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CAFM | Computer Aided Facility Management

What is Computer Aided Facility Management?

Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software enables Facility Managers to plan, execute and monitor all activities involved in reactive and planned preventative maintenance, space and move management, asset management, operational facility services, room reservations and other customer services.

CAFM advantages are numerous. The benefits of CAFM systems are that they help facility managers to increase the utilisation of space and facilities, reduce moves and reallocations, plan preventative maintenance, efficiently execute reactive maintenance, standardise services, and streamline processes. Ultimately, information from CAFM software allows managers to improve longterm planning of space, facilities, maintenance, services and budgets to ensure full alignment with core business needs.

CAFM and CAD - What you need to know

A picture is more valuable than a thousand words. Therefore, The best Computer Aided Facility Mangement software integrates CAD drawings into processes including space management, scenario planning, layout plans, flexible workplaces, moves and technical management. All these processes contribute to the efficient use of space and facilities.

Industry standards

To ensure an efficient re-use of CAD drawings with CAFM software, drawings need to comply with conventions for layer structures, polylines, symbols, blocks, text, dimensioning etc. These can be your company standards or standards as set by bodies such as ISO, CEN or IFMA. Compliance with these conventions and other CAFM best practices enables you to ease the process of connecting CAD drawings with your CAFM solution and consistently exchanging relevant data like spaces, dimensions, and assets.

Manage graphical and alphanumeric changes in one system

CAD drawings are only valuable in CAFM if they are up-to-date. Updating CAD drawings is usually a specialised job in AutoCAD®. These changes are done quickly and easily in a CAD drawing, but how do you ensure that this new information is updated in the CAFM database? CAFM software handles such data exchange processes in different ways, either by periodically importing revised drawings or updating database information real time. This ensures a consistent connection and reliable integration between CAFM and CAD.

Scenario planning

A key strength of CAD software such as AutoCAD® is the ability to create multiple scenarios for processes including space planning, move management and asset management. When combining these scenarios with a Computer Aided Facility Management solution, you can report, compare, and analyse scenario’s to ensure the best option. Once a scenario is selected, the CAFM system will automatically assure a consistent update of your database and support the scenario realisation with processes like project management, move management, work order control and budget management.

Visualise information

When combining CAFM and CAD, you can easily visualise real-time database information such as space usage, vacancies, and emergency escape routes using coloured mappings. This graphical visualisation is very supportive in the ‘where?’ questions such where departments are located, where assets are situated or where free space is available. Modern CAFM solutions include so called ‘viewers’ to allow you to query CAD drawings without a need for specialised CAD software. Apps on mobile phones can also be used to query graphical information easily and search for free spaces, free workplaces or to simply find a colleague.

CAFM or IWMS, differences or marketing hype?

Computer Aided Facility Management software has undertaken major developments in both functionality and technology. Importantly, the integration of different Facility Management (FM) and Corporate Real Estate (CRE) processes within one single solution. Many organisations are still using point solutions or their in-house tools for specific processes, but there is a clear trend toward standard software called IWMS. But what are the differences between CAFM and IWMS?

The term ‘Integrated Workplace Management System’ (IWMS) was initially launched in 2004 by Gartner, the leading technology research institute that evaluates and reports on software and technology markets. IWMS is characterised by Gartner as an enterprise-class software platform that integrates key components in five functional domains, operated from a single technology platform and database repository. These domains are:

With this definition and scope, IWMS clearly differs from CAFM with extended and integrated functionality for Real Estate, Project Management, and Environmental Sustainability. In many cases, traditional CAFM systems are operated from multiple technology platforms whereas true IWMS solutions are based on a single platform and database repository.

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