BIM / BLM Ontology – Building Information Modeling / Built-environment Life-cycle Management – 2014

Ontology was originally reserved as a philosophical exercise dealing with categorization, analysis, and inter-relationships.  Ontology is now a rapidly evolving science in response to increasing complex information systems and/or “big data”.

Specific to the built-environment life-cycle management BLM / BIM, ontology is a fundamental requirement as it’s needed to establish robust, coherent, and consistent representations of ever-changing information.  This information comes from a variety of competencies, processes, and technologies and must be aggregated and harmonized to enabling enhanced decision-support mechanisms and overall improvement in resources allocation.

“Formal ontology now spans conceptual modeling, database design, software engineering, organizational modeling, artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, the life sciences, bioinformatics, geographic  information science, knowledge engineering, information retrieval, and  the semantic web.”

 

Common methods support comparable outputs!

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Time to Restart, Reinvent BIM … BLM… Built-environment Life-cycle Managment?

If one had to name the single most important aspect of BIM, I would select the project delivery method.   Collaborative methods are a requirement.  They set the tone, establish responsibilities, and determine if/how information is shared (as well as when and the format)… and ultimately determine the success or failure.  The good news is they are not new and they are proven.  The bad is that the market has cultural objection to change and to sharing.   Examples of collaborative methods are Integrated Project Delivery, IPD, Job Order Contracting, JOC, Public Private Partnerships, PPP, etc.

Equally important is a life-cycle view vs. first cost mentality.  This provides true value for everyone and removes the disadvantages associated with low bid.

I have been blessed to be able to work with the largest Owners across all market sectors as well as contractors, subs, and AEs of all sizes.  My focus is upon both the strategic aspects of life-cycle management and tactical implementation supported by technology and robust data architectures. 

As we all know, there’s a lot of dysfunction in the AECOO market,   Folks continue to attempt to reinvent the wheel despite proven business best practices, vendors (especially software) mislead by saying the “do everything”…especially the IWMS folks.  Also the BIM focus has largely focused upon 3D visualization and many don’t even understand life-cycle management, requirements, and/or metrics.

The 3D visualization aspect BIM has little true value at the moment other that pretty pictures, crash detection, and prefabrication (specific material vendors).

BIM is really BLM (built-environment life-cycle management) and therefore must support a as framework of collaborative project delivery.   Many/most current methods and models only support linear and/or serial processes vs. parallel co-existent cycles.

 

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A BIM / BLM primary issue that has been largely avoided to date is the lack of a robust BLM (built-environment life-cycle management) ONOTLOGY.     BLM/BIM will continue to be impossible without one.   For starters what is a life-cycle…what are the primary phases…competencies…technologies… metrics…? 
There is a reason BLM/BIM has stagnated… and this is it. 

Is there a BIM/BLM clear mission statement, clear value. proposition,  robust ontology….documented proven business best practices, quantitative metrics… all of these must precede technology. 
Tech is just an enabler for cost-efficient deployment, etc.

Forget “BIM”, and Get on Board with BLM – Building / Built Environment Life-cycle Management

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.  That said, BIM has been preoccupied with 3D visualization to the extent that many/most feel that Revit, Archicad, et al are all that’s needed to implement BIM.

BLM – Building Life-cycle Management requires fundamental process changes within all participating organizations / stakeholders and the associated integration and use of multiple competencies, processes, and technologies.

Here’s a short list of considerations, features,  requirements, and realizations associated with BLM.

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1. A robust ONTOLOGY – While not “sexy”, a clearly defined glossary with robust definitions and associated metrics is the first step. An ontology enables replicable processes, reusable data, information sharing, low cost of decision support, etc. etc. etc.  Enter… OMNICLASS, COBie, MasterFormat, UniFormat …

2. Organizations don’t deal well with change.  Some will succeed, many will fail.

3. Many/most organizations are dealing under an “information scarcity” model, when in reality we are all  in an world of
information abundance.  “Big Data” is here.  Large amounts of data (volume) and it has brought an ever increasing rapid pace of data acquisition, complexity of the data,  structured and unstructured data, multiple data sources.

4. Cloud computing technologies and new storage and indexing strategies are rapidly being developed and deployed to handle volume and velocity of information: Schema mapping, Controlled vocabularies, Knowledge representations, Ontologies and semantic technologies,.

5. Despite the above there remains surprisingly little collaboration within the AECOO sector(s) (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, Owner).  As as result advancements are slow and productivity gains remain elusive.

6. Traditional techniques, processes, and methods…such as design-bid-built, are ineffective/inadequate and giving way to collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), and Job Order Contracting (JOC).

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