May 14, 2012
Integrate Data from Multiple BIM Models
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
Integrate Data from Multiple BIM Models
By Susan Smith

FM:Systems, a provider of integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) and CAFM software, announced enhancements in its BIM Integration Component with the latest release of FM:Interact.  The product is designed to help facility managers capture information from Autodesk Revit for better maintenance and operations. FM:Systems is an Autodesk Design and Construction Industry Partner.

These enhancements allow AEC firms to be able to do a better job of sharing BIM data with their owner/clients by allows them to integrate data from multiple BIM models. Since so many different firms work together on any construction job, each firm may bring its own model to the project, causing confusion when the different firms need to access each other’s models. FM:Interact links all the information from the different models into one building record that ensures critical building data isn’t lost.

“FM:Interact lets the entire project team and the owner accessed detailed information about building assets with an easy-to-use Web site.”

Marty Chobot, vice president, BIM Initiatives, FM:Systems said, “We are trying to solve the problem of how information gets handed over to the building owner. Towards the end of the project, the AEC people gather information and get it to the owner, and the owner takes occupancy and maybe gets handover information if they’re lucky three months after occupancy. It takes them a year or more to go through that information they need to maintain and operate the building properly. What we’re doing is helping AEC firms and the owners collaborate around that info even before the owner takes occupancy of the building. The big benefit to the building owner and facility manager is they can start planning maintenance before they get the keys to the building.”

One of the big challenges Chobot noted, is preventive maintenance -- making sure you keep up with all the manufacturers’ required maintenance to make sure you don’t void the warranty, and also to maximize the use of the life of the equipment.

“We have computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and one of the big challenges is getting all the asset data in there,” said Chobot. “People tell me it takes years to fully populate a maintenance management system. They backfill the rest whenever they can.”

That can be avoided by leveraging information that is probably already in the model, Chobot said. It is not just a software problem, but more of a workflow issue. The owner has to inform the AEC team to let them know what his information requirements are.

Ideally this is done as soon as possible in the project lifecycle pre-contract. There is a movement in the industry to define BIM deliverable guidelines.

According to the press release, for space managers, FM:Interact’s BIM integration now supports both Autodesk Revit room and area elements.  Support for Revit rooms lets facility managers track building information such as flooring types and architectural finishes while Revit areas help space managers keep accurate, detailed records of space and occupancy.

For maintenance professionals, the new mapping templates in FM:Interact help streamline asset integration.  Templates define the BIM deliverable requirements for the various design and construction industry firms involved in a project, ensuring the operations team gets a model built specific to their needs. In addition, mapping templates can be used across multiple projects and buildings, providing facility professionals with consistent, reliable BIM data.

The two big users of this product will be the Revit user and the maintenance manager or space planner.  There is an add-in sold for inside Revit that allows Revit users to manage space and assets and links the BIM data parameters to the data in the FM:Systems system. There is all the information available for the skilled Revit user to run the building or to populate the model. On the  owner side or on project team, everybody has access to the website which is very easy to use.

“We’re exposing the model out to the cloud, because it is a cloud-based system,” explained Chobot. “All that data is available to anyone who has permission to access it. BIM technicians can just get the model and pull any edits or updates back down from Revit into the model so it opens a lot of opportunities for AEC firms and their clients to work together in different ways because the owner can participate in the management of data as early in the project as the AEC team thinks it makes sense.”

There is an economic cost associated with the loss of data as the project evolves so in design information generated some is lost when handed over to estimating. Estimating generates information which gets lost when it’s handed over to construction. “We’re trying to avoid peaks and valleys of information and avoid data loss, which ultimately leads to re-entry of data, so the sooner they get the data into the BIM model the better off they are.”

A clear definition of data requirements helps organizations be successful.  This is an opportunity for AEC firms to offer a new service offering to help their clients find their BIM deliverable guidelines as soon as possible in process. “The sooner you start modeling for FM and linking BIM and FM, the more value you’re going to get out of it,” concludes Chobot.

Top News of the Week

Got an iPad? You may not know it yet, but that means you have a portable object duplicator in your hands. The key to unlocking its abilities is an app that lets you capture and create 3D renderings of objects in the real world. Once you’ve captured the object, it’s super-simple to send the rendering to a 3D-printing service and have it made.

From Autodesk, the free app is called 123D Catch and is part of the company’s suite of 3D graphics software. Autodesk previewed it before, but as of Wednesday morning it’s live in the App Store, ready for download. There’s already a desktop version of Catch, but the iPad version has the advantage of being tied directly to a camera.

HP unveiled HP Pavilion notebook PCs that include enhanced features and reflect the company's new HP Mosaic design approach.

The company also unveiled the HP Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-One printer, featuring HP wireless direct printing (1) and HP ePrint, enabling users to print from virtually anywhere.(2)
  • For stylish on-the-go computing, the HP Pavilion m6 is the ideal balance of mobility, performance and entertainment wrapped in a sleek, brushed silver aluminum design.
  • The redesigned HP Pavilion dv-series and g-series notebook PCs offer performance in a simple yet distinct and colorful design.
  • For users that want to balance affordable printing and brilliant quality at home, the HP Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-One is a compact, web-connected all-in-one printer for the home.

HP expanded its award-winning notebook portfolio with thin and light Ultrabook™ systems and Sleekbooks packed with the latest technologies for both consumer and business demands.

New additions to the HP collection include:
  • The HP ENVY SpectreXT is an ultramobile premium Ultrabook that delivers an overall premium experience with extraordinary design and performance.
  • Offering both style and substance, HP ENVY Sleekbooks and HP ENVY Ultrabook systems provide the ultimate entertainment experience in 14-inch and 15.6-inch diagonal display options.
  • The enterprise-ready HP EliteBook Folio 9470m was built from the ground up to be everything a business Ultrabook should be, with the security, manageability and reliability features IT demands.

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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