BIM – The New Standard of Care for AEC / AECOM . (Architecture, Engineering, ConstruBuilction, Operations, and Maintenance of the built environment)

Much has been said about BIM, and many misunderstand its core definition and purpose.

BIM is the process of  efficent  life-cycle management of  facilties and associated infrastructure, supported by digital technologies.

BIM is not IWMS, CPMS, CMMS, CAFM, BAS, GIS ….. , but the integration of these and other core knowledge domains within a collaborative enviroment… with Owners, Contractors, AEs, facility/infrastructure users, service providers, and oversight groups… sharing information via open, comment defintions, taxonomies, benchmarks, practices and standards.

Technology now allows for the relatively simple task of integrating multiple technologies and knowlege domains and enabling accurate, secure, and rapid access to detailed informations and decision support systems.  However, the REAL ISSUE is that the AEC / AECOM sector must change its “ad hoc” and traditionally unproductive ways of doing business.

The below BIM Framework, BIMF is a represetation of how the process side of BIM can be applied, with appropropriate customization, for any organization.   Expanded details of each component is readily available.    Also, it is important to become familiar with the following, if you are not current tracking these key initiatives/technologies/processes:  Cloud technology, COBIE, IFD, IFC, OMNICLASS, UNIFORMAT, MASTERFORMAT, STEP, reference cost books / guides, JOC / Job Order Contracting, IPD / Integrated Project Delivery, FCI / Facility Condition Index , SCI / System Condition Index …….,

BIM Framework - BIMF

Total Cost of Ownership Framework


BIM – Technology – LEAN Construction – Process

There are those that believe that the desire to utilize BIM is outpacing technology.

This belief is ill-founded.

The REAL issue is that many Owners, Contractors, AE’s, BPMs (business product manufactures), and oversight groups are being outpaced due to their lack of understanding of “basic” BIM PROCESSES.

BIM is NOT 3-D rendering or collision detection.  Tools like Revit, ArchiCAD, Bentely, et al, are only components of a total BIM solution.

BIM is a PROCESS, combined and integrated with supporting TECHNOLOGY(IES) to enable life-cycle management of the built environment.

Cloud technology will support web-centric collaboration and associated secure/rapid data exchange, as well as associated taxonomies, data architectures, etc. such as COBIE, IFC, OMNICLASS (and associated UNIFORMAT, MASTERFORMAT, etc.), STEP…

The integration of the following TECHNOLOGIES, PROCESSES, and COMPETENCIES via CLOUD enablement will expedite BIM:

Efficient Construction Delivery Methods and Software: ( IPD – Integrated Project Delivery, JOC – Job Order Contracting, JOC is IPD specifically for repair, renovation, sustainability and new construction; whereas IPD is for major new construction).

Capital Planning and Management Systems-CPMS: Facility condition assessment, multi-year capital planning scenario analysis.

Space Planning – CAFM: Utilization, hoteling.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems – CMMS:  Routine/preventitive maintenance of “moveable” equipment (typically under $5,000-$10,000, vs. capital issues.

Building Automation Systems – BAS: Automated HVAC, Security, Energy monitoring and control systems.

Geographic Information Systems – GIS:  Physical location systems.

A single “BIM” system will not support the above, and likely will not for a long time.
(Those that have implemented “ERP” systems, are honest with themselves, know the folly of assuming that implementing a single technology will improve and/or manage disparate processes.)

Technology is not the limiting factor relative to BIM,  however, a thorough understanding of the basic concepts, components, and processes associated with BIM, and gaining the appropriate level of competency within each domain, is certainly a challenge.

Equally daunting is gaining the associated requisite support of upper management within the Owner, Contractor, AE and other communities.

Generic Information Model for BIM

Okay, so we all know that the AEC and/or AECOM industry is notoriously unproductive and that our lack of applied robust processes and supporting technology are largely tobblame.  We tend to reinvent the wheel, and to date have not embraced open communication or transparency.

BIM holds the promise to alter the “status quo” if process and technology are embraced as requisitie elements and facility/infrastructure construction and management information is gathered and maintained in a standardized manner to enable better decisionmaking.

The following graphic, shown before, illustrated the competencies and technologies that are invovled in life-cycle facility management, while the following discussion and attached paper deal with the issue of standardized information technology aspects.





Standardized facilty infomation-costs, scheduled, designs, component descriptions-is required to support better communcation, collaboration, and higher productivity within the AEC/AECOM sectors. 

A recent paper,  Generic AEC/FM Model: ISO 10303 AP241 at ISO TC184/SC4, 2008,  Inhan Kim, KyungHee University, addresses the topic of facilty management information interoperabilty quite well.   The paper proposes a “new”  model structure to represent facilities and their maintenance history based upon the AP241 core model.

Data interoperability requires using neutral data formats and reference data libraries.  An example of the latter would be reference cost data standardized via UNIFORMAT, MASTERFORMAT, COBIE, and OMNICLASS.

Longer term data archiving vis Open Standard STEP and STEP based Model Servers.

Combining the above with life-cycle “standards” and “metrics” such as the FCI (facilty condition index) and unit/system/ and sq.ft. life expectancy and cost data also help in the path toward the maintenance and reuse of historical facility information.

API241 Strategy


An enhancement to the API241 is noted in the paper as follows:



Considerations relative to all of the above and noted in the paper include:

Spatial structure of the AEC facility; Location of the elements that constitute an AEC facility; Making use of shape representation including two dimensional and three dimensional representations;General representation of properties; Classification of the elements and properties; Change Management; Association of approvals;Association of constraints; Maintenance and feedback of operational information concerning the AEC facility.

What is STEP?  STEPsi the standard for the exchange of product model data based upon a series of ISO standards – ISO 10303.   SEPT is intended to provide a mechanism that describes a complete and unambiguous product definition throughout the life cycle of a product, independent of any computer system.








STEP for BIM – Full Paper


via – Premier cost estimating and project/contract/document management software for JOC, SABER, IPD, SATOC, MATOC, IDIQ, MACC, POCA, BOA.