Get the Most Out of BIM
THE WAYS IN WHICH YOU MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR
BUILDING ARE CHANGING
facilities management group at IMAGINi T
Technologies, says that CAD data is now
being converted into BIM and combined
with database systems in the facilities world.
“They need a little translation to talk to one
another,” he explains.
“I call BIM the holy grail for facilities man-
BIM and Energy
agement,” he adds. “Most people in facilities
are trying to figure out what they have and
where it is. BIM not only offers the ability
to know what you have and where it is but
Although adopting a BIM model might
present a significant change, it’s beneficial
for better access to your building’s data.
BIM can be particularly useful with things
like energy reduction. It can take into
account your building’s location, the weather
conditions, usage, etc. Based on those factors, analysis can be run to see what sort of
energy will be required to keep the building
“Because it’s a virtual model, it’s easy to
swap things out,” says Joe Eichenseer, direc-
tor of building solutions technical team for
IMAGINi T Technologies. “What happens if I
add solar panels to the roof? What happens
if I change insulation materials? We can start
getting comparative analysis to see what’s
As an example, Eichenseer recalls a client
years ago who had recently repaired the roof
of its building’s gymnasium, which was leak-
ing. After the repair was done, it saw energy
costs had increased.
“They ended up taking a lot of time to try
and figure out why,” Eichenseer says. “And
what it came down to is they were spending
a lot more energy and money cooling the
building once all of the holes were capped.
Previously, all of that extra heat was escap-
ing through the roof. Once it was repaired, it
If that client had access to BIM, it could
have analyzed and extracted data to create
projections for preventative maintenance.
Maybe there would have been a different
way to remove that heat, one that accounted
for the lack of natural airflow caused by the
“The idea of BIM is we can analyze these
before-and-after conditions at varying
degrees of accuracy,” Eichenseer explains.
Take those projects and then compare
them to historical data and information from
sensors to see how well reality matches your
projections. “Then adjust accordingly, so that
you are getting all these benefits that you’re
looking for and not just continuing to do the
same thing,” Eichenseer says.
3 Tips to Get the Most
Out of BIM
1. Utilize your IT professionals.
As BIM becomes more widely used in the
industry, Costanzo says that involving and
having discussions with the IT department
becomes more important. Often, they can
help you decide which data needs to be
implemented into the system. Be sure to
include them if you decide to use BIM, as
they often can help convert data from other
2. Don’t keep data that you’re not going
to regularly update.
Costanzo says that’s a simple rule for
building any database, and reiterates that
IT professionals can help you decide which
data to include. If your BIM data isn’t up to
date, the model becomes less useful.
3. Use a BIM standard.
Each BIM needs a standard because
the models have varying levels of detail.
Costanzo recommends starting out with
COBie, which is supported by the major
facilities management software applications.
This can also assist in identifying data and
information you want BIM to hold.
Using BIM successfully can be difficult, so
it’s important to understand how it works
and know what data is most useful. A survey
from IMAGINi T Technologies even showed an
increase in 2017 for facilities managers’ use
of BIM. Although challenges remain, it’s likely
a tool worth considering.
Sarah Kloepple (sarah.kloepple@buildings.
com) is a staff writer for BUILDINGS.
As technology transforms the ways in which buildings are constructed and operated, so too are the ways in
which you make decisions on things like performance and design.
When deciding on the best course of
action for managing your building projects,
one tool becoming more prevalent in the
industry is building information modeling
What is BIM?
It refers to a 3D digital model of a building
that gives facilities and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals
the information and tools to more efficiently
design, construct and manage the physical
It’s a step up from such software as
AutoCAD, which is a computer drafting and
design application often used by the AEC