Workplace Tech & Software

How Can I Take Advantage of Building Information Management Systems?

David Spence
June 30th, 2016

Accurate and timely information is integral to running an efficient and productive facility. Building information management systems (BIM) are designed to help facility managers stay on top of their operations by gathering and presenting information about resource use, space design and physical assets.

These systems use sensors, meters, network infrastructure and 3D modeling to inform important decisions.

What is building information modeling? Building information modeling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that provides insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

Information like this can be the crucial difference between a wasteful space and an efficient one. With that in mind, building information systems are only a tool in the belt of a facility manager—it’s important to know how to properly use this tool to fully take advantage of its benefits.


Adapt your business processes

facility management information business process

A BIM system will only be effective if it’s calibrated to the needs of your team and business goals. Not doing so can overwhelm your team with unnecessary equipment or complicate data systems that you already have in place. To avoid these pitfalls, construct processes like goal setting, team training and report scheduling to work with your system’s capabilities; that way you’ll ensure your implementation will positively impact your operations.

Develop a strong understanding of what kind of data you’d like to gather and how it affects your ability to make good business decisions.

Visualize your assets

Depending on your tool of choice, BIM systems may incorporate building information modeling—tools to visualize your building in 3D space and compile data about details such as dimensions, prices and compatibility of specific assets. This information helps you recognize and plan for potential design flaws before implementing facility changes or new construction projects.

Managing projects becomes more effective as you and your contractors can coordinate and work off the same visual information—accounting for small details and updates to designs.

Having visual representations of your space and assets has the added benefit of providing information to your stakeholders with a higher level of detail and interactivity.

Coordinate your contractors

facility management contractor information access

Sharing clear and up-to date information with your partnered contractors can lead to better coordination and smoother communication with fewer hiccups.

Set up customized access (and restrictions) for your contractors to work with your information system.

Access to your building’s information allows you to build a larger sense of transparency among your partners and helps you keep a synchronized, consistent set of data that can be used to plan your next steps or re-evaluate progress. Be sure to check what type of user access controls are available to you before implementing a BIM system—these will affect how you can communicate information to your team and partners.

A BIM system allows facility managers to gather data more effectively; FMs can also use it to coordinate day-to-day operations and contractor partnerships with more clarity and control. Managers who implement a BIM system that complements their needs will have more success in creating a well-run, high-performing facility.


Photos: Ivan Cujic, PEXELS,