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Our construction industry has been witnessing the vast benefits of Building Information Modeling (BIM). There’s an increase in awareness about how 3D BIM models enable better collaboration, enhanced visualization, better asset planning, and effective time and cost management for new construction and renovation/ upgradation projects alike. However, after any project completion, the primary concern is the operation and maintenance of the building and its in-built assets. This makes asset management a crucial practice in the construction industry.

Asset management is the administration of daily operation, maintenance, and repair of each asset in a building. In the construction industry, we may perceive BIM and asset management as independent practices. Yet they have a direct correlation. The synergy between the two can help with streamlined maintenance and reduced financial costs.

Let us look at how BIM can support asset management.

Role of BIM in asset management

BIM offers structured information management for all phases of the construction lifecycle. Its shared model can collate data around planning, designing, installation, commissioning, and related aspects of an asset. Upon project completion, the digital handover of BIM information models to asset management systems can empower asset owners with information about asset performance, maintenance, and safety.

Advantages of integrating BIM and asset management

When BIM and asset management databases are linked, information management becomes seamless. BIM renders itself for the creation of the ‘digital twin’ of the physical asset thus, making asset location simpler. It also provides accurate real-time information across asset categories.

In addition, BIM acts as an information storehouse for asset data that includes asset history, its operation, its size, dependencies, and disaster recovery. This easily accessible asset data supports better planning of maintenance, repair, and replacement and reduced time in asset maintenance. For instance, a problem in an AC duct can be easily identified through the BIM model. This can help the maintenance staff fix the problem in a few hours or in a single visit rather than what may have taken longer with traditional asset management.

The 3D model can help identify point and linear assets in the building structure. The asset data also provides information about interconnected point assets and linear assets. For example, point assets such as faucet, basin, sprinkler linked with the linear assets such as water supply, drainage pipes, and others.

Challenges of asset management without BIM

Without BIM, there will be no structured data for asset management. Asset data from the construction phase cannot be extracted. This also hampers the identification and location of hidden assets.

For example, BIM is not integrated with asset management for a construction project. If a false ceiling is constructed later, asset owners and facility managers will find it difficult to identify the electrical cables and pipe routes without digital asset data. In such cases where no asset data is available, the false ceiling will have to be broken for any repair work, thus adding to the maintenance cost and time.

Integration of asset management with BIM: An example from Excelize portfolio

We, at Excelize, have witnessed asset management integration through BIM in multiple projects. The construction of SIDRA – super specialty hospital in Qatar is one such example. It is a 600-bed hospital for women and children built on a plot area of 77 acres and a built-up area of 430,000 square meters. Integration of BIM and asset management is useful in projects like hospitals where asset maintenance needs to be well-planned to avoid hindrances in surgeries and medical treatments. For example, shutting the hospital power supply to service one hospital room or equipment can affect the functioning of other rooms. However, the integration of BIM and asset management has made it possible to identify the hospital areas or, rooms that will be affected if the power supply is cut off during repair and maintenance.

To maximize the potential of BIM, we need to use it in the post-construction phase when the asset is handed over to the owners. BIM’s support in asset management not only ensures improved building management but also optimum utilization of time and costs.

Let us look at BIM beyond the design and construction phases.

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