Many real estate managers are rather surprised when their contractor shows up with loads of information at the hand-over of a new construction project. "It is all the information you need for the operational phase" he will say. Adding, "As we are really innovative, you will find everything in a digital model, called BIM." After a good discussion, in which the real estate manager explains to the contractor that he only needs a small portion of this information, a common response of the contractor is: "Real Estate & Facility Management is still old-fashioned, they don't know what they need!" Is this a fair response?
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The information challenge
Being able to find suitable real estate information has always been quite a challenge. During the design phase, every inch of a building is described. This information is then used, for example, to position windows in the right places, or to ensure the contractor orders enough meters of pipes for a plumber. After the building’s grand opening, the first renovation project might not be for another 10 years. Thinking about your own computer, do you still have documents stored that were created over 5 years ago? Probably not. Nevertheless, even if you had kept this information, how would you have been able to foresee the types of information needed for the next 10 years?
Typically, users of an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) have dealt with this challenge for many years. They have probably invested in maintaining CAD drawings to be able to import the gross and net m2 of their spaces and updated their building assets at a relative high level. They have had to make maintenance budgets based on estimations of, for example, the amount of glass m² of their facades. When preparing for a renovation, they normally hire an architect to do exact measurements, which has always been the base for comparing offers of contractors to do their work.
Getting the most out of BIM
As contractors and architects are currently re-developing their business plans based on the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), real estate managers are still investigating what this could mean for them. What possible benefits exist for maintaining a space with 3D dimensions? Or, which self-service/job handling processes can really be improved by walking through a 3D-model? In maintenance, real estate managers that receive a BIM model will now have a hundred times more assets available than before. With BIM information, they can assign a job ticket to a single glass window at a specific part of the façade. However, who will benefit from this type of information? Before eventually experiencing the potential benefits BIM offers, many existing processes will need to be changed first.
Therefore, time will be needed to adjust those processes. A real estate manager does not want to invite surprise. He just needs information that is necessary for his routine processes. Let him experience the advantages of having a 3D model as a basis, but do not blame him if he does not use all the information that BIM continues to offer.