Typically at BIMForum events, the audience is composed of architects, engineers and construction contractors, with the odd owner, but rarely facilities management (FM) folks. At this year's BIMForum 2019 conference in St Louis several talks addressed how BIM and geospatial add value during the operate and maintain phase of a construction project. In his talk Saurabh Gangwar of Clark Construction Group) explained the why, what and how of Clark's application of BIM to facilities management including a couple of case studies.

On many projects information provided by the construction contractor is handed over months after completion of the project. It can take the operator of the facility a year to go through this information to find the information required to operate the facility. This period is what is called the "blind spot" corresponding to the time the facility operator is managing the facility with limited information. Since for many types of equipment the highest probability of failure is in their first month or two of operation - just during the period that the building operator often doesn't have access to information about warranties and extended warranties - this increases the risk of equipment and even facility failures. In addition there is a cost associated with just finding the information required to service equipment.

Building information modeling (BIM) has been applied to design-build construction projects for many years. A growing number of countries are mandating BIM for public projects. While the UK government has said that "...we know that the largest prize for BIM lies in the operational stages of the project life-cycle", until recently there has not been hard data to support this conjecture. Similarly there has been only anecdotal support for an integrated BIM and geospatial approach for design, build, operate and maintain projects. Now we are beginning to see data from real world projects that offer evidence for the benefits of an integrated BIM+geospatial full lifecycle approach for construction projects.

Over the past decade, there has been impressive progress in developing open standards for the integration of geospatial and AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) views of city infrastructure which provides a standards-based basis for full lifecycle management from design through to operations and maintenance of infrastructure projects.


FM data is collected to support a number of activities including space management and renovations and both preventative and reactive building maintenance.


Traditionally with a design-build approach to construction, FM data collection involves compiling as-builts, printed, pdfs, and 2D CAD drawings and operations and maintenance manuals that are required to operate and maintain a structure.  With a BIM approach most of the information required for operation and maintenance is collected during design and construction.  Four types of data comprise what is required for FM; geometric data, parametric data, field data, and O&M submittal data.  Geometric is the 3D model created with a tool such as Revit.  Parametric data is comprised of properties of assets associated with a building or other structure.  A key property is the location of the asset.  Another important property is classification using Uniformat, Omniclass or COBie.  Field data is data collected in the field often with the aid of asset tagging.  O&M submittal data involves warranty and safety information associated with each facility and piece of equipment.

Coordinate systems

One of the challenges on construction projects is that there are multiple coordinate systems; the architects, MEP and FM folks may use different coordinate systems. Saurabh DSC09560abexplained that the most important requirement for efficient FM is agreeing on a single coordinate system. If the FM software used by the owner requires or is linked to a GIS, then the coordinate system with be a real world projection.  This reflects the experience of other construction firms on full life cycle projects, that a real world coordinate system shoudl be used from project inception.


Data is created or collected using BIM design tools, spreadsheets, COBie, or FMCloud tools like Autodesk BIM 360, Onuma, or KTrack.  An Not one of these tools is good for all four types of data required by FM.  The FM solution that is used on different projects combinations of all four. Another important issue is that the designers create design BIM models, while contractors create and use construction models, typically built up from scratch independent of the design models.

DSC09561abFor example, one of the projects Clark was responsible for was Kansas City International Airport.  On this project construction COBIe was a requirement and BIM models were relied on for geometric and parametric data stripping out some information that was not relevant for FM.  Field data was collected with an FM Cloud application.

As owners see the advantages full-lifecycle thinking for construction projects and are beginning to changing their procurement practices, construction companies are changing their business processes to optimize facility maintenance and operation. Construction companies that have taken on the challenge of design, build, operate and maintain projects are realizing that there are significant benefits from an integrated BIM+geospatial approach to full lifecycle construction. Standards organizations in both the AEC and geospatial worlds are making progress on BIM+geospatial interoperability. Over a year ago major software vendors Autodesk and ESRI announced an agreement to partner for greater interoperability between their products.

A survey of the FM industry found that while 92% had heard about BIM and 84% agreed that BIM has the potential to deliver value add to FM, over two thirds said that the FM is not prepared for BIM.  Evidence suggests that full lifecyle construction including FM is gaining traction in the construction industry.  The time is ripe for FM vendors to learn more about BIM and geospatial and their application to asset management.