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Blog – BIM: The technical interface into the lifecycle of a building

Leading engineering services-led principal contractor, JCA, explores how Building Information Modelling or ‘BIM’ is supporting building lifecycle management for the benefit of owners and tenants.

Now well established in the construction sector, Building Information Modelling or ‘BIM’ has transformed architecture, building engineering and construction. BIM is a process that utilises intelligent 3D models to capture, explore and maintain consistent and coordinated planning, design, construction and operational data.  As a result, BIM provides a wealth of information such as detailed insights for controlling costs, project scheduling and ensuring ‘constructability’ during the design process.

Beyond the design and construction phase, BIM-based technology is now being adopted as the new digital process for the entire building lifecycle, providing building owners and tenants with accurate, timely and relevant information on all aspects of a building’s operations.

‘Lifecycle BIM’ acts as the primary information channel for the gathering, co-ordination and enrichment of data, which supports a building’s lifecycle.  This entails the creation and utilisation of information to manage the operations and maintenance of buildings at every stage of its life.  The approach commences during the onset of the design process, where BIM provides realistic three-dimensional representation, including detailed renderings of sophisticated mechanical and electrical systems and ‘walkthroughs’ for design clarity to avoid clashes during construction.  In addition, BIM is also being increasingly combined with building automation systems to provide real-time monitoring in order to maximise environmental performance.

As a result, BIM provides facilities managers with the opportunity to maximise value across a building’s operation, which benefits from the enhanced detail and data contained within BIM.  These include space management, where area and room-related information in BIM models can provide detailed insights into how space is used.  As a result, facilities managers can reduce vacant space and ultimately reduce property expenses.  The lifecycle aspects of BIM also enable building owners to illustrate to tenants exactly how a building should appear at the commencement and conclusion of their lease, encouraging collaboration and helping to prevent disagreements.

By providing the technical interface into the lifecycle of a building, BIM also supports the drive to streamline building maintenance by providing the detailed information that allows effective upkeep schedules to be planned and implemented.  For example, product information and manufacturer-specific content stored in the BIM at the design stage provides managers with a wealth of data when a building goes live, enabling them to create planned preventative maintenance programmes and forecast the cost of ongoing capital expenditure.

BIM also enhances the lifecycle management of a building by providing manufacturer data on the life expectancy and replacement costs of specific systems and components. As a result, building owners gain an understanding of the benefits of particular materials or systems that may require higher initial capital investment but represent a cost saving over time, in areas such as energy consumption.  Furthermore, by linking with Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) systems that enable live data on systems and components to be accessed and updated by field-based engineers, BIM is enabling professionals to interrogate real-time information and make informed planned maintenance decisions.

It is evident that the benefits of BIM in the operational phase of a building’s lifecycle are being recognised in the property sector as building owners constantly seek to reduce costs and improve the management of their facilities.  Through its use, Lifecycle BIM makes important building information available to all stakeholders, reducing the time consumed and associate costs in its operation.

As an engineering services-led construction and managed services business, JCA has fully embraced BIM, which supports the company’s ethos of collaboration.  JCA employs BIM within its Professional Services division and has Tier 2 BIM Level 2 accreditation in accordance with the BS1192 Production of Information and PAS119-2 Sharing of Information standards, as part of its ongoing digital transformation programme.

Chris Fitzer, JCA’s CAD Manager and BIM Lead, explains: “JCA is engaged in many high technology, innovative and challenging projects that demand a high level of collaboration with our clients, suppliers and subcontractors to ensure we deliver quality and value throughout the entire building lifecycle.  Already used extensively in the design and build phase, BIM is now transforming the operational phase of a building’s lifecycle, supporting the drive to maximise efficiency and streamline building maintenance.”

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Blog – examining trends in Computer Aided Facilities Management

Leading service and maintenance provider, JCA, explores how advances in technology are helping to improve the efficiency of facilities management by providing greater transparency, process streamlining and better communication.

Although not a new concept, computer aided facilities management (CAFM), has constantly evolved to become one of the most efficient means of managing and monitoring a building, through a dedicated software application. With many facilities managers now being responsible for a number of business tasks, such as flexible workspace scheduling and health and safety compliance, CAFM has become an indispensable tool for managing a range of activities via a single system.

As a result, the majority of today’s CAFM packages are designed to cover a selection of actions, ranging from basic responsibilities for one individual, through to complex multiple tasks undertaken by a number of employees, who need to input information from different computers.  Furthermore, advances in mobile technology now enables CAFM software to be accessed securely from anywhere, allowing employees to monitor and update information when offsite.

Making CAFM ‘mobile’ provides facilities managers with the opportunity to streamline everyday activities such as planned maintenance by making them more efficient. It also encourages a proactive approach thanks to improved communication and responsiveness. Tracking and monitoring facility-related operations via a single CAFM package also helps organisations to gain real-time insights into the performance and regulatory compliance of their buildings.

As buildings become more intelligent in their design and workplace practices such as ‘hot desking’ become the norm, CAFM has also evolved to provide organisations with a smarter, more efficient way of managing their facilities.  For example, the integration of CAFM with other applications, such as building management systems (BMS) and accounting software, provides a rich source of ‘real time’ data and therefore a more accurate picture of the health of an organisation’s facilities.

Linking CAFM with building information modelling (BIM) is also gaining momentum as more organisations look to improve the efficiency of buildings. As a result, this presents an opportunity for the facilities industry to impact on a building’s whole life cost by working collaboratively with architects and contractors during the design and build phase.

With the outsourcing of facilities management services becoming standard practice, advanced CAFM packages also enable contractors to provide their clients with a complete compliance solution, as well as service level agreement (SLA) adherence, traceability and transparency.  For example, products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, utilised by JCA, integrates asset management, preventative maintenance and work order management, as well as mobile working functionality, collaboration and analytics into a single CAFM platform.

From a contractor’s perspective, utilising CAFM to support asset management is fundamental to ensuring successful contract delivery.  As a provider of mechanical and electrical maintenance services, the asset management capability offered by Dynamics 365 is especially valuable to JCA when it comes to delivering planned preventive maintenance (PPM).  Dynamics 365 supports this requirement by storing comprehensive asset profiles with granular detail such as manufacturer and warranty information, installation date and condition, as well as operational ratings, health and safety details, remedial summaries and galleries of date-stamped photographs.  By doing so, Dynamics 365, supports JCA’s objective of providing clients with meaningful information in real-time, as well as the business intelligence to analyse and share data with clients on the performance of their maintenance operation.

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