100 Asset Parameters for Each Family?

I spend a lot of time thinking about BIM and it’s potential impact upon Facility & Asset Management. I’ve heard it touted as the “Holy Grail”, but somehow the people doing the touting seem pretty far from actual building operations.

The other day I got a bunch of spreadsheets from a client. They had been sold this list as the “Key to Linking BIM to Their Ongoing Building Operations”. These spreadsheets were the list of parameters to be included in the Revit families for 19 categories of building services equipment. The shortest list was 76 parameters, the longest was 123.

Because I work for an integrated developer, I went to my friend who oversees the operations of our facilities and showed him the list.

He laughed and said “100% worthless”. Even though he shares the dream of BIM/FM integration, his points were:

  1. Who is going to actually attach this information in the mad dash to the finish line on a job?
  2. Who is going to audit the information to make sure its correct?
  3. There is nothing in this list that actually links the model to the Building Management System so how does it help me at all?
  4. The field workers doing the servicing aren’t interested enough to navigate around a model.
  5. Even if they found the right object in the model, the parameters listed wouldn’t be helpful.

After he stopped giggling, we chatted about a holistic view of how to make “Smarter” buildings. This is the goal embraced by a much broader swath of the buildings industry. This goal talks about how do we deliver and manage buildings that perform more efficiently and sustainably….And it’s a much bigger challenge than just relentlessly adding family parameters.  Solving this challenge requires BIM professionals to take a much deeper interest in how buildings are completed, commissioned, handed-over, and operated.  Its the ugliest, most neglected part of the process and I haven’t found anyone who is lining up to do this work.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the value of a well built model, and its fundamental utility as a servicing reference and for future building alterations. I’m just scared that the amount of mis-information about BIM’s role post occupancy will eventually be seen as a fraud and discredit our efforts in the design and delivery parts of the value chain.

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