Thursday 10 July 2014

Think BIM Leeds – Half Day Conference – BIM and FM

One of the regular BIM conferences I attend is the fantastic quarterly Think BIM event. It’s a pleasure to chair as the quality of speaker is so high and the variety in activities is always of interest.

Deborah Rowland – Ministry of Justice
The first speaker at this July event looking at BIM and FM was Deborah Rowland who is Head of Property Asset Management for the Ministry of Justice and Government Soft Landings (GSL) Lead. Deborah talked about how at an early stage in any project the operational costs should be considered and not just the capital costs. What is a client’s requirements in terms of annual cost to run the building? In terms of GSL, the key elements moving this forward are:
  • A stewardship group and individual champions of the initiative
  • Ensuring wider-industry adoption and supporting academic research
  • Reviewing projects to demonstrate the benefits
  • A continued focus on standards such as PAS 1192-3 and the incorporation of GSL in BS 8536
  • To have one eye on Level-3 BIM
When considering the state of FM for BIM in July 2014 the benefits and challenges are as follows:

  • Improved tender accuracy by using collected information from previous projects
  • Early engagement of FM professionals in a project provides a better outcome
  • Designing for the whole life cost of the building and not just the construction
  • The ability to visualise and plan operations via the model
  • Ensuring digital information is contractually delivered
  • The enormous task of “what to do with existing estates?”
  • Keeping a digital asset information model up to date
The strap line on Deborah’s last slide was “BIM + GSL = Better Outcomes”
Rowlands - FM will keep the BIM data alive
Jon Chown – Skanska Facilities Service
The second speaker was Jon Chown a director at Skanska. Similarly to Deborah, Jon looked at the challenges the industry faced. He listed these as:
  • FM not being involved in the design process
  • The quality and structure of information at handover
  • A lack of digital data capture during the operation of existing buildings
  • A lack of a structured post operations investigation (POI) survey data feeding back into the next design
The challenges are not a technology issue, but a quality of information issue. “Put rubbish in and get rubbish out”.

Jon’s suggestion was that the industry needs to firstly get the data right and then look at the technology. Where Skanska had seen successes over recent years were:
  • Through creating standard Skanska-wide templates for information collection for all projects
  • Through giving asset operational information back to the design teams
  • By encouraging collaboration across all of the organisation
  • By implementing standard processes
The presentation demonstrated that no Government mandate for BIM is necessarily needed for private sector work. The private sector will see the benefits and roll out a BIM process regardless. Reflecting on this personally, I think this is true, but having a common process defined centrally means that there is commonality across organisations and not one process and set of standards for organisation 1 and another for organisation 2.

Skanska is an organisation where BIM has been mandated by its board in Sweden on all projects world-wide. The biggest technology they currently see is a lack of interoperability between different software packages. However, “even with the best technology in the world, if you don’t have the information you have nothing”.

Jon’s final thoughts were:
  • When an organisation adopts BIM they must accept that they are going to change their processes and information structures
  • Sort out process and information first then get the technology to fit your requirements. BIM is 10% technology, 20% process and 70% people.
Chown - a familiar theme - "The most important word in BIM is Information"
Roundtable 1 – Peter Barker, BIM Academy

The roundtable discussions are a particularly engaging part of the Think BIM conferences. The first of these I attended was hosted by Peter Barker MD of BIM Academy.

Some of the notes from this roundtable included:
  • A big problem, even when FM people are included early on, is that current procurement is about contractors delivering projects with clear objectives about reducing construction costs. This means the focus is all about capital expense with operational expense and client outcome suffering.
  • The thoughts around the roundtable were that if some incentive was there in the procurement process to reward better design and a focus on client outcomes then this would help the “FM and BIM” issue. “The thinking behind GSL is great, but it needs some teeth”.
  • The importance of structured information in a standardised format was mentioned again and again during the day. The standards and guidelines are complete, but what is missing is standard product templates, a unified classification system and the ability to use this construction language to define who is doing what and when.
  • There was some interesting discussion as to how much information is needed for FM. Is it just the 20% of the federated BIM that is needed for weekly/monthly operation and maintenance? Or is it 100% of the information so that when the building is altered or refurbished then the work can happen efficiently and the existing spaces can retain their original performance?
  • There was also some good discussion about how much information should be geometry? How much should live in property-sets? And how much should be in linked PDFs? Equally, when considering property-sets, how much of this should be in the design models (ArchiCAD/Revit) and how much in external databases?
    (All great debate – leave your comments at the bottom of this blog post if you have an opinion…)
Peter Barker leads the discussions
Roundtable 2 – Paul Connell, Open Data Institute
For my second roundtable I changed topic a little and sat in on a session on “Open Data” with Paul Connell and Matt Edgar.

The open data initiatives are now being used every day. Weather and travel apps use open data. When someone searches for cinema listings using Yahoo, Bing or Google then results are returned using common open documented data structures.

The thinking is that many more people benefit if data is open, there is more innovation and those organisations contributing to the open data initiatives receive more back than they put in.

Two good examples were discussed:
  1. The Open Street Map initiative (see video below) and how it was used during the Haiti earthquake to mark up real-time information about access routes and the location of utilities. If this information was all controlled by an private organisation in a proprietary format then this would not have been possible.
  2. The Metro timetables – an organisation such as this can put their data online and then the market (big software companies or hobbyist programmers) can compete to produce the best apps for this market. The Metro organisation benefits as their services receive free promotion and free functionality.

The UK Government’s freedom of information initiatives were particularly well received. In particular the push to provide PDF, XML, information at the website. The more public information that is open and well-structured then the more information that will be at the public’s finger tips to ensure that the correct top-level decisions are made and justified.

With respect to construction, it comes back to what is the user requirement? What information do people need? This all ties into the level-2 BIM strategy, structure the information in a standard digital way, then start collecting it, then query it to answer the information requirements.
Duncan Reed and Deborah Rowland share a room for their respective round tables
Final thoughts
The day then finished with an international presentation on buildingSMART, COBie and Data Dictionaries followed by Pecha Kucha presentations. One of these in particular was particularly engaging with a live demo of taking physical information to digital through laser scanning.

If I was going to take three points out of the day, they’d be:
  1. A client must not select a process that focuses purely on the capital cost and project duration at the expense of outcomes and operational costs.
  2. The quality and value of structured information comes as priority number 1. Technology and software is there behind this to support.
  3. When designing a building, the standardised information from the operational phases of previous buildings must be utilised.
Nice to see the NBS National BIM Report getting presented back to the UK from the USA by the international speaker
From physical to digital - a live demonstration of laser scanning
The participating countries in the buildingSMART Data Dictionary Pilot
It's not all work, work, work - beer and BBQ time to finish

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a good event! Is that a Kykloud app image in Deborah's slides....?