Operational BIM seeks Digital Twin

Operational BIM, BIM for Facility Management, BIM in Operations are word creations trying to describe the digitization itself and the digitalization of processes in the real estate arena. Initially BIM was used to optimize the planning and construction processes, so it is no surprise that Operational BIM is often reduced to BIM for FM.

This view, however, is too narrow. There are more internal departments and external service providers in need of reliable and up-to-date information about a property:

  • Facility Management
  • Property Management
  • Asset Management und
  • Portfolio Management
  • Controlling
  • In most businesses and organizations departments work with theire own very diverse data versions of the same building. This will vary, depending on the data aand plan source they are using and how up-to-date that source is. Even within departments, there are different versions of information in circulation. An example: Under time pressure the Workplace Management team was using outdated versions of their space planning to produce a new space plan to reflect correct distancing rules under pandemic regulations, totally ignoring the changes that had taken place during the last 5 years.

    The ultimate goal for any organization must be the provision of consistent, accurate and up-to-date data: A Digital Twin.

    Here we will show how an Operational BIM concept can be designed and implemented, providing real life examples along the way.
    Uwe Falkenberg
    Operational BIM Wordcloud

    Operational BIM

    There is no widely recognized textbook definition of Operational BIM but there are clear requirements for a sytem that provides Operational BIM has to meet. This is not about yet another App, it is about precise, easily accessible and flexible data for all parts of the organization having to rely on this information.

    Flexible means more than just flexibility in creating the data model but also needs to be easily adjustable to changes during the operation - a living model or Digital Twin of the property and its assets. All parts of the organization can access the database. Any changes to the building, equippment or inventory are easily tracked and are available for all users — in real time.

    Operational BIM - The 3 Pillars

    Digitalisierung, 3D Grundriss

    Digitization of Buildings, Assets and Inventory

    System Requirements

    • Integration with existing or incoming systems: CAFM, Workplace Managemen, Maintenance Management and BMS
    • Minimal disruption during data collection
    • Rapid and highly accurate

    Streamlined Processes Through Digital Twin

    Standardized embedded workflows simplify and fast-track processes and ensure consistent results.

    • Supports and simplifies the navigation in buildings and guides directly to the asset or equipment in need of attention.
    • Easy and accurate identification of rooms or objects with RFID/QR
    maintenance crew

    All Building and Object Information Easily Updatable

    Die Daten des Digitalen Zwillings sind einfach aktualisierbar

    • Adaptations in situ with mobile devices
    • Simultaneous access for all team members, incl. via office desktop
    • Easily to understand handling by technical staff on site.

    Operational BIM vs. „Normal” BIM

    There's a significant difference between the information needed for long-term building operations, facilities management, and what is needed for design and construction. The correct use of BIM in the long-term life cycle of a property in use, rental, manufacture, etc. not only leads to material cost savings, but also significantly increases productive output.

    The difference between "normal" BIM and Operational BIM is less technical, it's more about what is stored in it and how but management and employees can access and maintain the information. Operative BIM should not be an oversized jungle of data, but a rather sufficiently detailed, precise, and always up-to-date building documentation. It should be available both in the office and on site. The addition of unique identifiers (barcodes, RFID) to inventory can significantly increase the efficiency of operations and maintenance processes.

    Operational BIM - The Solution

    There are few larger buildings for which digital (partial) solutions do not already exist. The reluctance to destroy previous investments is certainly understandable but neither is it necessary!

    We have monitored the development of PropTech solutions suitable for Operational BIM. Almost all solutions start with a crucial assumption: Accurate information about the building and its contents are available. However, very often this is not the case, the information is incomplete, outdated, and inaccurate.

    To create up-to-date and accurate data models and databases for Operational BIM, we use OrthoGraph® Enterprise. The solution is a complete package of intelligent software, a cloud server, an iPad app as front end on site and a few simple devices such as an infrared distance meter, RFID reader or even a tape measure if nothing else is at hand.

    The Deliverables

    1Survey and Inventory - Like paper and pencil ...
    Floor plans with 99% accuracy and positioned inventory. Predefined workflows ensure that nothing is forgotten, with even the last crooked corner recorded. Technical equipment and furniture are stored with information and identified with a QR code or RFID. Photos of rooms or objects are stored to assist decision-makers off site.
    - No licence required to view the information...
    Area, volume, and perimeter calculations are instantly available on site and can be sent from the ongoing survey directly to a desktop, client or colleague.
    - Instantaneously available ...
    During the survey, the 3D model is already available for other team members and the back office. This feature can also be used at any time to check the result of the survey while still on site. Several perspectives are available.
    - Program interface ...
    Create BIM models that can be exported to major desktop file formats — IFC, DXF, XLS - with just a simple click. You can email them to your desktop or even to your clients.

    Your Digital Twin

    There is no building that cannot be surveyed and inventoried in a few weeks with high accuracy and digital quality assurance.

    This technology allows the survey to be carried out during ongoing operations, e.g. even in a fully working hospital. In addition, all data can become part of daily operations. This ensures that the building's digital twin contains all building knowledge, rather than storing it in the minds of the operations team. This improves operational performance while reducing the risk of data loss due to employee turnover.

    The data belongs to you and you can manage and change it yourself, even save it on your own server.

    One of the most important aspects of this system is the openness of the data for other systems — data can be read and changed in both directions. For example, the last maintenance log can be added from the maintenance management system (CMMS) and is immediately available in the CAFM.


    Digital Twin

    “Single Source of Truth”

    All reporting and processes access identical data. The potential to improve the quality and speed of communication within the organization and with external contractors is significant, as are the savings.

    OrthoGraph® Enterprise Projects

    Numerous projects have already been delivered using OrthoGraph® Enterprise. The resulting wealth of experience is also fully available for projects in Germany.

    Survey at GrphiSoft Park, Hungary
    BIM Modell for two office floors at GraphiSoft Park - Hungary's Silicon Valley

    Short video of the process

    Result in OrthoGraph® Enterprise, feel free to look around

    More Information on OrthoGraph®

    OrthoGraph is the one-stop source of operational BIM — even for buildings that are already in use. Get in control by capturing any building with speed and accuracy using simple, rugged tools, and create accurate 3D BIM data including an RFID inventory. Stay in control with OrthoGraph’s operational BIM data integrated into the everyday facility management and maintenance management workflows. This helps the crew to navigate, finding maintenance points faster and reduces the time spent on the work by providing access to photos and relevant parametric and graphical information.

    About Us

    Logo Falkenberg Solutions

    The process of Real Estate Consultancy has to be dialogue-based, involving the client at key gateways, and beginns with the definition of the expected outcome. It requires close integration of all functions involved — Facility Management, Property Management, Asset Management and IT.

    We bring the expertise that provides the 'bridge' and break down the established silos to achieve better and faster results using our approach.

    We can take you all the way through the implementation and start-up process.

    Uwe Falkenberg


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