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Survey shows 83% of professionals believe BIM will support delivery of facilities management

by Brian Sims

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the facilities management industry. That’s according to the results of a new survey published by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM). 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 as follows:

*83% of respondents believe BIM will help support the delivery of facilities management, with the same number indicating that it’s 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, while just 20% have direct experience of writing or implementing an asset management strategy

*72% state that the FM industry isn’t yet clear what BIM is and 67% disagree or strongly disagree that the FM industry is well prepared to deal with BIM projects, indicating that 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 in order to be able to define the outputs in the BIM process

Offering a competitive advantage

Peter Brogan, the BIFM’s research and information manager, observed: “It’s clear from the survey’s feedback that the majority of FM professionals both here in the UK and internationally are aware of BIM. Interestingly, a high percentage of individuals 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 isn’t yet really sure what BIM is. The BIFM recognises the importance of doing more to help support those who are starting out 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 in relation to asset maintenance and management

*Visualisation in terms of customer perceptions of their buildings and assets

*Visualisation for maintenance staff in respect of 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 individuals felt BIM has perhaps been 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 drive the BIM process by defining their needs at the start.”

He added: “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 the BIFM. In short, there’s a need for more BIM training specific to clients and facilities managers with a focus on understanding how to plan what information’s needed and how they will access data in 3D models at handover.”

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

Operational Readiness Steering Group

In 2015, the 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 then published its Operational Readiness Guide, which has since been followed by a new Good Practice Guide on The Role of FM in BIM Projects and Employers’ Information Requirements.

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