BIM Objects, Data, and Information – More than a 3D Pretty Picture – Soooo Much More!

A picture paints a thousand words,

but never underestimate the power of text

(Adapted from Source: NBS.com)

Stefan Mordue, Technical Author and Architect

BIM objects are much more than just graphical representations. Using them as placeholder to connect to a wider source of information provides for a powerful and rich source of information. 

‘Author it once, and in the right place; report it many times’

Information in the Building Information Model (BIM) comes from a variety of sources, such as 3D visualization tools ( Autodesk Revit or Nemetschek Vectorworks, Archicad, Bentley Systems …) as well as cost estimating, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), capital planning and management systems (CPMS), geographical information systems (GIS), building automation systems (GIS),  model checkers and specification software.

All BIM objects have properties, and most also have geometries (although some do not, for example a paint finish). To avoid duplication, information should be both structured and coordinated. 

Some information is more appropriately located in the ‘geometrical’ part of the BIM object while other information is more suited to the ‘properties’ part, such as the specification. The specification is part of the project BIM, and objects live in the specification.   In traditional documentation we would ‘say it once, and in the right place’, however with BIM, we want to ‘author it once, and in the right place, to be able to report it many times’.

Figure 1: Appropriate location of information

Figure 1: Appropriate location of information

‘A picture paints a thousand words, but never underestimate the power of text’

Let’s take an analogy of a BIM object representing a simple cavity wall. The object will tell us the width of the brickwork and height of the wall. However at a certain point in the project cycle it is the written word that is needed to take us to a deeper level of information. It is within a textual context that we describe the length, height and depth of the brick. It is words that are used to describe the mortar joint and wall ties.

BIM objects are as much about the embedded data and information as they are about the spaces and dimensions that they represent graphically.

It is this connection to a wider source of information that really empowers the object, making it a rich source of information. Think of BIM objects if you will as a ‘place holder’ – not only a physical representation of the real life physical properties of the said object but also a home for non-graphical information such as performance criteria, physical and functional condition data, life-cycle data, detailed and current cost data (materials, equipment, and labor),  and operational information.

‘A new generation of specifiers is being empowered by BIM. We can begin to specify at a much earlier stage in the process’

Specifications were once undertaken by the specification expert, often once the detail design was completed. A new generation of specifiers is being empowered by BIM. We can begin to specify at a much earlier stage in the process.

In reality “specifiers” are now a team of stakeholders – Owners, Contactors, Subs, AE’s, Oversight Groups ….

By connecting the BIM object to an NBS Create specification, a direct link can be made to NBS technical guidance and standards, at the point where the designer most needs them. For example,  if the designer is a subscriber to the Construction Information Service (CIS), then any technical documents cited in the specification that are available can be downloaded instantly.

Figure 2: NBS Revit tool bar

Figure 2: NBS Revit tool bar

‘We have recently integrated geometric BIM objects with the corresponding NBS Create specification clauses to achieve a greater connection between the two’

BIM and BIM workflows are consistently being refined and updated as they become more commonplace and as standards and protocols emerge.   While we can never solve all coordination issues, we hope to improve coordination by linking databases, objects and eventually coordinate key property sets.

Traditionally, a value that was represented on a drawing may not correctly corresponded with the value within the specification simply due to a ‘typo’. An example being where a ’60 minute fire door’ has been recorded on the drawing but has been recorded as ’90 minutes fire rating’ within the specification. Aside from this coordination debate, practices will also need to decide and establish office policies on where information is recorded. While the specification system has detailed guidance and links to standards, regulations and suggested values, geometric BIM software has great visualization analysis and instance scheduling functionality.

Figure 3: Connection to a wider source of information empowers the object

Figure 3: Connection to a wider source of information empowers the object

At present, the NBS National BIM Library objects are classified using both the draft Uniclass 2 Work result code and the System name to give a deeper link between the object and specification. The NBS National BIM Library contains a number of objects that connect at a ‘product’ level (e.g. hand driers, baths, individual doorsets) while others work at a ‘system’ level (e.g. cubicle, partition, door and signage systems). Yet other objects are at an ‘element’ level (i.e. made up of a number of systems) such as external walls.

Following a period of industry consultation, Uniclass 2 is now being finalized for publication during 2013. Classification of content in the National BIM Library and NBS Create will then be updated.

National BIM Library Parameters

NBSReference NBS section/clause number 45-35-72/334
NBSDescription The full description of an object Hand driers
NBSNote Where a second system which is related to the BIM object can be described =[Blank]
NBSTypeID A reference to the object for the user if one or more is used with the project
Help URL of a website where additional help notes are available http://www.nationalbimlibrary.com/
Uniclass2 Uniclass2 Product Pr-31-76-36
IssueDate The issue date of the object 2012-12-06
Version The version of the object 1.1

A hand drier is an example of an object that links nicely to an associated product clause (NBSReference=45-35-72/334). Using tools such as NBS Create and the NBS Revit plug in tool, the corresponding product will automatically be captured; it can then be used to enrich the object with information such as power rating and noise levels.

A doorset is an example of an object that maps beautifully to an NBS Create System outline clause. For example using WR 25-50-20/120 Doorset System, we can then specify system performance, component and accessory products (e.g. glazing type, fasteners and threshold strips) as well as execution.

Certain NBS National BIM Library objects are at an ‘element level’ where they comprise a number of systems. In this situation we give a primary work results classification, the NBSReference. In addition, to help the user, we add the Uniclass 2 element code in an extra parameter field.

The following example is a Unit wall element comprising 100 mm thick stone, 100 mm mineral wool insulation batts and 100 mm concrete block, lined with 12.5 mm gypsum plasterboard on 25 mm dabs.

WR 25-10-55/123 ‘External multiple leaf wall above damp proof course masonry system’ has been used for the primary reference. From this System outline we can specify the stone facing, insulation and concrete block, together with DPC, lintels, mortar, cavity closers (which all in turn have product codes). A further system outline, WR 25-85-45/140 Gypsum board wall lining system, is given, from which the lining can be specified.

‘This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of NBS and we are now seeing project information being coordinated through intelligent objects’

An object could potentially relate to two different systems. An example of this would be a rainscreen cladding object. The following example is an aluminium cassette panel rainscreen system with metal frame, weather barrier, insulation, concrete block and plasterboard lining. This particular system could be either a ‘Drained and back ventilated rain screen cladding system’ 25-80-70/120 or a ‘Pressure equalized rain screen cladding system’ 25-80-70/160. The detail which would differentiate between the two is not shown in the geometric object itself but rather in the detail that would be found within the specification. When used in conjunction with the NBS plug-in tool, you are presented with the option to select the most appropriate system, and then to specify it to the appropriate level of detail.

Figure 4: Technology is enabling better processes and connection

Figure 4: Technology is enabling better processes and connection

We are now beginning to see project information being coordinated through intelligent objects.  The classification system, structure of data and technology are enabling better processes and will allow us to move a step closer towards full collaborative BIM.

via www.4Clicks.com – Leading cost estimating and efficient project delivery software  solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring and exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating / automatic quantity take off ( QTO), contract, project, and document management, all in one application.

” Evidence-based ” Life-cycle Federal Facility Management, BIM, and the Status Quo – NIBS, FFC

Yesterday (6/19/2012), the National Academies Federal Facility Council hosted a timely, and potentially watermark event “Predicting Outcomes of Investments in Maintenance and Repair of Federal Facilities“.

It is my hope that this event and those similar to it  be expanded as much as possible to assist all real property owners, architects, contractors, subcontractors, building product manufactures, oversight groups, and the community truly practice facility life-cycle management, referred to more recently as BIM (building information modeling / management).

Key Topics / Take Aways:

Identify and advance technologies, processes, and management practices that improve the performance of federal facilities over their entire life-cycle, from planning to disposal.

Predicting Outcomes of Investments in Maintenance and Repair for Federal Facilities
-Facility risks to Organizational Mission
-Potential to quantify
-Ability to predict outcomes vs. investment
-Communication strategies
-The “how” of measuring investment successes

1. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

2. Requirements for facility life-cycle management, efficient repair/maintenance/sustainability, BIM

3. Inventory of Built Environment

4. Physical and Functional Condition of Assets (Portfolio, Site, Building/Area, System, Sub-system, Component Levels)

5. Expected Life-cycle and Deterioration Rates for Physical Assets

6. Ranking of Facilities/Built Environment relative to Organizational Mission

Mission Criticality / Risk Matrix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Associated Capital Reinvestment Requirements and Ability to run multi-year “What-if ” scenario analyses

8. Collaborative, Efficient Project Delivery Methods ( IPD – Integrated Project Delivery, JOC – Job Order Contracting)

 

Strategic approaches for investing in facilities maintenance and repair to achieve beneficial outcomes and to mitigate risks. Such approaches should do the following:

• Identify and prioritize the outcomes to be achieved through maintenance and repair investments and link those outcomes to achievement of agencies’ missions and other public policy objectives.
• Provide a systematic approach to performance measurement, analysis, and feedback.
• Provide for greater transparency and credibility in budget development, decision making, and budget execution.

• Identify and prioritize the beneficial outcomes that are to be achieved through maintenance and repair investments, preferably in the form of a 5- to 10-year plan agreed on by all levels of the organization.
• Establish a risk-based process for prioritizing annual maintenance and repair activities in the field and at the headquarters level.
• Establish standard methods for gathering and updating data to provide credible, empirical information for decision support, to measure outcomes from investments in maintenance and repair, and to track and improve the results.

Vehicles for Change—
• Portfolio-based facilities management (aka asset management)
•Technology (tools, knowledge, risk)
• Recognition of impacts of facilities on people, environment, mission (i.e., prioritizing)
• Changing of the Guard

Best Practices … Partial Listing
• Identification of better performing contractors or service providers
• GIS mapping tools
• Facility condition assessments – surveys, vendors, frequencies, costs
• Maintenance management systems
• Predictive maintenance tools
• Organizational structures
• Budget call process
• Master Planning processes
• Improve relationships with the facility end users and foster a “One Community”
• Energy management

Presentations:

Doug Ellsworth_USACE

DR_Uzarski_CERL

John Yates_DOE

Get Moy_Portfolio Mgmt

Peter Marshall_FFC_Chair

Terms:

Component-section (a.k.a. section): The basic “management unit.” Buildings are a collection of components grouped into systems. Sections define the component by material or equipment type and age.
Condition Survey Inspection (a.k.a. Condition Survey; Inspection): The gathering of data for a given component-section for the primary purpose of condition assessment.
Condition Assessment: The analysis of condition survey inspection data.
Component Section Condition Index (CSCI): An engineering – based condition assessment outcome metric (0 – 100 scale) and part of the Building Condition Index (BCI) series.

Condition Survey Inspection Objectives
1. Determine Condition (i.e. CSCI) of Component-Section
2. Determine Roll-Up Condition of System, Building, etc.
3. Provide a Condition History
4. Compute Deterioration Rates
5. Calibrate/Re-calibrate Condition Prediction Model Curves
6. Compute/Re-compute Remaining Maintenance Life
7. Determine Broad Scope of Work for Planning Purposes
8. Quantify/refine Work Needs (incl root cause analysis, if needed)
9. Establish when Cost Effective to Replace (vs. Repair)
10. Compute/Re-compute Remaining Service Life
11. QC/QA (Post-work Assessment)

Condition Survey Inspection Types
Deficiency: The “traditional” inspection discussed previously.
Distress Survey: The identification of distress types (i.e. crack, damage, etc.), severity (low, medium, high) and density (percentage) present. Data directly used in the calculation of the CSCI. No estimate of cost or priority.
Distress Survey with Quantities: Same as distress survey except that distress quantities are measured or counted. The resulting density is more accurate than a distress survey, thus the CSCI is more precise.
Direct Rating: A one-step process that combines inspection and condition assessment. An alphanumeric rating (three categories, three subcategories each) is assigned to the component-section by the inspector. Rating is directly correlated to a CSCI value, but is less accurate than a CSCI derived from a distress survey. Quick, but no record of what’s wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Federal Facilities Council

The Federal Facilities Council (FFC) was established at the National Academies in 1953 as the Federal Construction Council. The mission of the FFC is to identify and advance technologies, processes, and management practices that improve the performance of federal facilities over their life-cycles, from programming to disposal. The FFC is sponsored and funded by more than 20 federal agencies with responsibilities for and mutual issues related to all aspects of facilities design, construction, operations, renewal, and management.

The FFC fulfills its mission by networking and by sharing information among its sponsoring federal agencies and by leveraging its resources to conduct policy and technical studies, conferences, forums, and workshops on topics of mutual interest. The activities to be undertaken in any given calendar year are approved by a committee composed of senior representatives from each of the sponsor agencies.

Much of the work of the FFC is carried out by its 5 standing committees, each of which meets quarterly. The majority of meetings include presentations by guest speakers from the federal community, academia, and the private sector and these presentations are open to the public. The presentation slides are posted on the Events page of this website. If you would like to automatically receive notices of new reports or upcoming events, please subscribe to the FFC listserv.
Within the National Academies, the FFC operates under the auspices of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE) of the National Research Council. The BICE provides oversight and guidance for FFC activities and serves as a link between the sponsoring federal agencies and other elements of the building community, both national and international.

via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier software for efficient construction project delivery – renovation, repair, sustainability – JOC, SABER, IDIQ, SATOC, IPD, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA …

BIM and The Role of a Construction Cost Estimator

Professional construction cost estimators are critical to any collaborative, transparent, and productive  BIM solution.   BIM, facilities life-cycle management supported by digital technology will create a high demand cost estimators with a thorough understanding of building systems and associated repair, renovation, sustainability and construction techniques, materials, equipment, and labor.   Experienced cost estimators who appropriately leverage technology and embrace collaboration will excel.  Navigating the current AEC sector-wide paradigm shift from antagonistic ad-hoc processes such as design-bid-build, excessive change-orders, and even modest attempts at improvement such as design-build, to collaborative, efficient project delivery methods such as integrated project delivery – IPD, and job order contracting – JOC will be a challenge for some, but a willing change for most.

A team approach, support by technologies such as domain-specific cloud-computing solutions (cost estimating, capital planning, maintenance/repair, …)  integrated with 3D visualization tools..aka Revit will become commonplace.  Owners, AEs, Contractors, Sub-Contractors, Oversight Groups, Business Product Manufacturers- BPMs, and the Community will all gain higher visibility into life-cycle needs and impacts of the built environment.

All who collaborate openly to exceed client’s expectations, and produce efficient, quality construction, renovation, repair, and sustainability on-time, and on-budget will thrive, while non-participants will fall by the wayside.

The AECOO’s (architecture, engineering, construction, owner, operations) legacy of fragmented, unproductive approaches,  ad hoc practices, and associated lack of trust will crumble, to be replaced by OPEN, transparent, and collaborative PROCESSES supported by robust technology.

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BIM for FM…. Or Big BIM Process & Strategy

BIM 3D,4D,5D & Constructio Project Devlivery – Process First! – 8March2011

 

Looking at a BIM PROCESS and STRATEGY… should happen well before any technology discussion, though technology is the enabler for implementation, deployment, scalability, etc.
Everything starts with you…. Your situation … Your needs …. Your resources … and Your PROCESS.
The lack of robust PROCESSES has been endemic to and a virtually unique aspect of, the AEC community.
BIMF for Building Information Modeling Framework, is used to describe an integrated approach to facility management and BIM… also referred to a “big BIM”, with the FOCUS upon the “I”, INFORMATION aspect and sharing information from formerly disparate FM silos.

BIM Business Process / Strategy

Collaborative BIM projects require fundamental changes in business practices among architects, builders, owners, business product manufacturers (BPMs), users, and all other facility stakeholders.

BIM required adoption of many principles existent in LEAN/integrated project delivery methods such as IPD for major new construction, and JOC (job order contracting) for repair, renovation, sustainability projects for existing buildings and minor new construction.

Traditional exchange barriers, common with design-bid-build and design-build must be removed.

  1. Project goals must be clearly defined by the Owner, and acceptable to all constituents.
  2. Project participants have an adequate level of  competency in BIM and associated project delivery methods, as well complementary knowledge domains.
  3. Collaboration, communication, transparency, and shared risk/reward must be common components, and a life-cycle perspective employed vs. “single project/engagement” or “hit and run” mentality.


While emphasis to date has been upon “model-based” planning, in reality, “management-based” planning or process-based planning is the important aspect relative to BIM.  Building Information Modeling, should have been defined as Building INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, with collaborative project delivery methods and complementary knowledge domains (CAFM, CMMS, CPMS, BAS, and GIS… to name a few…  appropriately integrated.

A view of the BUILDING INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, or better yet a BUILDING INFORMATION MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK, is should below.
is also shown.

via 4Clicks.com – a leader in construction cost estimating and project management software of integrated project delivery methods.

Images 1 and 2 from “Change Agents AEC Pty, LTD 2011”

VA’s / Veteran Administration’s Sustainability Initiative

The VA is doing some cool things in the BIM and Sustainability areas.  Below is a recent assessment initiative.

That said, the VA doesn’t have a standardized, efficient method to cost estimate and manage facility repair, renovation, sustainability, and minor new construction projects.  Most sites apparently rely upon the RSMeans Costworks product and ad hoc processes vs. a dedicated cost estimating and project management system.

The VA’s sustainability initiative would be well served to link dedicated tools to internal processes to improve accuracy, transparency, timelines, and scalability.

For example JOC / Job Order Contracting is being used, however, tools to support JOC would be a big win, especially if linked with BIM initiatives.  Costworks is not a cost estimating 0r project management system, but bascially RSMeans cost data in digital format.  Dedicated systems incorporate the various construction delivery methods and tools to dramatically increase collaboration among owners, contractors, and A/E’s, resulting in projects completed on-time and on-budget.

Veterans Administration Awards Contract to Green Building Initiative/Green Globes® for Online Evaluation Tool

01/25/2011
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Green Building Initiative, (GBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceleration of sustainable building practices, was recently awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide online, green building self-evaluations for 173 hospital facilities using Green Globes® Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings environmental rating and assessment tool.  As part of the contract, GBI will provide training for VA facilities management personnel who will be performing the web-enabled assessments.  This recent award follows a 2009 pilot project by the VA in which 21 hospitals across the US were assessed and certified using the Green Globes system.

The Green Globes Continual Improvement for Existing Buildings (CIEB) tool was selected and GBI was awarded the contract based on VA requirements that included:  tool compatibility with a third party green building rating system developed by an ANSI – accredited organization,  compatibility with the Federal High Performance and Sustainable Building Guidance dated 12/1/2008, cost, and demonstrated experience with the assessment and certification of other Federal Government facilities.

The Green Globes CIEB program helps establish performance baselines, best practices and certification for operations and maintenance of a building in the environmental assessment areas of energy, water, resource management and emissions and pollution. The fully interactive, web-enabled tool also allows facility personnel to measure, document, and improve the sustainability of a building over time.

On February 28, 2006 the Department of Veterans Affairs joined 21 Federal departments and agencies in signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings.  The MOU commits the signatories to demonstrate leadership in implementing common strategies for planning, acquiring, siting, designing, building, operating, and maintaining high performance and sustainable buildings. The Sustaining Guiding Principles employ integrated design, optimizing energy performance, protecting and conserving water, enhancing the indoor environment, and reducing the impact of materials as best practices to achieve these goals.

“The 173 buildings to be assessed encompass some of the largest and most complex commercial buildings in the US. This project represents the first steps in what could be a broader sustainability assessment/certification initiative spanning entire campuses,” commented Ward Hubbell, President of the Green Building Initiative. “Green Globes is highly compatible with the elements of the High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Guidance and is an important tool to help federal agencies evaluate compliance with the Executive Order,” he added.

Upon implementation, this project represents the first large scale, nationwide deployment and application of online evaluation tools for comprehensive sustainability assessment within a major Federal Government agency.

ABOUT THE GREEN BUILDING INITIATIVE: The mission of the Green Building Initiative is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches.  A not-for-profit education initiative, the GBI is supported by a broad cross section of organizations and individuals with an interest in residential and commercial construction.  For more information on the Green Building Initiative, please visit www.thegbi.org

 

 

 

Obama Missing the Point on Sustainability?

President Obama’s  State of the Union Address calls for 80% clean power by 2035, but…  WHAT ABOUT ENERGY CONSERVATION!!!!

Clean energy is great, but likely a pipe dream.  Furthermore, none of the “renewable” energy sources will meet current demands and/or be deployable by 2035.

We need to get serious about implementing energy conservation measures and associated facility system upgrades.   It is no secret that existing building energy use can be reduced 30% to 50% by upgrading systems and adopting better utilization practices.

The real issues is that appropriate incentives and efficient  transparent project delivery methods are not being used.

The combination of objective facility assessments with efficient project delivery methods such as JOC – Job Order Contracting, and IPD – Integrated Project Design, associated mandates and financial incentives is sorely needed!

Time to stop talking and start acting?