Asset Life-cycle Model, Asset Information Model, and Why BIM Won’t Work

The U.S. tried to foster BIM with NBIMS,  also others in the world tried PAS this and PAS that, and ISO this and ISO that… the issue remains that standards can’t replace knowledge and competency.

At the end of there day BIM represents nothing new relative to the efficient life-cycle management of the built environment.  Sure, software firms, and folks that love 3D and make a living from it will tell you otherwise, but the simple truth is that BIM, as we now know it, can not and will not survive.

The fact that BIM is a failure is sad because the world desperately needs to get a grip on how to manage its limited economic and environment resources and built structures are significant in that process.   Furthermore, there are critical life-safety and security issues associated with our crumbling and mismanaged physical infrastructure.

The primary issue is that many facility management and AEC professionals confused 3D visualization with asset life-cycle management.  While 3D visualization is nice tool, is is just that, an individual component in the toolbox.  It’s not even the most important tool.   Large, multi-site, multi-national real property portfolios can be efficiently managed WITHOUT 3D visualization and BIM software as now available.

Thus the pressure by countries, such as the UK to use BIM is misdirected.

Any government regulation should be directly solely at Owners.  More specifically, asset life-cycle management practices and collaborative construction delivery methods (integrated project delivery – IPD, job order contracting – JOC)  should be mandated.  This includes a formalized set up key performance indicators (KPIs), robust lean best management practices, and ongoing education and training.

The methods to eliminate the rampant environment and economic waste endemic to the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, and Owner sectors has been available for decades,  we simply don’t require Owners to do their jobs.

Owners must be required to develop technical and business competencies with respect to asset life-cycle modeling and total cost of ownership, and be able to LEAD collaborative teams of service providers.     Until this happens….   nothing will change, it is indeed as simple as that.

BIM asset life-cycle competencies

Asset Comptency Model

BIM Strategy for the Built Environment


1. Link built environment to organizational mission and efficiently manage all physical and functional aspects.

2. Move from being 80% Reactive 20% Preventative to 80% Preventative 20% Reactive (or less)… and reduce overall cost and environmental impact.

Key Considerations for a Successful BIM Strategy

  1. Organizational Resources
  2. Economic Fit
  3. Cultural Fit – Collaboration, Communication, and Transparency are REQUIRED, Involve all Shareholders (Owners (senior management, FM, capital planning, procurement, building users…), AE’s, Contractors, BPMs (business product manufacturers),  Oversight Groups, Community …)
  4. Phasing – Impossible to Implement BIM all a once
  5. Identify and Rank Problems and Opportunities – Inventory, Physical and Functional Conditions, Deficiencies and Costs and Associated Impacts vs. Time
  6. Generate and Assess Alternatives – Corrections
  7. Develop Implementation Plan
  8. Implement Projects – Integrated Project Delivery (Job Order Contracting – JOC – renovation, repair, sustainability, minor new construction, IPD – new construction)
  9. Ongoing Management and Reassessment – Continuous Improvement / LEAN
  10. Always remember – “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”.

BIM Definition(s):

‘Building Information Modelling (BIM) is digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility creating a shared knowledge resource for information about it forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle, from earliest conception to demolition.”

“BIM provides a common environment for all information defining a building, facility or asset, together with its common parts and activities.This includes building shape, design and construction time, costs, physical performance, logistics and more. More importantly, the information relates to the intended objects (components) and processes, rather than relating to the appearance and presentation of documents and drawings.More traditional 2D or 3D drawings may well be outputs of BIM, however, instead of generating in the conventional way ie. as individual drawings, could all be produced directly from the model as a “view” of the required information.” – RICS

Building information modeling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. The resulting building information models become shared knowledge resources to support decision-making about a facility from earliest conceptual stages, through design and construction, through its operational life and eventual demolition.” – Wikipedia 12/25/2011

“The future of BIM modeling is to expand the information model to include more of the life cycle phases (ie: real property commerce, maintenance and operations, environmental simulation, etc.), to standardize life cycle process definitions and associated exchanges of information, and to standardize information content so that meanings and granularity are clear and consistent.” – NIBS, 6/25/2012

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle[1]. Typically it uses three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modeling software to increase productivity in building design and construction.[2] The process produces the Building Information Model (also abbreviated BIM), which encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building components.” – Free Dictionary, 6/25/2011

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the process of generating and managing data about the building, during its life cycle. Typically BIM uses three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modelling software to increase productivity in the design and construction stages. ” – NBS, 6/25/2012

“A Building Information Model (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such it serves as ashared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle from inception onward. A basic premise of BIM is collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases of the life cycle of a facility to insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM process to support and reflect the roles of that stakeholder. The BIM is a shared digital representation founded on open standards for interoperability.” – NIBS, buildingSMART, NIBS, 2006

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What is BIM – Strategy, Process, or Technology ?

BIM is an integration of process and technology to enable the efficient life-cycle management of facilities (the latter including vertical and horizontal physical infrastructure… buildings, roadways, utilities, landscapes, etc.).  BIM is a digital integration of previously disparate processes and technologies to allow organization to better link the built environment to support physical and functional requirements, while at the same time optimizing return on investment and associated impacts upon the environment.  Considerations include design, procurement, construction delivery methods, construction management, condition assessment, repair, renovation, adaptation, utilization, capital planning and budgeting, life/safety, security, and sustainability.

BIM is divergent from the traditional antagonistic and inefficient architectural, design, engineering, construction,  and operations management process which have been responsibility for the lack of overall productivity in these sectors.  BIM is a collaborative process involving all stakeholders/shareholders and is supported by an integral digital framework.  The latter enables rapid, scalable deployment and consistent/transparent deployment and management.


BIM - Integration of Process and Technology to Enable Efficient Facility Life-Cycle Management


BIM requires a structured approach relative to terms, definitions, data architectures across multi-disciplinary knowledge domains to allow for efficient, transparent data sharing and re-use.  Some of the associated, currently silo-based competencies and activities are shown in the below graphic.

BIM requires the integration of currently disparate processes and technologies



BIM and the CLOUD – Disruptive Technologies

The challenge is to do more with less. Compression has become a common theme. Resources, and client/serviced provider “air time” are becoming increasingly compressed each year because of financial and technology market pressures.  Just a few years ago the Internet was evolving as a B-to-B marketing tool, now its use is a mandatory and growing component of most organizational management strategies.  Real-time contact with clients, prospects, and suppliers on both a one-to-one and one-to-many basis is a very powerful tool, but is equally difficult to manage effectively.

BIM and the CLOUD disruptive technologies will alter the AECOM sectors (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations and Management) and how the built environment is designed, built and managed.

Focus will shift to facility and physical infrastructure  life-cycle management and their alignment to organizational mission.   The competitive landscape’s increasing demands are forcing all institutions to compete on overall value, products, and/or  services.  Valuable decision support tools will evolve to enable the highest possible return for resources invested.

Leading organizations will allocated resource toward process and continuous improvement.  Technologies such as BIM and CLOUD are enables to support cost effective implementation, scalability, and management of efficient processes.

The life-cycle management of the built environment  must be integrated with all aspects of an organization, as it impacts all organizational stakeholders.  In many cases, efficient building  life-cycle management will play a central role in the success and failure of many institutions. Stakeholders include Owners, Building Users, Architects, Contractors, Engineers, Business Product Manufacturers, Oversight Groups, Financial Institutions, and the Community.

Establishing continuous communication of a shared vision and collaboration,  including complete and detailed definitions of responsibilities and deliverables,  provides the best foundation for domain knowledge growth and attaining improved productivity.  BIM and CLOUD technology support these efforts, as well as the establishment and monitoring of performance-based benchmarks and metrics needed to shape future needs.

Efforts must be taken to assure that all constituencies are committed to the core strategy, and that communication channels, both internal and external, remain open.  Again, BIM and CLOUD technology provide the required levels of communication and knowledge-base management.

BIM Framework - BIMF

The Scope of BIM

“The NBIMS Initiative categorizes the Building Information Model (BIM) three ways, as product, as an IT enabled, open standards based deliverable, a collaborative process, and a facility
management requirement.”

I personally view BIM as a collaborative, cradle-to-grave facility management process, deployed, scaled, supported and consistently applied by technology (products).

Whether there will be a single “product” is questionable.  3d Object-oriented tools such as Revit, Archicad, et al are not BIM.

Also the term “Model” has created a major problem, as again, many assume a Revit or Archicadm et al, “model” is BIM…

“Management”  aka Building Information Management vs. Building Information Model, is arguably the best single “edit” one could make to the above NBIMS categorization of BIM.

As an business sector, we need to “get out of the weeds”  and make some significant business process and cultural changes across all segments of Contruction, Engineering, Architecture, Operations, and Maintenance of faciliteis and infrastructure.

BIM is not stagnating due to the economy, it is stagnating due to an overall lack of understand relative to facility lifecycle management and its associated core requirements:

portfolio definition and association with an organization’s mission,

associated physical and functional conditions,


costs and cost engineering,

efficient project / contract delivery methods,

and the associated transparent collaborative processes.

via premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software for JOC, SABER, IPD, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA ….

BIM Framework - BIMF

The Levels of BIM – Defining BIM and BIM Strategy

A Framework for Change

The AEC’s sector transformation from disparate management practices and scattered silos of information will be greatly aided by the adoption of 3D/4D/5D object-oriented BIM software, common interoperability standards, integrated construction delivery business processes such as IPD and JOC, supporting technologies, and the growing awareness of life-cycle and total cost of ownership practices.

Many currently view BIM as a 3-dimensional representation of the built environment, primarily for use during the design and construction phases. This narrow focus is inconsistent with the definition of BIM – “Building Information Modeling is the process of generating and managing information about a building during its entire life cycle.”

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) notes the following about BIM. “The scope of Building Information Modeling (BIM) directly or indirectly affects all stakeholders supporting the capital facilities industry. BIM is a fundamentally different way of creating, using, and sharing building lifecycle data.” BIM is a digital software system and an open standards-based collaborative business process targeting life-cycle facility management. It includes: 3D (visualization); 4D (time-scheduling/life-cycle analysis); and 5D (cost-estimating/capital planning), which serve as a common, centralized repository/portal for all life-cycle building related information, from concept thru deconstruction.

The combination of standardized information and facilities management processes enables facility life-cycle and total cost of ownership management. BIM’s expansion to incorporate all facility life-cycle phases necessitates standardized business process, taxonomies, and data architectures. Interoperability and standardized content at all levels of granularity from building models to systems, subsystems, components, and individual units are required.

4Clicks COAA Article – BIMF – BIM Framework – BIM for FM

Exemplary efforts in this area include COBIE, IFC, and Ominclass. COBIE (Construction Operation Building Information Exchange), Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), OmniClass™ Construction Classification System (OmniClass or OCCS) are data models, definition, rules, and/or protocols intended to define data sets and information pertaining to capital facilities throughout their lifecycles. COBIE, for example, is a specification for capturing design and construction information for facility managers and operators in a digital format. The standardized data architecture was developed to replace the current ad hoc process of leaving disparate piles of paper documents and digital files behind after a contruction project is completed.  All of these standards promote the exchange/sharing of accurate and reusable building information.

Figure 2 – Building Information Management Framework (BIMF) illustrates the roles and integration of several of the complementary knowledge domains, processes and technologies that are components of a 4D/5D BIM strategy. These components include: master planning, capital planning and management systems (CPMS), design, cost estimating, procurement, construction delivery methods (IPD, JOC), construction, construction management, operations, maintenance, repairs, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), space planning and utilization (CAFM-computer-aid facility management), and deconstruction.

BIM is 10% Technology 90% Sociology

BIM for FM – BIMF – Change on the Horizon – FINAL

Culture and process drive BIM, the begining and the end of the story. 

Those that understand this will also understand the importance IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) and JOC (Job Order Contracting).

The the number one problem of BIM (as well as IPD and JOC),  is not technology, but personality (Randy Deutsch).    All three have been around for a decade or longer, and only recently are they begining to be understood and implemented on an acclerated basis.

What is BIM – Software, Business Process? – BIM Definition – NIBS – National BIM Standard – BIM Standards

Both….  BIM is a digital technology and a business process for life-cycle facility management, from concept thru disposal.

The below figure represents components of a BIM strategy.

What is a BIM?

The National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee defines BIM as:

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility.  A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.

A basic premise of BIM is collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases of the life cycle of a facility to insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of that stakeholder.

The US National BIM Standard will promote the business requirements that BIM and BIM interchanges are based on:

  • a shared digital representation,
  • that the information contained in the model be interoperable (i.e.: allow computer to computer exchanges), and
  • the exchange be based on open standards,
  • the requirements for exchange must be capable of defining in contract language.

As a practical matter, BIM represents many things depending on one’s perspective:

  • Applied to a project, BIM represents Information management—data contributed to and shared by all project participants.  The right information to the right person at the right time.
  • To project participants, BIM represents an interoperable process for project delivery—defining how individual teams work and how many teams work together to conceive, design, build & operate a facility.
  • To the design team, BIM represents integrated design—leveraging technology solutions, encouraging creativity, providing more feedback, empowering a team.¹

NBIM standard will incorporate several elements described later in this document but the focus will be on standardized processes which define “business views” of data needed to accomplish a particular set of functions.

Why BIM should be renamed BIMM – The Value of BIM

BIM should should have been can BIMM – Building Information Modeling and Management. The emphasis upon 3D is silly, and the focus upon 3D replacing 2D is equally misdirected.

Products like Revit and Archicad are only relatively small components of a BIM solution.  BIM is a process embedded within and support by digital technology that enables more efficient cradle-to-grave management of the built environment.

Owners, contractors, A/E’s, oversight groups, and communities will all benefit from BIM relative to the management and usage of the built environment.

As many say, the “I” in BIM is the critical aspect.  Defensible, accessible, transparent, accurate and re-usable information is the true value of BIM.

AEC Myth #147 – Construction Estimating is More Art than Science

Efficient, accurate construction cost estimating is a very detailed profession that is highly dependent upon robust process, definitions, cost databases, terminology / taxonomy, technology, collaboration, and experience.

Granted the AEC industry in the US suffers from cultural issues and lags other sectors in the efficient adoption and deployment of technology, but this will change due to the altered worldwide environmental and economic landscape.

The evolution and convergence of Building Information Modeling (BIM), more efficient construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Job Order Contracting (JOC), Capital Planning and Management Systems (CPMS), Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), and Computer-aid Facility Management (CAFM), will drive a more collaborative, productive,Architecuture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, and Maintenance industry.