BIM in the Operation Phase: Benefits, Challenges, and Perspectives

BIM offers significant advantages during the operational phase of buildings, which corresponds to the period after the delivery and commissioning of a building or construction project. This is the phase when the building is accessible to the public or end-users and is managed for its intended use.

To fully harness the benefits of BIM during this phase, it is essential to simplify access to data and construction models. But what are these advantages we are talking about?

In this article, we will explore the benefits, challenges and perspectives of BIM at this important stage in the building’s life cycle.

BIM: An Essential Tool Throughout the Building’s Life Cycle

The increasing use of BIM in the construction industry has demonstrated its benefits not only during the design of a building but also throughout its lifespan. Although some companies face challenges in fully leveraging BIM for effective and continuous maintenance, it is an indispensable tool for ensuring the reliable transmission of information over the years.

Through careful implementation and advance planning, the use of BIM software from design to maintenance ensures the success of even the most ambitious construction projects, such as the University Hospital of Strasbourg.

Indeed, this hospital integrated BIM digital model data into its facility management system. Enabling better maintenance planning and more efficient energy management.

In an era where the number of stakeholders continues to increase. And construction projects reach unprecedented scales while adhering to strict constraints, this tool is essential for effective collaboration. By providing a common repository, BIM enables different stakeholders to work together rather than separately, using a common language.

BIM Primarily Used in the Design Phase

The majority of Building Information Modeling’s use occurs in the design phase. The digital model used at this critical stage allows for a complete visualization of the project and early detection of defects or gaps.

Seamless connectivity between the BIM tool and solutions used by stakeholders, such as architectural and engineering software, promotes real-time exchanges on the building’s structure and automates modeling.

This method also offers powerful simulation capabilities, facilitating regulatory compliance verification, communication of essential information, and defect and error identification. According to a survey conducted by Dodge Data and Analytics, 61% of respondents reported that BIM processes reduced errors in their construction projects.

Transitioning to the Operation Phase: An Underutilized Potential

Contrary to the design phase, the use of BIM in the operation phase is less widespread. However, the loss of data throughout the project, partially related to the multitude of stakeholders involved on-site, is a real problem that should not be overlooked. At BIM&CO, we believe that Building Information Modeling can address this issue.

Indeed, BIM has all the necessary attributes to ensure quality maintenance. Thanks to the 3D model, specific data about the completed building can be used to track occupancy, wear and tear, energy consumption, and environmental impact.

This information is valuable for equipment maintenance and management. Moreover, this methodology facilitates regulatory compliance and promotes information exchange among various stakeholders involved in the building’s operation phase.

Advantages of BIM in the Operation Phase

Let’s delve into the key advantages of BIM in the operation phase:

Occupancy and Wear Monitoring

With BIM, it is possible to track the evolution of space occupancy in a building as well as equipment and infrastructure wear. This allows for efficient maintenance and repairs planning, optimizing resource usage.

Energy Consumption Management

BIM also enables monitoring a building’s energy consumption and identifying opportunities for energy efficiency improvements. By analyzing collected data, managers can take measures to reduce energy costs and minimize environmental impact.

Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with safety and regulatory requirements is crucial during the operation phase. BIM simplifies verification of the building’s compliance with standards and regulations by providing easy access to data and technical specifications.

Predictive Maintenance

BIM also allows for data collection on equipment performance and condition. By analyzing this data, it is possible to implement predictive maintenance, anticipating potential failures and planning maintenance interventions proactively. This will avoid costly breakdowns and optimizing equipment lifespan.

Intervention Optimization

Furthermore, thanks to the digital model and detailed equipment information, BIM makes it easier to locate elements and technical rooms. This allows maintenance teams to intervene more efficiently, reducing the time needed to identify issues and minimizing disruptions in building operations.

Documentation Management

The use of Building Information Modeling in the operation phase provides a centralized repository for all building-related information. Such as technical documents, maintenance reports, and operating procedures. This facilitates access to critical information and ensures consistent and transparent documentation management.

Enhanced Collaboration

Finally, BIM in the operation phase fosters collaboration among different stakeholders involved in building management and maintenance. Teams can access data and information in real time, facilitating communication and decision-making. According to a report by Dodge Data and Analytics, 55% of construction professionals surveyed stated that BIM processes reduced communication time. By using BIM, issues can be resolved more quickly, and interventions can be coordinated more efficiently.

Challenges and Limitations of BIM in the Operation Phase

Despite the undeniable advantages of BIM in the operation phase, it is essential to consider potential challenges that may arise.

Team Training

User training is indeed a critical challenge. BIM requires specific technical skills to manipulate models and data. Maintenance teams must be trained in the use of BIM software, which may require investments in time and resources.

Adequate training is essential to avoid delays and costly errors during the operational phase. Software interoperability remains a persistent challenge. Construction projects often involve the use of different BIM software by different stakeholders.

Ensuring smooth communication and compatibility between these systems can be complex. Defining standards and protocols is therefore also necessary to ensure that the BIM models created in one software package can be used effectively by others involved in the project.

Future Trends in BIM for the Operation Phase

Future trends in BIM use during the operation phase are promising and are poised to revolutionize the construction industry.

AI Technologies

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are transforming BIM. These advances will enable BIM models to more accurately analyze and predict building performance, detect anomalies, and optimize maintenance processes.

The integration of AI into BIM will provide building managers with more powerful tools for informed decision-making, improved operational efficiency, and extended infrastructure lifespan.

IoT Objects and Sensors

The increasing connectivity of IoT objects and sensors with BIM will enable real-time monitoring of building conditions and performance. This advancement will facilitate proactive asset management, early issue detection, and continuous operations optimization.

Recommendations for Maximizing BIM Benefits in the Operation Phase

To fully leverage the benefits of BIM in the operation phase, it is essential to establish robust data management procedures. Centralizing all BIM data in a dedicated platform, such as BIM&CO‘s Onfly, simplifies access to essential information and promotes collaboration among teams.

Simultaneously, adequate training of maintenance teams is crucial. Ensuring that team members have the necessary skills to effectively use BIM models and associated tools ensures smooth data and maintenance process management. Investing in ongoing training programs is a wise step to maximize BIM benefits.

In conclusion, BIM in the operation phase offers numerous advantages for building management and maintenance, but it also presents challenges. Implementing data management procedures, using tools like Onfly, and providing proper team training are essential steps to optimize these advantages, improve operational efficiency, and ensure the quality of construction projects.

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