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Automated building information modeling for fault detection and diagnostics in commercial HVAC systems

Alireza Golabchi (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Manu Akula (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Vineet Kamat (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

Facilities

ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 7 March 2016

1423

Abstract

Purpose

Organizations involved in facility management (FM) can use building information modeling (BIM) as a knowledge repository to document evolving facility information and to support decisions made by the facility managers during the operational life of a facility. Despite ongoing advances in FM technologies, FM practices in most facilities are still labor intensive, time consuming and often rely on unreliable and outdated information. To address these shortcomings, the purpose of this study is to propose an automated approach that demonstrates the potential of using BIM to develop algorithms that automate decision-making for FM applications.

Design/methodology/approach

A BIM plug-in tool is developed that uses a fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) algorithm to automate the process of detecting malfunctioning heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The algorithm connects to a complaint ticket database and automates BIM to determine potentially damaged HVAC system components and develops a plan of action for the facility inspectors accordingly. The approach has been implemented as a case study in an operating facility to improve the process of HVAC system diagnosis and repair.

Findings

By implementing the proposed application in a case study, the authors found that automated BIM approaches such as the one developed in this study, can be highly beneficial in FM practices by increasing productivity and lowering costs associated with decision-making.

Originality/value

This study introduces an innovative approach that leverages BIM for automated fault detection in operational buildings. FM personnel in charge of HVAC inspection and repair can highly benefit from the proposed approach, as it eliminates the time required to locate HVAC equipment at fault manually.

Keywords

Citation

Golabchi, A., Akula, M. and Kamat, V. (2016), "Automated building information modeling for fault detection and diagnostics in commercial HVAC systems", Facilities, Vol. 34 No. 3/4, pp. 233-246. https://doi.org/10.1108/F-06-2014-0050

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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