Building information modeling, or BIM as we’ve all come to know it, has revolutionized the way hospitals are designed and constructed. But are its capabilities being taken advantage of fully?

Michael Whaley, AIA, LEED AP, president/director, TURIS Systems LLC, says no.

Whaley—joined by Josh Baysinger, project lead, Building Innovation Systems, TURIS Systems—presented a session on BIM at the recent ASHE Annual Conference in San Antonio titled "The Value Proposition for Building Information Modeling for Facility Mangement.”

The focus of the discussion was on the use of BIM beyond the design and the construction of a facility, and working toward its use in ongoing maintenance and management.

“You no longer have lines; you have objects,” Whaley said of the models. And each of those objects can be linked to identifiers in a database: for example, what department it's in, how often it needs maintained, or the last time it was painted.

“What else do you want it to know? That’s the power,” Whaley said.

But is this really happening? Whaley said that when it comes to BIM, the “building” component and the “model” component have reached a level of ease in use for the industry. But it’s the “information” part that isn’t quite there.

“People are not yet doing a good job, in our opinion, of capturing the ‘I,’” he said.

For building managers, that information can be paramount—not just regarding those identifiers previously mentioned but also to create manuals associated with those objects on how to service a system or conduct safety training on a piece of equipment.

And when it comes to building new facilities, Whaley says the planning needs to start long before hiring an architect or engineer.

“How smart do you want that smart building to really be?” he asked.

Once that decision is made, though, how do you go about implementing it? I’ll share what Whaley had to say in my next blog on carrying out a plan for BIM as a facility management tool.