Plastering solutions manufacturer British Gypsum recently held a roundtable event that invited premier names in facilities management to have their say on their involvement in Building Information Modelling projects.
Thoughts from British Gypsum’s Paul French and insight from the group discussion were transcribed on Facilities Management Journal, and the key consensus from those involved in the debate was that facilities managers need to be involved at Stage 1 rather than the common likelihood of starting at Stage 4.
“It is important for FMs to be involved from the beginning of the planning process for any building programme. This will ensure they gain a thorough understanding of the final outcome and have the right knowledge to successfully manage the property once built.
“Bringing FMs in at an earlier stage in the process and giving them the opportunity to provide input will highlight many problems before they arise and also eliminate the need to update the model to more accurately reflect built reality. For instance, a client may often have high expectations of what they want from a building, but be aware of what is feasible within the constraints of the project.”
Facilities Managers collaborating at an earlier stage could also lead to an improved line of communication. Whilst it may be a challenge to communicate with a vast number of project partners at one specific stage, conversations happening earlier could lead to less mistakes being made later.
The FMJ article continues: “While it serves to encourage collaboration, BIM is also beginning to highlight a significant struggle that we are facing within the supply chain; a lack of communication. Without it, we risk failing to share data accurately to ensure the integrity of the model remains intact.
“The need for communication is heightened further by the fact that it is rare for FMs to be in post any more than three months before project completion, which is usually around stage four when all of the prices are confirmed and a plan is in place. This can lead to clashes and challenges, which could be easily eliminated if FMs are involved earlier.”
It is not just down to project teams to incorporate the FM world at an earlier stage, facilities managers have also have specific responsibilities they must get right. The article notes:
“Like all other parties involved, FMs must be communicating the specific information they require at the start of the process. In addition, FMs should ensure that the model allows for sufficient space for maintenance tasks – for example sufficient space in a ceiling void to service HVAC equipment. The way in which the data is measured and communicated must be useful and relevant to those in charge of managing and maintaining the building.”
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