As projects are becoming more complex and project management more onerous, there has been an increased demand for more sophisticated and holistic project management solutions. Infrastructure Lifecycle Management (ILM) has emerged as one of these solutions. Such tools are not without their own challenges, and their success is reliant on disciplined collation and organisation of multiple levels of information. A building information model (BIM) serves as a mechanism to gather and order multidisciplinary data during the course of project life. Integrating the rich, and well structured, data content of a BIM with the powerful processes of ILM promises to go some way in addressing these challenges.
Over the years, the discipline of construction project management has evolved from AEC-centric applications to broader use across the capital projects industry. This evolution led to the introduction of Infrastructure Lifecycle Management (ILM) software solutions. ILM is an expanded successor to Project Management because it is designed for those companies that manage the plan, build and operate lifecycle for both new and existing buildings and facilities.
CONNECTING ILM AND BIM ALONG THE PLAN, BUILD AND OPERATE LIFECYCLE
Diving deeper into the plan-build-operate project lifecycle, one can see many synergistic opportunities for ILM technology and BIM models to come together. For example, during the plan phase the building owner determines the financial feasibility of a project and hires architects and engineers to design the project. During the build phase, a general contractor is selected to construct the facility, while the owner and design teams provide oversight. And finally, during the operate phase, the owner takes over the newly completed facility and manages this new asset through preventative, predictive, and corrective maintenance. Currently, BIM is most prevalent in the plan phase as architects and engineers can digitally design BIM models that create huge efficiencies in the iterative design process. But once rich BIM models have been designed, downstream value is created for both the contractor and owner through cost reductions, and by providing a more accurate model of the final finished building.
Similarly, an organisation goes through various business processes during the same three phases. Companies must make go/no-go decisions on a pipeline of projects, and they must iteratively develop a budget and funding strategy sufficient to execute on each project. The business process continues during the build phase where managing costs, schedules, scopes, and quality become paramount. Once construction is complete, the business process of managing all the assets within a building, and the maintenance of those assets, is key to maintaining a high-performing facility. With BIM providing a complete lifecycle perspective of design data for a building, and ILM providing a complete lifecycle of operational business data for a building, the two used in conjunction together create many integration touch points that lead to even greater business value. The following addresses the key processes and benefits of BIM- ILM integration
INTEGRATING THE BIM
Building Information Models are key components that are present throughout the entire project lifecycle. For any program or project, Building Information Modeling (BIM) provides a complete lifecycle perspective of design and spatial data, while Infrastructure Lifecycle Management (ILM) provides a complete lifecycle of operational business data. Integrating BIM and ILM across multiple touch points creates business value by reducing costs and schedules in the planning, building, and operating of capital projects and facilities.
And today’s integrated team environment requires a solution that can overcome the challenges imposed by software interoperability. Converting files, waiting for downloads and spending countless hours with technical support. Added complications brought by geographically dispersed teams, different software applications and increased network security creates a further impediment to the one commodity needed, which is access to timely and accurate information. As risks for profits rise, the need becomes ever greater to do more with less.
By integrating BIM with construction project management and ILM solutions, project stakeholders can gain new efficiencies across the entire project lifecycle.
INTEGRATION TOUCH POINTS BETWEEN BIM AND ILM
There are at least seven key integration points between BIM and ILM applications. The diagram below illustrates different types of BIM models that are appropriate to integrate with different operational business processes. These seven integrations naturally occur during all three phases of the plan, build and operate lifecycle. The value of integrating to each touch point will vary depending on a company’s specific role. For example, an owner or program manager may be primarily interested in the touch points involving budget development, 4D schedule integration, and asset management integration. A general contractor may be interested in procurement integration, 2D drawing integration, fabrication integration and Request for Information (RFI) integration. As the market continues to adopt both BIM and ILM methodologies, the value propositions will begin to shake out as more companies experiment with each touch point opportunity.
BIM-ILM FUNCTIONALITY AND BENEFITS
Such integration enables the model review team to automatically task action items such as RFIs and submittals to the project management team for response. The transparency between BIM objects and the project management system makes it the only base technology where model analysis such as clash detection, estimates, submittals and RFIs can all occur within the same live model. Finally, this coordination process provides project managers and executives one-click access to BIM without specialised software or training.
Certain solutions operate via a Web-based BIM platform that links intelligent 3D object data to project and program management systems. Data from the BIM program is pushed to the collaborative platform, which takes the data attribute information to link objects in the model with line items in the project management software.
The functionality of such web-based BIM management platforms include:
- Platform for live BIM streaming and object data exchange (geometry + attributes)
- Integration between BIM authoring tools and PPM (Project and Portfolio Management) systems
- Workflow support from design through construction and operations.
- Easy accessibility for all stakeholders
- Centralised project, model and user management
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