As building information modeling (BIM) continues to gain ground in project management circles, its function as a facility management tool grows as well.

In our 2015 Hospital Construction Survey, we found that 54 percent of respondents are using BIM for project management and 45 percent use it for facilities operations.
Those numbers represent a one-year growth of 8 and 12 percent, respectively.

While both figures show a growing adoption of BIM, the fact that facilities operations outpaced project management may mean that these numbers will be a near match in the future. It also reaffirms a statement made by Skanska thought leader Andrew Quirk in our 2014 Hospital Construction Survey: “I think BIM's most powerful use is on the facility management side,” Quirk said. “There's a lot of opportunity there.”

In “Transitioning facility operations to BIM” Dave Branch, a BIM and facility management consultant, talks about the long-term benefits of using BIM for facility operations, including the amount of facility data that can be stored, extracted, viewed or manipulated from using BIM. Having that kind of data at one’s fingertips often results in saved time and money.

But even though the beauties of BIM shine brighter than ever, there are real barriers to its integration as a facility management tool. The digital database that is built during a capital project only offers post-construction benefits when planned intentionally, Branch says. A lack of communication between team members, fear of change, failure to document facility workflows and other factors can limit BIM’s usefulness.

Those who can get over the humps, however, could reap some serious facility management efficiencies. As Leo Gehring, CHFM, CHC, FASHE, principal of Gehring Health Facilities Resources, said in a trends report, BIM is “a marvelous system with 100 pounds of capability,” unfortunately “only 20 percent of it is being used.”


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