Wednesday 22nd January 2014 saw to the first BIFM North West Key Learning Event of the year which was kindly held at DWF Solicitors based at the iconic Spinningfields development. There was a fantastic turn out to the event, hosted by Mark Whittaker (Business Development Manager, Integral) and was focussed around Workplace management, the impact of Technology on the Workplace and the hot topic that is BIM (Building Information Management).
Having read several press articles suggesting that office demand is going to out strip supply not only in London but also in the regions, it is important that we understand how to use this space effectively. Having an effective workplace ensures a positive, healthy and productive environment and most importantly one that harnesses creativity. With the emergence of new technologies, there is an increase in the mobile workforce and as such workplace design is no longer based on the traditional cubicle based format; instead the emphasis surrounds how a business utilises their space in the best way possible, creating areas that encourage collaboration and create new knowledge.
The concept of workplace management can be greatly aided by the use of BIM (Building Information Modelling); a topic that has seen increased exposure over the last 12 months and one that is set to continue particularly given that the property industry sees itself once again at the start of a development cycle. As a concept, BIM is not a new one and has been around since 2008, however its importance and profile has increased dramatically. The question however, of whether BIM and its benefits are fully understood amongst FM providers, is yet to determined.
BIM encourages the communication of FM organisations with architects, consultants and developers at the start of any given construction project and through collaboration and sharing of information allow the effective management and maintenance of assets for the life of a property.
Currently, the world of BIM is quite a lonely arena in the world of facilities management and recent press articles have tried to promote the importance of its implementation. The fact that the government has proposed a mandate requiring all Public Sector projects to involve BIM by 2016 means that in the very near future the choice of whether to use this or not will not be optional. So why wait? Why not understand the benefits that BIM can provide not in respect of your organisation but also your client and your contractors? This was heavily encouraged by Kath Fontana, MD of BAM FM.
BIM allows for the effective management of an asset throughout its lifecycle; from conception to completion and then on-going management. This process involves the use of 3D modelling and is heavily supported by CAFM technology. The benefits to users of BIM can include, timely project delivery, time savings on completion of maintenance activities, energy efficiencies through effective carbon management, ease of contract mobilisation and reduction of costs.
Although in time this concept will be forced upon most construction companies and FM providers, why not choose to be ahead of the game in understanding how you can implement BIM using your existing technologies, processes and procedures and then use this as a key differentiator when competing for new business?
There is certainly room for further education on the impact of BIM and to find out more there are several groups and websites that we encourage you to explore: www.bimtaskgroup.org.