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.



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.

Legals Aspects of BIM – UK – 2013

Here’s a quick overview of a recent meeting discussing the legal aspects of BIM held July 2013.

‘Experts’ we gathered by RIBA Enterprises to discuss the topic.  Key items a noted below:

1. CIC Protocol requires employers/onwers to put the protocol in place for all team members and upate the model production delivery table is updated and that an information manager is appointed.Project team members are required to provide specified levels of information, with a reasonable level of care.

2. Key to manage expectations early on in the project.

3. Protocol doesn’t really change liability in itself.  That said, the concept of Level of Detail (LOD) become important in determining what information is considered ‘sufficient’ when team members are delivering information to “employers/owners”.   Greaeter definition is required for both “data”, i.e. COBie and geometries.

4. Common data is a central requirement and robust management/business rules must be followed to assure development and use.

5. An information manager should not be confused with a design manager.  The information manager role spans multiple disciplines / competencies.

6.  Copyrights and other intellectual property issues are not any more complicated and appropriate licenses/rights should be established/obtained for owners/team use at the onset of the project.

The key principles of the application of the CIC BIM Protocol are as follows:

  • All parties that are responsible for the production of Building Information Models on behalf of the Employer should have the Protocol incorporated into their contract/appointment.

  • The same version of the Protocol and Appendices should be incorporated into each contract.

  • The wording of the CIC BIM Protocol should not be amended

  • The Protocol should detail all Building Information Models that are going to be produced by all parties contracted to the employer on the project

  • The Appendices have to be completed with project specific information for all projects.  This should be available from pre-appointment documentation such as the Employer’s Information Requirements.

  • Changes to the Protocol and its Appendices should be treated as variations to the Contract


BIM-Protocol-appendix-2 (1) BIM-Protocol-Appendix-1 The-BIM-Protocol

BIMF - Building Information Management Framework

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Note:  The above is not intended as legal advice of any type, but rather a simple report on the session.

BIM, Cloud Technology, and Learnings from the Federal Project Delivery Symposium 2011 – DBIA/SAME

As usual it wasn’t the conference presentations or booths that provided any great insight, but rather the priceless side discussions with key industry thought leaders.

There was a resounding consensus that BIM is NOT  the products currently being offered by Autodesk, Graphisoft, Bentley Systems, et al…. though 3-D visualization can be a beneficial component of BIM.

But rather that BIM is primarily a process, supported by various now currently available digital techologies, enabling the collection and communication of  accurate and current core INFORMATION  needed to better manage facilities throughout their lifecycle.

More efficient / LEAN project delivery methods, transparent cost estimating/engineering and project management  including JOC (Job Order Contacting), SABER, IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), SATOC, MATOC …,  are core components of BIM.  Equally important components of BIM include; CPMS (capital planningand management systems used to quantify and manage physical and functional building conditions and budget accordingly…VFA, Parsons, etc.), CMMS (computerized maintenance management systems used to manage work orders for preventive and routine maintenance… IBM/Maximo, TMA, etc., CAFM (computer-aided facility management used to manage space utilization, hoteling, etc.  Peoplecube, Archibus, Tririga, et al…yes, I know many are marketed as IWMS, EAM, etc. etc., but compare the IWMS guys carefully to the focused knowledge domain leaders), BAS (building automation systems used to optimized environmental, security, and health/safety systems – IBM/Tivoli, Honeywell, Siemens, etc.), and GIS (geographical information systems used to provided location-based information – ESRI).

The combination of “real BIM” , or “Big BIM” plus CLOUD technology will help to usher in higher productivity within our AEC sector, as valuable facility planning and management information is eanbled and put to use in a collaborative, transparent manner.

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


Data Requirements to Achieve High Performance Buildings – 2011 – Congressional Testimony

Data Needs to Achieve High Performance Buildings


Representative Hearing, July 18, 2011


Testimony from Cathy Turner, New Buildings Institute



New Buildings Institute (NBI) is a nonprofit organization working to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings. We work collaboratively with commercial building market players—governments, utilities, energy efficiency advocates and building professionals—to remove barriers to energy efficiency. Our activities include promoting advanced design practices, improved technologies, performance feedback mechanisms, and public policies and programs that improve energy efficiency.


NBI is a sponsor of this effort because of its critical importance to the core mission of our nonprofit organization.

To achieve deep energy savings, all parties – policymakers, program managers, designers, owners, tenants, and the real estate community –must all have access to data that shows the strategies that are working and areas needing improvement.


As part of our research, we have compiled a substantial internal database of high performance buildings. That dataset is used in our analyses of the actual performance levels achieved and in the development of tools to better interpret energy use data. We have also participated actively in the DASH (Database for Analyzing Sustainable and High Performance Buildings) efforts over the past several years, working with a broad community of interested parties to identify the contents and structure of a national data repository.

This testimony summarizes the highest priority data needs the we see for the objective of dramatic progress toward very low energy buildings. We also include some suggestions for the process and structure of developing a data repository, based on our internal experience and that of the DASH effort. Fuller descriptions can be found in our supporting document.


We need timely feedback on the actual energy performance being achieved in today’s buildings. This is critical to tracking the energy use progress leading to net-zero energy buildings, defining our pathway and interim goals to move forward. In particular, we must:

1. Know the actual energy performance of buildings compliant with recent energy codes.

Initial baselines and subsequent calibration points of codes to energy performance are fundamental to effective energy code policies.  While policymakers have set specific performance targets, most notably achieving net‐zero energy use in buildings by 2030, there is no way to tell how much progress our building stock is making toward that goal. Current energy code practice is based on estimated energy use of a theoretical sample of buildings that meet all code requirements. This is  not the same as using actual, measured building energy use as a basis for determining progress toward energy policy goals in buildings.

2. Know the results that beyond-code programs are producing High performance buildings, from voluntary programs state stretch codes or LEED, should be providing guidance for tomorrows energy codes. However, anumber of recent studies have demonstrated that various components of new buildings do not perform as well as intended. Stated savings are often based on modeled building performance, which assumes that all systems, components, and operation work as designed. In reality, such perfection is rarely attained, much less maintained.

3. Provide the basis for benchmarking and interpreting energy use levels

a. Know building performance characteristics

A national repository of shared data should include important information on current building performance-related characteristics (relevant system types, ages, physical components, etc). That would enable extracting and communicating cross-cutting lessons from broad experience.

b. Separate whole building performance into the base building and occupant-driven components

For proper benchmarking, we must be able to split energy used by the tenants as a requirement of their basic business activity from energy used for conditioning and lighting the base building. Submetering plug loads and tenant energy use is important for tenant-specific feedback, which becomes essential as we move toward outcome-based codes and very low energy goals. At a minimum, tools for reasonably estimating that split are critical to benchmarking whole building energy, and a national data repository should contain the data needed to use such tools.

4. Enable the transition to a forward-looking rating scale with a fixed baseline.

This will support:

a. More meaningful tracking of performance levels over time. Many organizations and agencies have set aggressive performance improvement goals based on a year 2000 baseline. A national data collection strategy must support tracking progress toward policy goals on a consistent basis – not continuously changing the baseline by always looking at “% better than current code.”

b. Continued meaningful benchmarking, to identify progress as buildings move beyond the best 1% of all existing turn-of-the century building stock. In other words, we must be able to benchmark progress beyond a current Energy Star rating of 99.


These comments are in the context of a usable national repository of data, to be fed by multiple information sources, maintained over time, and to be publicly accessible with appropriate protection of confidentiality.

5. Clear definitions of expected users and objectives will be essential as desired data is identified.

a. The intended use of information determines the amount and level of detail needed. Some objectives, such as accurately estimating the entire national energy use or the total savings achieved from a utility program, require rigorously sampled, statistically representative data.

However, other goals, such as the support for local jurisdictions with disclosure ordinances or the move to forward-looking benchmarking, can be even better served with a more easily collected set of good, credible examples.

6. Create a framework for efficient prioritization and staging.

b. Identify core data items needed for nearly all the desired uses, and provide consistent definitions to be used by all data contributors.

c. Create a framework that supports adding deeper sets of information for specific purposes as definition and data become available.

d.Create synergies with local and state disclosure ordinances.

The jurisdictions that have adopted disclosure ordinances represent a potentially great data resource. No individual jurisdiction is in a position to collect national data from other jurisdictions.

7. Use modern data technology to facilitate information gathering.

e. Anticipate ongoing updates, and possible multiple years of experience for a single building, as opposed to a periodic single survey

f. As one example, consider an approach that could simplify the challenge of recording data for recent construction and renovation.

i. Capture building information at the time of a building permit. Building data needed for calculating and benchmarking performance results should be readily available at this time: square footage, primary systems, and general occupancy characteristics.

ii. Establish a standardized protocol to accept data from utilities, and Set up automatic uploads of utility data to the confidential central repository for these buildings.

iii. Such an approach could be piloted in a single jurisdiction or utility program.

The best role of NIBS will emerge from the discussions begun today. Logical components could include defining and communicating the standards and definitions, hosting the repository, and spearheading the addition of information for targeted segments of the marketplace or types of information.


The above is just one more case evidencing then need for a BIM Framework:


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