With the rapid development of technology, it is increasingly important to ensure that buildings are designed, built, operated and maintained in synergy. The Building Information Model (BIM) is widely known, yet its potential is not being exploited by the real estate industry. It may seem expensive at first glance, but using BIM can save significant amounts of money over the life cycle of a building.
Contrary to popular belief, BIM is not a software or a certificate. Rather, it is a methodology that allows all the actors in the building lifecycle to sit around a common digital design table and exchange information. Although three-dimensional models offer many advantages, it is the “I” in BIM, the acronym for information, that makes it possible to associate additional data – such as energy and building physics data – with each model element. With this method, a spatially organized, searchable database of your building is created, making even operational tasks easy to plan, optimize and maintain. So the question arises: why is this “wonder weapon” not yet used by everyone?
Csaba Szij, Deputy CEO of B+N Referencia Zrt. and head of the Proptech Working Group of the National Association of Facility Operators, listed several reasons. Often, the BIM model created at the design stage is very rudimentary and not suitable for extracting useful and accurate information for an FM company. It is also typical that changes that occur during implementation are no longer reflected in the model. Of course, the operator could fill in the missing data, but few customers would bear the cost. There is therefore a great need for a change of mindset. Operators should also be involved in the design process, so that considerations can be taken into account at this stage to achieve significant cost savings and efficiency gains during the life of the building.
Although the implementation of the BIM model is not cheap, it has a lot of potential to reduce costs already in the medium term. Over the lifetime of a building, the investment cost is only 15% of the total budget, while the remaining 85% is incurred during the life of the building. Research shows that around 30% of construction materials are wasted on construction sites, and workers spend 40-45% of their time moving materials around. By exploiting the potential of BIM, these unnecessary costs can be reduced already at the construction stage.
But the really expensive part is the use and operation of the building. Energy is one of the biggest items, accounting for almost 46% of the 85% of total costs. This could be reduced by a conservative estimate of 7-8%, a very significant amount, by a well-prepared management company using an up-to-date and detailed BIM. This is just one example, because there is a lot of potential for efficiency gains and cost reductions in facility management using BIM that is currently untapped in conventional operations.