BIM (building information modeling) has become a buzzword in every industry that designs, constructs and operates buildings – and with good reason. I regularly speak to Facility Managers who agree that a highly detailed database of building assets would be incredibly valuable for operations and maintenance. But when I ask if they are actually using BIM, most people I speak to admit that they are not.
When I ask why they have not started using BIM yet, I usually get one of two answers: no one on their team has been trained in using BIM software; or they tell me they would certainly be interested in using a BIM model but that process did not take place during construction.
In both cases, the barriers to application come down to accessibility. Creating and updating building models is usually done with CAD software, which requires a high level of knowledge and skill. For those trained in modeling with CAD software this is a brilliant technology; but for those working in other industries who would benefit from the information in these models, the technology is of little to no use.
However, recent innovations have made it much easier to use BIM for facility management.
Existing buildings can be brought into BIM
To bring an existing building into BIM, you need the relevant data. For structures that are already standing that used to mean a professional surveyor had to scan the entire building using a static tripod-mounted laser scanner, which is a costly and time consuming process.
Advances in technology have now automated this process, making it much easier and cheaper to capture the data of an existing structure. The NavVis M3 Mapping Trolley is the first 3D scanning tool that can be used by anyone. As the Trolley is pushed through the space that needs to be captured, it automatically captures 3D point clouds and panoramic images.
Access to a fast and easy to use scanning tool means that existing building structures can be brought into BIM. It also means that scans can occur on a regular basis, making it easy to keep building data up to date.
Facility managers can access BIM models
The NavVis IndoorViewer has transformed the way digital building information is viewed and used. Similar to Google Street View, the IndoorViewer is intuitive, browser based 3D visualization software. It requires no technical expertise, which overcomes one of the major hurdles to using digital building models and information for facility management and operations.
The NavVis IndoorViewer also makes it easy to create and access a virtual database of building assets. Building information is “dropped” into the IndoorViewer and appears at the corresponding location using the point of interest (POI) function. The information is linked to highly detailed photographs, making it easy to identify and locate objects in the model.
The biggest benefit of an easy to use 3D building model is that it can be used by everyone who needs the information. That of course means every employee involved in building operations and maintenance can access the information; but it also means relevant information can be shared with external suppliers. Building operators can, for example, optimize indoor logistics by assigning maintenance tickets that include high-resolution imagery and exact location reference. The information can also be sent electronically as a link.
There many other ways 3D visualization technology makes BIM much easier to use, but the best way to understand the difference is to see for yourself.
First look at the BIM model:
If you are interested in finding out more about how NavVis technology can be used for BIM and Facility Management, get in touch!