BIM For Facility Managment – FM

First and foremost “BIM” is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology. 3D visualization tools, such as Revit, Archicad, Bentley, etc. represent only one of several technologies and business processes/competencies required for efficient life-cycle management of the built environment.

There are far more important considerations, such as CPMS, efficient project delivery methods such as IPD and JOC, CMMS, BAS, CAFM, Portfolio Management, Property Management, life-cycle costing,  etc. etc.

Leveraging a robust ontology and quantitatively measuring physical and functional building levels and actively managing capital reinvestment over time.. with a focus upon life-cycle costs and impacts vs. first costs are the most important considerations to a successful strategy.

BIM ONTOLOGY – Prerequisite to BLM – Built-Environment Life-cycle Managment

People – Process – Technology are traditionally considered the cornerstones of BIM.  That said, without a robust ontology BIM is virtually impossible.  Life-cycle management of the built environment is not mainstream due to the following factors.

– Need for a a consistent set of terms and definitions as well as associations.  A BIM Ontology enables collaboration and cost effective information creation and ongoing reuse.

– Collaborative construction delivery methods vs. ad hoc antagonistic methods such as design-bid-built.

– Focus upon life-cycle cost vs. first-costs.



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.


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).


via – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner

BIM Use… The Real Numbers

BIM UsesThanks a recent survey (AN ONTOLOGY OF THE USES OF BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING, A Dissertation in Architectural Engineering By
Ralph G. Kreider
© 2013 Ralph G. Kreider) that defined BIM uses and looked a actual project, we now have a much better picture of the “BIM State of the Union”.

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment.  Note how many respondents were using BIM for asset management… less than 10%.

Until there is a robust focus upon the business process competencies required for life-cycle management of the built environment, and an associated ontology… little substantial progress can be made.

So….  how does one begin to develop an ontology for BIM / Life-cycle management of the built environment?

Well.. help me draw on a napkin?



Why BIM Isn’t Working.

The construction delivery method sets the tone, establishes the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved, and impacts ultimate success more so than any technology.

Thus IPD – Integrated Project Delivery for new construction and JOC – Job Order Contracting for renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction, and similar collaborative construction delivery methods should be the primary focus. Technology is certainly a deployment enabler, and sometime also a disruptive catalyst.

Stakeholder collaboration (Owners, AEs, Contractors, Subs, Oversight Groups, Building Product Manufactures…) throughout the life-cycle of a build structure is the fundamental element that ultimately drives productivity and better outcomes. Collaboration is the path to the refinement of associated goals, needs, and activities…. and therefore creates requisite focus.

BIM is being held back by one item…. lack of collaboration, or even the willingness to collaborate.

BIM technology vendors and “standards” organizations are somewhat to “blame” , as they have placed emphasis upon 3D visualization vs. construction delivery methods, a robust ontology, and metrics.

LOD – Level of Development – BIM – Life-cycle

Level of development (LOD) relative to the life-cycle management of the built environment (BIM) should have a solid framework relative to ONTOLOGY.  Ontology is the standardized usage/definition of terms and their associated inter-relationships.

While the definition of “life-cycle” has many permutations, and is likely to undergo ongoing improvement, the relationship to LOD needs to be  developed in parallel.

via – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner

RIBA LOD Work Plan 2013 RIBA LOD USACE LOD - Element Grade USACE LODBig Data - BIM


OmniClass™ Work Results: a critique (source:

It has been suggested by some that, rather than developing or implementing Uniclass2, we in the UK should switch to OmniClass, used in North America. John Gelder, Head of content development and sustainability, takes a critical look at the OmniClass Work Results Table, comparing it throughout with the Uniclass2 Work Results Table.

OmniClass is the North American equivalent of Uniclass2 and is promulgated by CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) and CSC (Construction Specifications Canada).

Broadly speaking OmniClass is in a similar position to Uniclass 1997, with much the same general limitations, though it is rather more unified. Uniclass articles corresponding to this one include Reclassification and The new Uniclass Work sections table. For a review of OmniClass in general, refer to the separate article OmniClass: a critique.


Like Uniclass Table J (aka CAWS), the OmniClass Work Results Table (aka MasterFormat) is geared mostly to the specification of systems and products, and so is focused on the construction phase. It doesn’t serve the whole project timeline, as it doesn’t have homes for high-level (early-stage) objects such as Complexes, Activities and Elements. This means that the Table can’t properly serve design-build and design-build-operate procurement (which, in the latter case, typically requires the contractor to be involved from the very beginning of the project, as part of a consortium). Other Tables within OmniClass must be used to structure specifications for Entities, Spaces and Elements. Tables outside OmniClass must be used for other object classes. These would then need to map to each other and to the Work Results Table, in order to properly integrate the specification component of the building information model (BIM) along the project timeline. Given the lack of congruence, this won’t be easy.

The Uniclass2 Work Results Table has homes for objects of all classes from Regions down to Products, so can fully serve the project timeline, and all procurement routes. See Table 5.*

Even mapping between systems and products is problematic because, read with the non-OmniClass SectionFormat, there are no homes for System outline (or compositional) specifications. Indeed, Systems and Products are conflated. This means that the Work Results Table, plus SectionFormat, can’t properly serve BIM, which requires mapping between objects of different classes in the object hierarchy (e.g. this product is part of that system, this system comprises those products). Making this explicit in the specification requires outline specifications. We can’t rely on this mapping being delivered through the geometrical part of BIM (CAD) since many systems and products are not modelled geometrically at all.

The Uniclass2 Work Results Structure Table provides for outline (compositional) specifications all down the object hierarchy, including Systems-to-Products, so fully supports BIM. Table 5 illustrates this (left-hand column).

Table 5: OmniClass and Unclass2 Work Results Tables – scope

Item OmniClass Table 22 Work Results 2011 & SectionFormat 2008 Uniclass2 Work Results Table & Work Results Structure Table
Project management Division 00 Procurement and contracting requirements + Division 01 General requirements Group 00 Project management + Management Table
Region outline Not included Group 02 Regions + Regions Table
Region performance
District outline Group 04 Districts + Districts Table
District performance
Complex outline Group 06 Complexes + Complexes Table
Complex performance
Entity outline Group 08 Entities + Entities Table
Entity performance
Activity outline Group 10 Activities + Activities Table
Activity performance
Space outline Group 12 Spaces + Spaces Table
Space performance
Element outline Group 14 Elements + Elements Table
Element performance
System outline System sections: System outline subsection + Systems Table
System performance Work sections: SF Products subsection System sections: System performance subsection
Products System sections: Products subsection + Products Table
Custom-made products System sections: Custom-made products subsection
Execution Work sections: SF Execution subsection System sections: Execution subsection
System completion Sub-group XX 08 00 Commissioning System sections: System completion subsection
System FM Sub-group XX 01 00 Maintenance System sections: System FM subsection

SectionFormat has a home for the specification of performance and design criteria of products, which in turn are defined as including systems, assemblies, manufactured units, equipment, components, product types and materials. That is, SectionFormat doesn’t really distinguish between products, systems and materials, though OmniClass at large does (in the Products, Work Results and Materials Tables). ‘Performance’ at a higher level was in sub-group 01 80 00 Performance requirements in the 2004 edition of this Table, but this has been dropped in the 2011 edition. As it was actually mostly about elements rather than systems (e.g. 01 83 16 Exterior enclosure performance requirements), the idea is probably that this is specified using a specification aligned to the Elements Table.

The Uniclass2 Work Results Structure Table provides for performance specification of objects all down the object hierarchy, so fully supports contractor (and other) design. It also makes a clear distinction between Elements, Systems and Products (and so on) – this is essential for a rational approach to hierarchical object modelling. Table 5 illustrates this (left-hand column).

In the OmniClass Work Results Table, the commissioning and maintenance of systems (elements, actually) are not described in the system sections, but in separate sections in sub-groups 08 and 01 of each group, respectively, e.g. sub-group 09-08-00 Commissioning of finishes and section 09-01-70 Maintenance of wall finishes (see Table 6). This is rather inconvenient for those wanting to have everything about a given system collected together (though of course this could be managed through reporting in a digital specification tool such as NBS Create).

All aspects of each system, from design to operation, are collected in each of the System sections in the Uniclass2 Work Results Structure Table. Table 5 illustrates this (right-hand column).


The general sequence of sections within each Group doesn’t fully reflect construction sequence. For example, operation and maintenance should be last, and commissioning should be second-last, but this isn’t the structure at all. All of this is held in sections that precede those describing the thing yet to be designed and built. See Table 6.

The System section structure in the Uniclass2 Work Results Structure Table fully reflects construction sequence. See Table 5 (right-hand column).

Table 6: OmniClass Work Results Table – section sequence

Fabric example Services example
08-00-00 Openings 23-00-00 Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC)
• 08-01-00 Operation and maintenance of openings • 23-01-00 Operation and maintenance of HVAC systems
• 08-05-00 Common work results for openings • 23-05-00 Common work results for HVAC
• 08-06-00 Schedules for openings • 23-06-00 Schedules for HVAC
Not used • 23-07-00 HVAC insulation
• 08-08-00 Commissioning of openings • 23-08-00 Commissioning of HVAC
Not used • 23-09-00 Instrumentation and control for HVAC
08-10-00 Doors and frames 23-10-00 Facility fuel systems
Not used 23-20-00 HVAC piping and pumps
08-30-00 Specialty doors and frames 23-30-00 HVAC air distribution
08-40-00 Entrances, storefronts and curtain walls 23-40-00 HVAC air cleaning devices
08-50-00 Windows 23-50-00 Central heating equipment
08-60-00 Roof windows and skylights 23-60-00 Central cooling equipment
08-70-00 Hardware 23-70-00 Central HVAC equipment
08-80-00 Glazing 23-80-00 Decentralized HVAC equipment
08-90-00 Louvers and vents Not used

The OmniClass Work Results Table has deficiencies, specifically with respect to serving the entire project timeline and all procurement routes, and supporting BIM. It has a construction phase focus, and so has no homes for the specification of high-level objects such as Complexes, so it can’t deal with early project stages. System operation and maintenance specifications are isolated from descriptions of the systems themselves, so it doesn’t serve the occupancy phase as well as it might. Together this means that the Table is not well-suited to non-traditional modes of procurement, such as design-build and design-build-operate.

The Work Results Table conflates systems and products, and has no homes for outline or compositional specifications. Together these mean that the Table doesn’t support hierarchical object mapping, a key requirement for a BIM specification. This is exacerbated by the Table – and OmniClass as a whole – not supporting classification of high-level object classes and systems. Without these object classes we cannot produce a complete ‘building’ information model.

Finally, the basic design-build-operate sequence is not implemented fully in the Work Results Table, nor in SectionFormat (e.g. a proposed FM subsection has not eventuated; system-wide performance requirements are not distinguished from those for ‘mere’ products). This makes the default structure rather messy.

BIM requires a unified approach to classification if it is to work well, e.g. with simple mapping between classification Tables. OmniClass cannot deliver this, as it stands. Uniclass2 can.

* Note: Tables 1 to 4 are available in OmniClass™: a critique

via – Leading cost estimating and efficient project delivery software 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 mangement, all in one application.