Survey reveals BIM’s impact on facilities management

BIM has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the facilities management industry, according to the results of a new survey by The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).

However, the survey also shows that more than seven out of 10 facilities managers have no idea what the technology is.

The FM Awareness of Building Information Modelling survey, developed in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, aims to establish a benchmark of the current perceptions of the impact of BIM on the FM sector and the benefits and challenges it presents.

The key findings of the survey are:

  • 83% of respondents believe BIM will help support the delivery of facilities management, with the same number indicating it is already having an impact, or will do so, in the next five years.
  • 81% agree or strongly agree that BIM may offer companies that adopt and use it an advantage over those that do not.
  • 83% agree or strongly agree that BIM has the potential to deliver significant added value to FM.
  • Only 39.8% have some experience of being involved in a BIM project and just 20% have direct experience of writing or implementing an Asset Management Strategy.
  • 72% say the FM industry is not yet clear what BIM is and 67% disagree or strongly disagree that the FM industry is well prepared to deal with BIM projects, indicating more work needs to be done to ensure people are better informed about and more prepared for BIM projects.
  • This aligns with the 91.3% of respondents who agree or strongly agree that facilities managers would benefit from more familiarisation with BIM to be able to define the outputs in the BIM process. 

BIFM’s research and information manager Peter Brogan said: “It is clear from the survey’s feedback that the majority of FM professionals both in the UK and internationally are aware of BIM and interestingly, a high percentage of people indicated they felt BIM might offer organisations a competitive advantage.

“However, the level of awareness and familiarisation varies widely across the FM industry, with approximately half of the respondents indicating that FM is not yet really sure what BIM is.

“BIFM recognises this is an important requirement to do more to help support people who are starting on their BIM journey and want to get up to speed.”

Some of the key benefits of BIM to FM highlighted by the research are:

  • Helping strategic decision making about asset maintenance and management.
  • Visualisation in terms of customer perception of their buildings and assets.
  • Visualisation for maintenance staff for planning maintenance and health and safety issues.
  • The transfer of data from construction into CAFM and other software tools.

Brogan continued: “There were indications that some people felt BIM has been perhaps oversold and that significant work still needs to be done by the FM industry (in partnership with the AEC industries) to help ensure the potential benefits of BIM can be both planned for and realised in the operational phase of assets.

“Although the wider benefits are generally acknowledged, they perhaps need to be made more transparent and better promoted to facilities managers, clients and investors in order that they understand why they should buy into, and equally as important, drive the BIM process by defining their needs at the start of the process.

“Respondents also indicated they had concerns regarding access to, and the cost, of training associated with BIM. This is another important point which has been picked up by BIFM; the need for more BIM training specific to clients and facilities managers with a focus on understanding how to plan what information is needed and how they will access data in 3D models at handover.

“The research has provided valuable information to help BIFM benchmark current levels of awareness and understanding of BIM across the FM profession.”

In 2015, BIFM formed its own Operational Readiness Steering Group to inform and develop a suite of guidance and knowledge materials to arm its members, and the wider built environment industry, with the knowledge and skills they need to be operationally ready for BIM.

Last Year, the Institute published its Operational Readiness Guide, which has since been followed by a new Good Practice Guide to The Role of FM in BIM Projects and Employers’ Information Requirements guidance.

BIM has also been incorporated into the FM Professional Standards to equip FM practitioners with a thorough understanding of the purpose, value and benefits of BIM and the growing impact it has on the working practice of its members.

BIFM members and non-members can access the FM Awareness of Building Information Modelling survey report at:

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  1. I am not sure why its considered as a shock. Many of us that understand BIM but actually get our hands dirty know the plights of BIM adoption over those who talk about the magic of BIM but have often never dug in deep & delivered a project themselves or have not done so for decades but still speak as if from experience.

    Like most people, they are told BIM is important & they just go along with it because when you know little about something you often just accept what your told & then sometimes consider it something done by others as a side process thus not learning anything about it in practical terms. They are told BIM is great yet given very little information in terms of case studies & step by step guides placing PAS1192-3 into meaningful context.
    An FM provider I have been working with recently who was very knowledgable on BIM & COBie has lost complete faith in BIM after they did almost everything right only to find their CAFM tool will not import the COBie file which was a product of BIM because it fails the inbuilt QA check with no option to ignore & continue which is right as no one wants bad data or to have to cleanup a CAFM. The reason for failure being bad data? No, the reason is because BS1192-4 makes recommendations that go against the COBie schema/specification 2.4, something which you may be aware of because its being discussed a lot more in forums as people start to realise BS1192-4 is hindering COBie adoption not helping the adoption of it.

    COBie is more than just the arrangement of data for the purposes of exchange, it has rules about that data like when something can be blank, N/A or when it must absolutely be given a unique value. All QA tools then automatically validate COBie files against this COBie spec 2.4 which BS1192-4 seems to consider as not being important, meaning we cant automatically validate data using the many open source QA tools. Its a blight for me as I am told to deliver data with COBie which means to comply with the specification 2.4 (NBIMS chapter 4.2) but then to also follow BS1192-4 (UK code of practice) which contradicts it. I had to botch the data manually so the FM tool would accept the import of it meaning the FM contractor had to fix it afterwards.
    There needs to be more case studies using dummy projects so the data like COBie files can demonstrated. Many BIM case studies have never done a fully CAPEX/OPEX coverage showing how data is defined, procured,managed & used by the various teams like FM contractors. I have done 2 projects with CAPEX>OPEX and we are hitting walls you dont read about in the standards & guides. This is something I am doing for my Thesis to cover the UK approach to BIM & how adoption is hindered by hot air rather than merit & example.

    That was my 2 penny worth. Have a good weekend.

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