For a workplace to ‘work’, it
needs to be right for your employees, customers, budget and the environment.
This is a big undertaking and it’s hard to juggle your obligation to both the
people that use it and the wider environment.
However, Building Information
Modelling (BIM) looks set to change this by uniting every aspect of a building
in one digital design.
What is BIM?
BIM is a tool that enables
everyone involved in design and maintenance to fully understand a building
through a digital model. The idea is that you build it twice: first digitally,
and then physically. As a result, each part of the building can be optimised more
effectively in the planning stages to result in a greater whole life value for
A BIM model is more than an
architectural design – every component of the building is captured in one place
and incorporates detailed information and specifications for each asset, such
as price from supplier and thermal performance. Details like this allow the
sustainability of a building’s design to be accurately managed and forecasted.
The Benefits of BIM for
Sustainable Design and Maintenance
Last year, the US Green Building Council found that 49% of BIM
users who work on environmentally certified projects used it on the majority of
their projects, compared to 28% of ‘non-green’ users. What’s more, 78% of
respondents who were not using BIM on green projects planned to in the next
three years. As you can see, it’s quickly becoming the technology of choice for
those looking to design sustainable buildings.
One of the reasons for this is
that BIM allows the client to budget costs for the major elements of the
building, and set environmental targets that the design team must stick to from
an early stage. These can include embodied carbon, waste management and
lifecycle running costs.
When it comes to selecting
materials, this allows the design team to quickly compare the costs and
environmental impact of multiple materials.
At the same time as allowing
sustainable design, BIM helps to cut costs by enabling better decision-making
and more efficient processes. BIM can eliminate time wasted having to rework
designs to fit environmental or budget constraints, as well as fixes that would
be costly to make once the project is underway. It also prevents projects from
having to be redesigned at the last minute because they do not achieved the
desired BREEAM rating.
BIM is essential for achieving
Government’s Construction 2025: Industrial Strategy for Construction targets, where the
government in partnership with the construction industry plan to achieve a 50%
reduction in carbon emissions and 33% reduction in costs by 2025.
When it comes to maintaining a
building, there are a range of factors to be considered. Is it cost-effective?
Is it sustainable? Does the building provide a good experience for those using
A facilities manager needs to
identify all the building’s assets that require regular maintenance and plan a
cost-effective regime to suit the building. With BIM, the data is already
within the 3D model of the building, which can be logged in a computer-aided
facilities management (CAFM) system to better plan maintenance, and more
effectively select the most long-lasting replacement.
This case study of Northumbria
University campusdemonstrates the extent to which BIM can enhance the maintenance of a building.
From lowering response times for maintenance requests to allowing facilities
managers to make more strategic decisions, when it comes to the lifecycle of
equipment, BIM has huge benefits.
This not only enables buildings
to be managed more efficiently, but also with more of an emphasis on
According to the Government implementation
body, the BIM Task Group, "the largest prize for BIM lies in the operational
stages of the project life-cycle”. While BIM is useful for the maintenance of
any building, it comes into to its own for the management of complex buildings.
From design to maintenance, BIM
can create and maintain facilities that have lower carbon emissions, are more
efficient, and cost less to run. To find out more about the benefits of
sustainable business, read our eBook, The
‘Convenient’ Truth about Sustainable Business: Why it Pays to Be Green.
To find out how we can help to manage your facility more efficiently,
visit our facilities management page.