BIM for Built Asset Management

Peter E.D. Love (Department of Civil Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Jane Matthews (Department of Construction Management, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Steve Lockley (Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Article publication date: 6 July 2015



Love, P.E.D., Matthews, J. and Lockley, S. (2015), "BIM for Built Asset Management", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 5 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

BIM for Built Asset Management

Article Type: Guest editorial From: Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Volume 5, Issue 3.

The benefits that can be acquired by implementing Building Information Modelling (BIM) during design and construction process have tended to be the impetus for its adoption rather than those that can be acquired during an asset’s operation and maintenance. With this in mind, this Special Issue of “Built Environment Project and Asset Management” aimed to explore the developments and application of BIM during the operation and maintenance of a constructed asset. Despite the widespread benefits of BIM, there have been a limited number of applications where it has been used for purpose of managing and maintaining assets by owners. A major reason for the lack of implementation of BIM by asset owners can be attributed to the financial investment that is required and the risks associated with ensuring existing facility and building management systems are interoperable with the BIM. For the project team charged with delivering a BIM by an asset owner, the lack of standardized tools and processes as well as determining the specific data that is required for operations and maintenance and the workflow to deliver a digital model remains a challenge. Needless to say, the papers presented in this Special Issue have provided the underlying platform to explore how BIM can be used for effective and efficient asset management.

In the opening paper of this Special Issue Motawa and Almarshad suggest that the next generation of BIM will focus on embedding knowledge within models. As a result Motawa and Almarshad develop an integrated system to capture, retrieve and manage information/knowledge for Building Maintenance (BM). The proposed system consists of: a BIM module to capture relevant information and a Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) module to capture the operational knowledge of maintenance activities. The paper discusses the development of the CBR module and its integration with the BIM module. The case retaining function of the developed system identifies the information/knowledge relevant to maintenance cases and pursues the related affected building elements by these cases. The proposed research is still in its infancy, but the idea proposed by Motawa and Almarshad is novel, as it attempts to incorporate intelligent functions of knowledge systems into BIM-based systems.

Whyte and Donaldson’s paper extends knowledge of 3D model distribution for roads/earthworks/drainage, and presents empirical evidence demonstrating the tangible benefits that can be obtained from digital models as a means to communicate civil-engineering design. The results of Whyte and Donaldson’s empirical study identified that a digital BIM model can provide an 8 percent time/efficiency improvement at the design phase, and an overall cost saving of 0.7 percent. They also observed that there was fragmented opinion regarding BIM utilization across supply chains, with concerns over liability, quality management and, the lack of Australian-Standard contract clause(s) dealing directly with digital-model document hierarchy/clarification/reuse. Whyte and Donaldson’s research suggests that there is a need for BIM checking procedures to be enabled. Similarly, training in specific file-formatting (digital-model-addenda) techniques is also required.

Continuing with the theme of assessing the benefits of BIM, Kassem et al. examine the value of BIM and the challenges affecting its adoption in facility management (FM) applications. Kassem et al. draw experiences and challenges acquired from the Northumbria University’s city campus when implementing BIM for FM. Kassem et al. demonstrate that the value of BIM FM stems from improvement in current manual processes of information handover; the accuracy of FM data, accessibility of FM data and efficiency increase in work order execution. The main challenges identified in their study was the lack of methodologies that demonstrate the tangible benefits of BIM in FM, the limited knowledge of implementation requirement, the interoperability between BIM and FM technologies, the presence of disparate operational systems managing the same building and finally, the shortage of BIM skills in the FM industry. The originality of this paper stems from both adding a real life case study of BIM in FM in existing estate and providing empirical evidence of both the value and challenges of BIM in FM applications.

According to Love et al., asset management involves the balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets, to achieve an owner’s objectives. It also enables asset owners to examine the need for and performance of their assets and their respective systems at varying levels. Thus, having appropriate and reliable information about an asset (e.g. product data, warranties and preventative maintenance schedule) is pivotal for enabling asset management to support decision making, planning and execution of activities and tasks of assets, particularly during operations and maintenance. A BIM provides a structured framework for the assembly creation, and exchange of information about assets and therefore provides the underlying foundation to support effective asset management. To enable this process, a BIM needs to provide information covering the whole life cycle of an asset. Love et al. present how a Systems Information Model, which is akin to BIM, can be used for the asset management of electrical instrumentation and control systems, particularly in the context of resource and energy projects. The role of a SIM in each phase of a project’s life is described particularly how it can be used to ensure that assets are operated and maintained effectively.

Alwan and Gledson present a conceptual framework for an integrated asset management strategy that utilizes facility environmental assessment methods and tools and proposes areas of commonality between an as-built BIM that is used for Asset Information Model (AIM). This framework considers emerging requirements for the capture of Building Performance Attribute Data, and describes how these can be managed to assist with effective post-construction building performance evaluation. Alwan and Gledson’s approach to AIM considers the use of existing Building Management Systems and Computer-Aided Facility Management Systems and identifies issues associated with implementing a sustainability strategy.

Olatunji and Akanmu’s paper addresses one of the most misunderstood and neglected areas associated with BIM: its legal implications. The paper presents a new dimension to examining the consequences of trust and reciprocity in an integrated BIM platform. The paper draws its strength from two recent court cases that focussed on the limitations of disclaimers against liable breaches. It also targets court decisions on consequential loss and the duty of care to explain project team’s liabilities when BIM could not live up to its theorized promises. Olatunji Akanmu demonstrates that disclaimers are a weak protection against liabilities. As BIM offers a dynamic project environment, the paper focusses on decided cases to demonstrate that duty of care to a project (and its owners) is not entirely representable by prototype contract language.

Akin to Motawa and Almarshad, the paper by Lindkvist examines the potential benefits of BIM during maintenance. In accordance with the Guest Editors experiences, as noted above, Lindkvist affirms that there is limited understanding about the use and associated learning processes for BIM during maintenance. To obtain an ameliorated understanding of the use of BIM for asset management, Lindkvist uses a case study to examine how its use in this domain can influence the current practice. Lindkvist fundamentally revealed that there is a necessary balance between exploration and exploitation learning needed by asset owners in order to shape BIM for maintenance.

In the final paper, Bosch et al. state that asset owners and their operators are yet to discover the added value of BIM for maintenance and information management. Bosch et al.’s research provides empirical insights into the sources of inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the activities of Dutch semi-public and public clients. Surprisingly, their research reveals that the current added value of BIM in the operations stage is marginal. The main reasons for this are a lack of alignment between the supply and demand of information and its context-dependent role. With this in mind, it is proposed that a structured approach that support asset owners in establishing greater alignment between the supply and demand for information and a less context-dependent role for information during the operations stage is needed.

Very limited applications of BIM for asset management currently exist in practice. The papers contained within this Special Issue provide readers with the essential information to explore and make further contributions to knowledge in this fertile and emerging area. The Guest Editors are extremely thankful for the support and encouragement provided by the Editor, Professor Mohan Kumaraswamy and the staff at Emerald. In addition, we would like to thank the reviewers for providing feedback on papers submitted for consideration in this Special Issue. The Guest Editors believe that this Special Issue provides the “seed” for BIM and asset management and we look forward to seeing this fertile area of research growing in the near future.

Professor Peter E.D. Love, Department of Civil Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Jane Matthews, Department of Construction Management, Curtin University, Perth, Australia, and

Professor Steve Lockley, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK

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