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Published: Oct 27 2020

How BIM Can Increase Facilities Management ROI & Lower Facility Costs

The point of adopting any new technology – particularly a complex or costly one like building information modeling (BIM) – is to get real results. The ultimate positive result? Higher return on investment (ROI).

Here, BIM certainly delivers. In fact, 82% of BIM users report that their AEC firms receive a positive ROI after using BIM, and 96% of BIM users have actually made up for the cost of their investment, according to the calculations made by the Connecting Teams Study.

Then there is the BIM ROI achieved by owner-operators through facility management. Here, too, BIM can increase ROI by simplifying handover, organizing asset information and facilitating data access.

Here are tangible ways BIM can increase your ROI.

1. Facilitate Tenant Chargebacks

BIM can help with tenant chargebacks or the breakdown of who should pay for what.

The idea here is simple: there are many costs that should fall on the shoulders of the tenant – and therefore require reimbursement to the owner-operator. That said, it can be difficult to keep track of these chargebacks without up-to-date or accurate records.

A BIM system can provide these records, giving you a complete breakdown of rooms, assets, who is using the rooms and who should be held financially responsible for various components.

2. Allow for Transparent Asset Information

When opening a new facility, there is a lot of important information to keep track of, including asset lists and information about warranties and extended warranties. The problem, though, is that owner-operators do not often have access to this information when they need it. After construction is completed and the contractor hands over these documents, it can take owner-operators up to a year to sift through this information and actually start to use it.

This is an unacceptable lag time, particularly troubling if you consider the fact that many types of equipment have the highest probability of failure in their first month or two of operations. Owner-operators are essentially flying blind when it is most crucial for them to have the right information. This drastically increases the risk of equipment and even facility failures -- and there are even costs associated with searching for the right information.

The spatial and non-spatial data collected by BIM during the construction process can help. All of the floor plans and 3D modeling can and should be used during operations, and if you augment the BIM model by a CMMS system or a robust engineering document management (EDM) system, you can also add key information regarding finance, occupancy and maintenance history.

This information can be used to effectively address maintenance concerns, increase planned maintenance, increase technician efficiency and ultimately decrease costs facility-wide. And it is actually shown to work: in one study, respondents reported that BIM reduced the time spent looking for things by 83% and let to 5% savings in operating costs per year - which, given the fact that operations and maintenance account for about 75% of total facility costs, represents significant facility savings.

3. Lower Interoperability Costs

Interoperability is essentially the ability to communicate between people and between various types of software throughout the lifecycle of a project. It is a key functionality of BIM and other key facility management tools, and it solves a key pain point.

Most of the time, architects and engineers use multiple tools when working on a project. As a result, a percentage of inputted information has to be translated and re-entered between platforms. This kind of manual data entry is time-consuming, and it can lead to problems like incomplete data or data duplication – all of which costs money to resolve.

What is more, when it comes to document management, information is often spread across spreadsheets and disparate systems.

Robust BIM interoperability aims to resolve these concerns and lower interoperability costs and data duplication by providing a single source of truth for all asset and facility related-documentation. This, of course, is only available with BIM level 3 or higher. At this level, businesses can find:

  • Syntactic interoperability: To communicate with each other, systems need to use common data formats – like XML, JSON, SQL, and Unicode – and communication protocols, like HTTP, TCP, FTP, and IMAP. When a system can do so effectively, it has syntactic interoperability.
  • Semantic interoperability: This refers to the transfer of meaning. It is not enough for information to be transferred – it also has to be understood by the recipient. This is where a common information exchange reference model comes into play.

Ultimately, this increased interoperability can simplify maintenance tasks, which can lead to many other benefits, including simplified space management, increased data consistency and streamlined communication.

4. Lower Delay Costs

Both during construction and during operations, projects are frequently delayed and over budget. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • Geological surprises and discrepancies between ground conditions and early survey estimates
  • Missing or incorrect data
  • Equipment concerns
  • Budget and resource shortages
  • Overbooked crews
  • Unexpected changes or bad weather
  • Lack of information
  • Outdated, incomplete or inconsistent work orders

Ultimately, these delays translate to lost revenue and idled employees. The good news? While some of these delays are unavoidable – like in the case of bad weather – the majority can be sidestepped with proper use of an advanced BIM.

5. Strengthen Functionality of Other Document Management Tools

BIM systems can be effectively used alongside existing facilities management (FM) tools like Accruent’s Meridian and Maintenance Connection. This can ultimately:

  • Ensure document version control.
  • Help organizations maintain compliance with ISO and other standards
  • Simplify data access.
  • Make sure that all relevant documentation is fully integrated, easy to access, and easy to understand.

These benefits, in turn, can further increase revenue, improve operations and ensure that important data is accessible company-wide.

Final Thoughts

Your data and your documents can be your most robust tool or your biggest enemy. Using a BIM system – particularly in tandem with a document management system – can help you effectively use your facility and asset documentation to tackle concerns like reactive maintenance practices, incomplete asset information and employee inefficiency. This can ultimately increase your ROI and your business revenue.

Learn more about building information modeling.

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