BIM and FM in existing buildings

Having been around for well over 2 decades, the popularity of laser scanning as a technology and method of accurately capturing metric data is still growing amongst AEC professionals, an acceptance that is on par with the appreciation for the benefits that the point cloud datasets bring to drafting and modelling tasks.

Murphy Surveys commissions the latest digital tools to truthfully capture comprehensive 3D point cloud data, recording the built environment with extraordinary detail and accuracy, regardless of the nature or use of the building. The point clouds and high resolution, high dynamic ranging imagery datasets support drafting and modelling tasks, an office based process that enables the development of dependable and authentic digital copies of reality.

Ultimately, these intelligent, parametric models make up the optimum way in which to share project and asset information, replacing the traditional 2D computer aided design drawings.

Furthermore, the BIM output can be tailored to suit owners and operators: populating BIM objects with asset information while linking these objects with Facilities Management software, enables the use of the model during the operation of the facility, while benefiting from inclusive 3D spatial representations of the assets.

In practice, surveying and modelling as built structures and assets can pose challenges: a common obstacle is the lack of comprehensive asset registries. During as-built surveys the asset must be identified and coordinated with the survey dataset; a possible strategy is to label existing assets with unique ID’s or use RFID’s to identify each relevant object, consequently rendering them traceable within the survey dataset.

For FM applications the geometric detail of the modelled component is often less relevant than attribute data: deciding for a bespoke LOD (level of detail) while determining the information requirements is a way of fast-tracking the production of models. Notwithstanding, regardless of the adopted 3D representation that is chosen, the modelled objects can include subcomponents, thus enabling complete scheduling and accounting of the assets.

Predefined attributes assigned to parts or components in a BIM package can be extended to suit particular requirements: part numbers, model or product codes, for instance, can be included in shared parameters that expand the predefined inventory. Similarly, elements such as installation date or warranty expiry date, pertinent for operation and management, can be added to the BIM.

The movement of data between BIM and FM software is increasingly simplified by the use of the COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) data format: this non-proprietary format establishes a standard for the publication and delivery of asset data and is well supported by the more relevant BIM and FM packages. Creating scripts to automate the flow of data between different tools is a popular method of systematically updating and maintaining models and asset registries without the need for manual data entry.

Adopting BIM is a way to centralize digital information, eliminating redundancy and thus providing more and better data for FM tasks: ensuring models available online will, for instance, bring huge benefits to maintenance tasks: the service engineer can seemingly locate the components in need of maintenance and check the work order once the item is identified. As soon as the servicing is complete, the same technician is able to populate the relevant object parameters, thus automating the process of updating the central model and FM database.

The smart and efficient use of technology brings enhanced value to all project stockholders, transporting existing realities onto rich visual software packages that allow for better project outcomes. Facility management and operation activities are modernized when synchronized with the three-dimensional graphical output of the as-built surveys, an innovative solution that undoubtedly delivers cost and time savings.

Operating from 11 offices throughout Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe Murphy Surveys work with public and private sector clients from a vast range of industries across the globe. In 35 years, we have grown to employ more than 200 staff. Key factors in our success include stringent quality control, efficient turnaround times, and effectiveness to provide superior customer service always. Our continual investment in the latest surveying equipment and technology allows us to provide the most efficient solutions that cut costs and risks for our clients. As a result, we are widely recognised as one of the most experienced, professional, innovative and technically proficient surveying companies in the industry.

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