BIM for Asset Owners

Different stakeholders use the ‘Information’ in Building Information Modeling (BIM) for different purposes and last weeks panel discussion hosted by Consult Australia was a good opportunity to hear frank discussions from different stakeholders about how and why they use BIM. The panel discussion at the ‘BIM for Asset Owners’ event was chaired by Partner & 5D Quantity Surveyor, David Mitchell, and included; Bob Baird (Executive Director at Department of Defence), Paul Nunn (Senior BIM Consultant at CSI Global) and Brett Taylor (Director at Bornhorst and Ward).

What I got from this is that from an asset owner’s perspective, the focus isn’t necessarily on the model itself but the information that is contained within the model.

Bob Baird, Executive Director of CFPC, Capital Facilities Branch, Infrastructure Division, Department of Defence has been an advocate of integrating BIM into Department of Defence Assets and sees a real benefit in managing data they require for Facilities Management (FM) from a building model.

Defence runs 25,000 separate assets and we’re probably the largest land owner in Australia and it’s all about information. I find when we talk BIM the focus is on the M for Model but the real focus should be on the I part, for information, with the M to be Management.

But what information do owners require?

Is it something that consultants have an understanding of when they start their design? Brett Taylor, Director, Bornhorst & Ward has been a key driver in their companies implementation of BIM and moving their company to the use of REVIT as their authoring tool for all projects and has been using BIM to collaborate with other disciplines.

We do have good information from when we work with QS’s or shop detailers that we deal with directly when we go out and talk to them and found out what their requirements are so we pump that into the model.ö

He sees there is room for improvement in understanding what Asset owners, the end users of the building, would want from a Model.

We’ve got some good ideas from what we’ve found but overall it could be better I suppose, to understand up front.

But do owners themselves know what data they want to be able to manage from a model?

Paul Nunn, Senior BIM Consultant, Construction, CSI Global Services says that although owners may not know what they require from a model at the beginning of a process that if a builder is using a model for construction the majority of the information will already be contained within it.

The reality is that if we get the bulk of the information that a consultant would normally put into a model, with the schedules and specifications, if that’s included in the model that’s already 10 times more data than the client ever needs. Actually the builder needs a lot more information than the client ever will.

Who can you trust and where can you look for answers?

Bob Baird found that there isn’t an owners’ manual or a place to look that provides the answers on how to prescribe what asset owners should be asking from their consultants but some direction can be provided from NATSPEC, BUILDING SMART and the UK Government who have mandated the use of BIM on projects by 2016.

When Bob was asked which consultants he could work with and trust to work with on the implementation of BIM he said that I think we can trust the vast majority of people that we’ve spoken to.

BIM, as the old adage goes, is not a destination but a journey, and one that should reduce risk and cost, and the best way to start the journey is to talk to others with BIM experience, talk to your consultants and push to use BIM on your next project. The real risk lies in standing still and not embracing Building Information Modeling.