contractors, and manufacturers. Because there are so many people involved, the problem has always been coordination. For example, when the architects remove an interior wall from the plans, how do they ensure the engineers check and sign off on the changes? BIM solves the problem of siloed data by establishing a shared central source of truth about a building and its systems – a common data 

 environment (CDE) – that every team can access and update. 

A BIM model can contain many types of data, including: 

  • Material 
  • Geospatial 
  • Logistical 
  • Financial 
  • Temporal

BIM is more than just a repository for information, however. It is a process for collaboration. It is both what the teams share and also how they share it. 

The future of BIM is bright. As machine learning folds into BIM software, computers are able to tell us more about our buildings than we could ever hope to learn looking at schematics and blueprints. It’s why BIM is now a mandatory requirement on UK public sector projects and will be mandatory for all German transportation projects by the end of this year. 

What does this all mean for facility managers? 

 BIM as a function of facility management 

Many think of BIM as only a part of the first stages of the facility life cycle. But because so much of your total cost of ownership (TCO) is in operations and maintenance, it makes good sense to leverage as much of your existing data as possible for as long as possible. 

You can use BIM to find the answers to important questions, including: 

  • How much does an asset cost you to run within the framework of facility maintenance? 
  • What is the service record for Y this year?  
  • If you make an upgrade to Z, what will the ramifications be to peripheral systems? 

BIM lets you examine a true-to-life model of facilities and parse information on an as-needed basis. It’s one thing to look at a balance sheet and see costs and figures associated with facilities—it’s another to look at a building model and see where those costs come from and how you can adjust to shrink them. 

Facility managers have embraced BIM. It provides insights into vital systems and enables you to model the effects and changes affiliated with upkeep, repair, or improvement. It shows you what’s happening now and how various changes will affect future outcomes. Finally, it’s a system of record that integrates with space management software to drive data-backed solutions. All that means it’s a powerful tool for facility managers at every level of decision-making. 

How does BIM benefit facility managers? 

Researchers have spent decades developing BIM to aid building managers as they seek to reduce costs, improve building return on investment, streamline operations, improve employee engagement, and prevent problems early, before they require expensive fixes. 

BIM benefits facility managers on a day-to-day basis by: 

  • Generating cost savings in facilities upkeep, maintenance, and improvements 
  • Improving project efficiency and expedites delivery time for results 
  • Reducing safety risks and clashes, which lowers passive change orders 
  • Delivering greater predictability for facility maintenance and upkeep 
  • Improving the visibility and oversight of facilities managers in everyday upkeep 
  • Providing a system of record and visibility for vital systems within the building 
  • Integrating with facility management software and systems to automate processes 


BIM helps you maintain existing elements. First, it gives you a complete list of all your assets and equipment. Because it contains records of everything that was added during the planning and construction phases, you know what you have, including critical information like make, model, and manufacturer.  

Not only do you know what you have, you also know where you have. Thanks to BIM, once a maintenance manager and their team of techs have access to accurate site maps and floorplans, they can quickly find the assets and equipment they need to maintain or repair. When they arrive, they know everything they need to know about the asset, from manufacturer to specifications.  

But it also helps with renovations, refurbishments, and expansions. When you can tell contractors the locations of all the plumbing, wiring, and air vents inside the walls, they can more efficiently plan their projects while avoiding safety risks. In fact, BIM facilitates total management of a building across diverse teams. Anyone can glean robust information from the powerful data of a digitized building and its systems to provide better, more efficient, targeted results. 

BIM matters in the future of smart workplaces 

With the introduction of smart buildings packed with sensors, BIM is set to become even more important. Every Internet of Things (IoT) sensor provides contextual data points that factor into the ecosystem of a building. For example, energy use, occupancy, and temperature. BIM will be able to replicate a real-time dynamic picture of a building, from the infrastructure down to the people within it. And, with each new data stream aggregated into the greater BIM schema, facility managers will have that much more information to work with as they strive to create the best possible management approach.  

As many in the working world move to the hybrid model, these insights will become increasingly important for facility managers, as they need the right data to provide the best working environment while controlling costs. Instead of running the AC at the same setting every day, they can adjust to meet predicted occupancy levels. The same goes for everything from which lights to turn on to how many coffee pods to stock in the breakrooms. Facility managers can also schedule maintenance, repairs, and renovations on days they know the building doesn’t see many visitors. 


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