The genius of combining BIM and asset management

graphic to illustrate BIM and asset management

Understanding the value of and knowing how to combine BIM and asset management are key to avoiding construction failures and delivering the successful operation of the built environment.

“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.” – Winston Churchill

Forgive the liberty of adapting this quote for illustrative purposes, but in our discipline, this would be more on the money: “True genius resides in asset management – and that requires robust information.”

So many of the recent and historical disasters in our built environment are a result of poor or missing information. This is unforgivable because most of that information was there at the start – but neither passed on to others for the future or kept at all.   

This negligence prevents the ability to deliver ‘genius’, the chance to make more informed decisions and, ultimately, to save lives.

In response to this failing, managing such critical information is now known as BIM. And BIM is a key element of good asset management. Good life-long asset management of buildings, other built facilities and infrastructure needs an understanding of the original information generated during the early concept, design, and build phases of assets. BIM creates and updates this throughout the asset life cycle

Many are only now just building their understanding of this requirement. Others are yet to start that journey. It’s a learning journey, and one that all those involved in the built environment should be on. The CIOB Academy recognises this need and now offers e-learning courses for those needing to know more.

Poor information, poor decisions

Recent building-related tragedies have shone a spotlight on this issue, from damp and fatal air quality to fire and collapse. And there’s a common, very sad fact set out in the key findings from the investigations, a fact that relates directly to missing or poor information, leading to poor or uncontrolled decisions. It’s sad because these tragedies could have been prevented had good information management practices been in place and understood all along.

BIM is a robust process and approach that ensures the right data is captured, structured and made available to those managing the remaining life cycle of the built asset. The integration of BIM and asset management is so important if we are to deliver safety, compliance and service from our built assets. With good asset management practices in place, we can do that within a cost-, risk- and performance-envelope that meets stakeholder and user needs.

While asset management and BIM have evolved separately over recent years, their adoption has brought significant benefits to organisations that have recognised their potential and implemented such approaches. Driven by the recognition that asset management and BIM are critical, international standards have been developed and published for each – ISO 55000 and ISO 19650 respectively. Leading organisations are now aligning their capability and approach to these.

And yet there is much more to be gained than has yet been realised.

By understanding the mutual dependency and benefits of asset management and BIM, organisations can align and, importantly, integrate the two to create a level of value that neither will attain without the other.

Defining the terms

Let’s review some clear definition. Asset management is the “coordinated activity of an organisation to realise value from assets” (ISO 55000, 2014), and spans all business functions and capabilities. It focuses on balancing cost, risk, and performance over the life of the assets and beyond for as long as the services from those assets are needed.

BIM is the “use of a shared digital representation of a built asset to facilitate design, construction and operation processes to form a reliable basis for decisions” (ISO 19650, 2018) and is typically associated with the concept and creation of assets.

This marriage between the two is how BIM meets the asset management challenge – good and complete information from the outset.

The information needed for good asset management frequently comes from many data sources during the early creation of the assets. Good BIM processes ensure this is captured, structured and transferred into asset management systems for improved outcomes and competitive advantage in all the following:

  • collaboration across the asset lifecycle;
  • streamlining maintenance and operations;
  • enabling justified cost savings;
  • improving risk mitigation;
  • increasing tenant or user satisfaction;
  • creating sustainability and environmental benefits; and
  • meeting compliance and reporting requirements.

Organisations often invest in systems and software to collect data in the hope they will have the right information to manage and deliver services effectively. 

But this is only part of the picture.

Most importantly, you need to have a workforce that really understands what data is needed, the complexities of capturing and structuring that data, and how to enable effective and robust decisions across the asset lifecycle. That understanding comes from building knowledge of BIM within the organisation and its suppliers.

Understanding the disciplines

The new online self-learning module, AM/BIM – A Mutual Dependency, creates an understanding of the two disciplines and the relationship between them. It supports learners to recognise the value of the information created by BIM in supporting asset management decision-making, and the importance of structuring and transferring this into the asset management environment. The learning covers the design, construction and commissioning phases, as well as considering the often-forgotten longer-term service delivery and facilities management processes.

BIM, and this new learning opportunity, engages everyone in the provision and management of buildings and built facilities, from concept to design, build, hand-over and through to service delivery, providing an understanding of the what, why, when and how of information needed to make vital, robust and life-saving asset management decisions.

The Chartered Institute of Building has made this new learning available through its partner Asset Wisdom. 

You’ll start the learning journey by gaining an understanding of the language and basic principles of both asset management and BIM before going on to explore the alignment and dependencies between the two. The module also includes the opportunity for the learner to explore more and have any questions answered directly by [email protected]

Don’t delay, start your learning journey today at a CIOB member discounted price of only £99 during October, available from the CIOB Academy or from Asset Wisdom.

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