Making BIM Work for Building Owners


Owners have looked to BIM to streamline handover of data, for use in the Facilities operational life-cycle. But many handovers are still not delivering value! Owners and AEC partners need new tools and processes focused on quality Information – the “I” in BIM.

It’s a fact that AEC companies have made BIM a central tool for their businesses, and BIM adoption is over 70%, Most major AEC companies are using Revit, so why aren’t owners benefiting? One key reason is that drivers for using BIM, doesn’t necessarily align with better data for owners.

During design, the primary goal of BIM is communicating design intent, to create the construction documents.  During construction, the primary driver of BIM adoption is constructability, coordinating trades, avoiding clashes etc. However, both workflows focus on the model geometry with little emphasis on the non-graphical BIM data that owners need.


BIM, tools and workflows can no longer focus just on 3D geometry, and need to efficiently support data management. But here’s the good news for ‘Owners’ and ‘FM’s’: New skills, tools and processes are moving BIM towards truly streamlining handover.

Key 1: Manage Handover throughout the Project Life-cycle

One of the biggest challenges in handover is that project teams typically wait until the end of the project to gather the data.

Leading organisations streamline handover by checking data throughout the project life-cycle. For example, consider an air handler. During design you could check for a certain subset of data: naming standards, location, operating characteristics, etc.  At the end of submitting, you should know much more about the equipment like the manufacturer, model number, or maintenance requirements.  After commissioning, you should have everything required for FM.  You can validate all the information from design and construction and also gather final information like serial numbers or installation dates.

By updating information throughout the project, you get better quality, more comprehensive data.

Key 2: Transition to Cloud-based Workflows

BIM authoring tools are expensive, require extensive training, and can produce large complex files.  As a result, model-based workflows are cumbersome.  How do you move around large files between firms? How do you manage version control?  What about owners that don’t have modelling tools?

With Cloud-based platforms, team members can control what information they share, how their models get updated, and enable BIM data to be shared in new ways – giving owners greater visibility into models and data.

BIM Everyone Access

Key 3: Unlock BIM Data

Another significant issue is that only a small subset of people on the project team have the skills and tools to access BIM. Conversely, modellers don’t know all the information required by the owner.

New tools are emerging that focus on BIM data. You don’t have to be a BIM guru to view or edit model data.  Also, because models have massive amounts of data, it is really difficult to find missing or incorrect information using traditional tools.  Products like ‘BIM Assure’, recently released by Invicara, let you create rules to check models and make it very easy to find issues. Instead of wading through thousands of data points, you can get right to the issues that need attention.

BIM Quality Data

Key 4: Quality BIM Data for Life-cycle Facility Management

The great potential of BIM technology for building owners is to provide accurate, timely, and relevant information not just during design and construction, but throughout the life-cycle of the facility.

Building owners and FM’s are continually looking for new ways to improve the effectiveness of their facility operations through the building’s life-cycle. Using BIM with products like FM:Interact with Bi-Directional links to Revit, now provides; Improved Space Management, Streamlined Maintenance, Efficient Use of Energy, Economical Retrofits and Renovations, Enhanced Life-cycle Management.

New ways of working, modern technology, and new apps provide building owners an opportunity to engage everyone on the team. These will allow owners and AEC firms to deliver quality BIM data in a cost-effective manner and realise the promise of BIM data handover.


Don Hitchcock
ASt Director