In my previous blog, “Is There No ‘I’ in BIM?”, I shared some tips from Michael Whaley, AIA, LEED AP, president/director, TURIS Systems LLC, regarding how building information modeling can be put to use by facility managers.

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 Management.”

Deciding to pursue the implementation of BIM models to manage ongoing facility maintenance is one thing; however, the likely next question is, “so what happens next?”

Whaley says it should be a frank conversation with architects about interest in using BIM for its data capabilities, and not just for design.

Architects use BIM as a visualization tool that can communicate to owners and other team members design intent, Whaley says, noting that use of those models doesn’t necessarily mean that a designer has experience with the technology from a facility management standpoint.

Some questions he advices to ask in the design phase include:

  • How will the use of BIM be implemented?
  • Are there templates?
  • Have you used BIM for data loading? How was that accomplished?
  • Is your staff certified?

Responsibility for carrying out a plan falls to owners, too. But as many of you may already know, achieving buy-in alone can be a challenge.

Whaley attributes failures to pursue BIM for facility management to a few different scenarios, including a simple lack of understanding as to what the database capabilities are or a generational skepticism toward technology.

Another big reason for resistance, Whaley says, is reliance on in-house personnel who already know everything there is to know about a building. The problem on that count is at some point the old-reliable facility manager is going to retire. “You’ve got to capture that information,” Whaley says.

Then, prior to undergoing a process to better use the information that can be assigned to objects in BIM models, owners need to understand exactly what they want to get out of it, and determine what will bring value, what prioritized needs are, and how to manage expectations.

To break it down, Whaley and Baysinger offered seven steps toward implementation:

  1. Plan the plan
  2. Document management
  3. Priority analysis
  4. BIM protocol
  5. Prototype
  6. Implement the plan
  7. In-house training

It first glimpse, it may sound easy enough. But Whaley also warned that may not quite be the case.

“This is going to be disruptive and take time,” he said. “It’s going to change what you do, and it’s going to be exciting.”