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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