The first step to smart buildings is smart BIM

The construction industry is failing to come to terms with advances in technology that can deliver truly smart buildings.

So says Reinhold Wieland, business development manager of the smart buildings company Connecting Buildings, who believes a silo approach to increasingly advanced systems and IoT technologies is holding back their full potential.

Wieland says: “Smart buildings are more than simply automatic lighting and CCTV. They provide continual feedback and support, they automate human processes and they increase efficiency. But to unlock the full potential of smart buildings, you need to seamlessly integrate in a single platform all elements, from design, procurement, and implementation, through to the commissioning, operation, and maintenance of smart services.”

Wieland argues that “lifeless, static, design documents and BIMs must be drawn into a cohesive, living system that operates in real time – a digital twin”.

To create the digital twin, Wieland’s company has devised the program Commission to Operate (C2O), a methodology covering the complete lifecycle of asset management.

C2O integrates and automates a variety of tasks across the entire process, from construction, right through to operations. Automation for subsystem and IoT point configuration, as well as testing and acceptance, deliver a smooth transition to an operational BIM.

The C2O process culminates in the delivery of a fully functional digital twin for the building, allowing for real-time automation and monitoring of all integrated smart systems across the entire asset lifecycle.

The first step is construction of the smart BIM. Through the fusion of IoT and BIM, a complete, working model that encompasses all aspects of a smart building can be utilised as a powerful operational tool. Through C2O, CAD files can be seamlessly converted into operational BIM when, for many current projects, BIM files are not used after handover.

Smart BIM provides a live dashboard that can highlight key areas of attention across all aspects of building management. The day-to-day operations of different systems and devices are simplified and presented in abstract, streamlining separate manufacturers and models into a single, usable interface.

Lighting, air conditioning, security cameras and doors, and many more IoT devices can all be integrated into the system. Through the Iviva software platform, Smart BIM provides a companion to Autodesk 360 and Forge.

Wieland believes the complete package of smart BIM, C2O, and digital twin services provided through the Iviva platform will spark a “fundamental shift in the design, construction, operation, and upgrading process for smart buildings”.

“Improving the visibility of all assets across the lifecycle management process enables cleaner collaboration between stakeholders,” he says. “By combining typically separate elements into a single, unified system, communication between building management staff, commissioning agents, as well as tenants and clients, can reach new levels of clarity and effectiveness both before and after handover.”

Connecting Buildings will be at the Smart Buildings Show in London on 7 November for the launch of its C2O, smart BIM, and digital twin services. 

Image: Ramcreativ/

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