Avvir Academy
April 15, 2022

The Business Value of BIM for Building Owners

The business value of BIM for owners is substantial when managing cost, reducing waste and driving efficiency in building projects. BIM helps owners and operators to: 

As digital construction sweeps into more projects, the new consensus is BIM is underutilized unless the entire construction project team leverages it as a single source of truth. When the BIM process is used effectively, the business value of BIM provides owners an incredible advantage.

Designers, builders, and owners are increasingly adopting their working methods to BIM, but data-rich gains are lost if each team develops independent models outside of a common data environment. Different groups replicate work through the design, fabrication, and operation phases with a siloed BIM process. It compromises accuracy, introduces unnecessary complexity, and wastes time and money.

Getting construction teams to work from a single source of truth is less a technology issue and more a culture change. 

Technology is only part of the solution; understanding, knowledge, behavior, and shared purpose are just as crucial. 

Building owners can rectify this disconnect. The Owner's role typically remains constant throughout the stages of building and can dictate how designers, contractors, and subcontractors work together. By getting involved in this process, Owners can help with the handoffs, increase trust and the data, and offer incentives for teams to work more collaboratively.

Building Owners need to align teams and processes from the project outset because the initial planning and work provide a substantial residual asset value over the building or project lifecycle. BIM offers a dataset that can lead its architects and builders to successful outcomes. With insights from industry experts and client-owners, here are four reasons Owners and Operators should embrace BIM.

BIM Increases Efficiency by Preventing Owners From Paying for Redundant Work

Without a single integrated BIM dataset, the contract agreement often encodes awkward handoffs between stakeholders.

Sawtooth diagram showing information loss at the interfaces between and across a projects evolution.

Avoiding circular rounds of project revisions and limiting rework ensures better construction team collaboration and predictability of costs.  

Project models hosted on the construction cloud-enable:

  1. Design and trade teams collaborate efficiently in the same BIM model
  2. The project moves seamlessly from design to construction and fabrication, eliminating model data redundancy. 
  3. The design BIM model to easily transition to a construction and fabrication model
  4. A highly collaborative and efficient process.

Feeding project data from multiple stakeholders into a common data stream (sankey diagram) allows any stakeholders to gather insights at any time.

Increases Communication and Transparency Among Owners and Project Team

The complexity of construction can hinder effective quality-control measures. To simplify the process, BIM can act as the central data repository – allowing rapid communication between teams in a shared, transparent environment. In addition, when paired with Avvir as the system of record, the model can include data on every component and its change history – giving project owners a clear and objective understanding of their building status (e.g., installed, not-installed, percent complete, etc.).

The visual and collaborative nature of BIM is also an effective tool for presenting the design of the building to stakeholders who may not have extensive experience with digital modeling, engineering, or architecture. 

BIM can also be used during pre-construction and help the team of subcontractors during the RFP and bid process. The BIM model is an effective tool that can be delivered to subcontractors to bid on the project and agree to use it as the single source of truth. Owners can provide model based standard bid templates to ensure level bids without having to make assumptions. With multiple teams working from the same model, subs and GC’s can spend less time performing take offs and more time optimizing their work packages. 

Finally, having all MEP and HVAC information in a final model is an irreplaceable tool for operations throughout the lifecycle of a building.

"The types of questions that owners ask of their BIM data are often very simple. "How many square feet of space are attributed to this type of program?" or "How many HVAC filters do I need to order to service my equipment this year?" Answering those types of questions with BIM data can be incredibly easy and fast if the project is set up correctly from the beginning," said Caity Taylor, Senior Solutions Engineer at Avvir

BIM Provides Owners a Close-Out Digital Asset to Manage the Project's Lifecycle

Accurate As-Built BIM’s are an invaluable asset for facilities and operations groups post-construction. A majority of the world’s buildings do not have any BIM documentation to reference for future renovations; therefore, owners end up paying for the creation of as-builts. BIM helps owners establish better operations procedures and can become the basis for tracking regular maintenance of equipment.  As discussed,  it's equally important for retroactive commissioning, additions, and renovations. Lastly, BIM data can help onboard new digital building technology and systems that are frequently updated throughout the building lifecycle. 

BIM Helps Owners Manage Risk

Building Owners are responsible for their buildings' costs; tools like Avvir are crucial for helping teams spot errors earlier and debug designs, ironing out clashes on a computer, not in bricks and mortar when these mistakes are costly. That makes BIM and Reality Capture technology like Avvir a critical risk-management tool.

Building Owners control the risk because your design team models what you want to build and then passes those instructions to the general contractor and subcontractors. The value of sharing models downstream brings less risk, fewer questions, and mitigates many issues that typically arise during construction. BIM provides a holistic to detailed solution to troubleshoot risk collaboratively from the start instead of avoiding risk and pushing liabilities down the line.  

The design BIM model is created to show owners what they want as an end product. If this model gets tossed out and regenerated by the construction team, there's a huge opportunity for waste in cost and translation errors. Therefore, it's imperative to have a collaborative and smoother data flow along with the phases of the project.

At the center of the business value of BIM for owners is simply sharing data in a new collaborative working relationship. Working with BIM offers new ways for teams to break down hierarchies, listen to each other, and document best practices. In addition, Building Owners have the opportunity to push for working differently - a new collaborative reality that will bring reduced risks and costs, improved processes, and better quality projects.

3 Tips for using BIM as a Database throughout the Project Lifecycle

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