Why Does an Employer Want BIM Data?

Why Does an Employer Want BIM Data?

Why should an employer want digital data of their assets, what do they intend to do with the data and what data is required? These are all questions that all clients should consider when requesting BIM deliverables. But, providing clear and consistent answers isn’t easy.

The data associated with an asset can, especially for complex assets, be extremely varied and detailed. By confirming the reason for collecting data and what use will be obtained from the data, specific and useful information will be provided.

A simple way to tackle these questions is to consider ’employer purposes’. Or put another way, the purpose that an employer has for the data.

By using employer purposes, the required data types are clear and it ensures that only the required data is collected and unnecessary data is not collected. Or at the very least unnecessary data is filtered out and not delivered to an employer during a data drop.

There is a wide range of resources available for developing your employer purposes. But to start with BS 1192-4:2014 Collaborative production of information Part 4: Fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice, provides a relatively easy and understandable schedule of employer purposes.

BS 1192-4:2014

BS 1192-4 provides employer purposes within section 5 – Purposes. The purposes themselves are separated into three sections.

Section 5.2 – Overall purposes requiring information
Section 5.3 – Management of facility benefits
Section 5.4 – Management of facility impacts

BS 1192-4 describes employer purposes

The employer should state their purposes for requiring information deliverables,
including the aspects of the Facility that are intended to be managed.
The supply of information should support the employers purposes in managing
the facility, including:
a. when information deliverables are required, by reference to the agreed facility lifecycle phases
b. which purposes are included and excluded by reference to 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4,
along with any additional purposes. Each of these purposes should be
explicitly included and detailed or excluded from the EIR;
c. any additional validation, checks and metrics by extension to Clause 6;
d. any additional content by extension to Clause 7. This should also define which
of the requirable fields are required or excluded (see Annex A), and
e. if other document and model formats are also being received, these Documents
should be associated to the appropriate assets using the Document sheet.

Items c, d and e relate directly to the delivery of COBie. Items a and b are directly relevant to selecting employer purposes. Information provided should be relevant to lifecycle phases and that both the required and not required employer purposes should be identified.

It is important that both the employer purposes that are required and not required are both explicitly identified. This ensures that all the purposes are considered. It provides ownership and reasons for collecting information and equally reasons why information is not required.

BS 1192-4 reference Name Description
5.2.2 Register Register of assets to support accurate auditing and reporting
5.2.3 Support for Business Questions Information to support the evaluation of the business case for ownership and operation of the facility
5.2.4 Support for Compliance and Regulatory Responsibilities Information required to support the maintenance of the health and safety of the users of the facility such as construction design and management (CDM) issues
5.3.2 Management of Capacity and Utilization Documentation of the intended capacity and utilization of the facility to support comparisons of actual use and utilization and portfolio management
5.3.3 Management of Security and Surveillance Information required or supressed to support the management of the security and surveillance of the facility and neighbouring or adjacent sites
5.3.4 Support for Repurposing Repurposing of each space and the whole facility supported with detailed information about the capacity, in terms of areas, volumes, occupancy, environmental conditions and structural load bearing
5.4.2 Predicted and Actual Impacts Information relating to the impacts from cost, carbon (CO2), energy, waste, water consumption or other environmental effects
5.4.3 Operations Information for the normal operations of the facility, provided to support the facility operators and the employer to anticipate cost of operations
5.4.4 Maintenance and Repair Information on the recommended maintenance tasks, including planned preventative maintenance (PPM), provided to support the facility operators to anticipate and plan for costs of maintenance
5.4.5 Replacement Information on the reference or expected replacement service life and costs. Recycling of the physical assets supported with detailed principal constituent materials
5.4.6 Decommissioning and disposal Information on recommended decommissioning to support the facility operators to anticipate and plan for end of life costs

Employer Purpose Register

A register of assets should be provided to support accurate auditing and reporting.
This should include both spatial and physical assets and their groupings.

The register of assets should include items such as light fittings and air handling units. The register of assets should also include the spaces (the rooms), the floors within a facility and the facility itself.

Every named inside or outside Space (location) should be documented along with
every distinct Floor (region) containing them. The Zones defining public/private
access should be documented, along with other Zones as required. Volumes
defined for design or construction management should not be included.

Zones are useful for grouping together similar spaces or spaces used for a particular purpose. All classroom spaces can be grouped into a classroom zone. Zones can overlap. The spaces for an English department can be contained within their own zone, which will include departmental classrooms and admin spaces. The classrooms can now be contained within a classroom zone in addition to a department zone.

Every manageable Component should be documented along with every distinct
functional System whether containing manageable Components or not, and
every distinct product Type defining the manageable Components including both
generic and specific product and materials.

Manageable components are assets that will require some form of management. This usually involves planned and preventative maintenance by a Facilities Management team. But, could also be assets that are used for monitoring such as access control items (if they require some form of management).

The registering of all functional systems is useful. Although, it does slightly contradict the BS 1192-4 definition of a system named set of manageable Components providing a common function. This requires all systems registering, whether or not they contain manageable components.

Registering all assets can result in unnecessarily large data sets. Data that will require managing and updating throughout the life of a facility

Support for Business Questions

The employer should specify if information is required to support the evaluation
of the business case for ownership and operation of the Facility. This should
include continuous development of the Impacts and of the beneficial aspects of
the Facility from the earliest deliverable onwards.

The business case for the ownership and operation of a facility can be evaluated from the earliest stages of design through to ongoing evaluation during the operational phase.

As detailed information becomes available, the additional information is included in the evaluation, providing greater certainty and reassurance.

The business case should be evaluated throughout the life of the facility. With updated information that could include energy costs, maintenance costs and rental rates.

Support for Compliance and Regulatory Responsibilities

The employer should specify if information is required to support the maintenance
of the health and safety of the users of the Facility such as construction design and
management (CDM) Issues.

This item links closely into the upcoming release of PAS 1192-6 Specification for collaborative sharing and use of structured hazard and risk information for Health and Safety. It also overlaps with many of the other employer purposes. If maintenance and repair information is required, then it would be expected to include maintenance required to ensure regulatory compliance, such as Legionella codes of practice.

Issues should be related to named assets but might also be related to Attributes,
Documents or Impacts.

Issues can also be interpreted as risks. If something is an issue, changing a lamp at a high level, then it has a risk associated with it. Activities, such as maintenance, should be included elsewhere as an employer purpose. With health and safety and CDM requirements included as risks, with clearly identified preventative measures to reduce or eliminate a risk.

IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) includes the property set Pset_Risk and PAS 1192-6 proposes an expanded risk property set HSE_Risk_UK.

Read our ‘BIM Can Save Lives‘ article for additional information on using BIM data to benefit project safety.

Jobs covering safety and security procedures and cautions within those safety
procedures should be documented for handover.

Within COBie activities are described as jobs. IFC uses the term tasks. It is possible that a task may be both a health and safety requirements and a maintenance activity. Such as the activities required to reduce the risks associated with Legionella.

Management of Capacity and Utilization

Documentation of the intended capacity and utilization of the Facility should be
provided as it is required to support comparisons of actual use and utilization and
portfolio management.

Comparisons of planned and actual occupancy and utilization, provide a meaningful way of evaluating the design of a facility compared with the actual use. Prompting questions such as, why do we have a difference and how can we learn from the difference?

IFC provide a property set Pset_SpaceOccupancyRequirements that includes standard attributes for documenting occupancy – OccupancyType, OccupancyNumber, OccupancyNumberPeak, OccupancyTimePerDay and AreaPerOccupant.

Management of Security and Surveillance

Information should be required or suppressed to support the management of the
security and surveillance of the Facility and neighbouring or adjacent sites in line
with the security requirements set out in the EIR.

This purpose isn’t to schedule out the designed security measures, but to provide guidance on information that should and should not be included within project data drops.

This employer purpose links into PAS 1192-5:2015 Specification for security-minded building information modelling, digital built environments and smart asset management.

It could be a requirement that information is not included within a general data drop if the information could enable a security risk. Access codes and passwords for accessing IP (network) connected assets may not be included within the full set of data, but included within a subset of data that has controlled distribution.

Covert cameras could also be included only within a limited subset of project data. Enabling that the locations are restricted to a controlled group, reducing the likelihood that the locations will become common knowledge.

Support for Repurposing

Repurposing of each Space (location) and the whole Facility should be supported
with detailed information about the capacity, in terms of areas, volumes, occupancy,
environmental conditions and structural load bearing.

This employer purpose overlaps with the Management of Capacity and Utilization with occupancy requirements.

The individual specific attributes required for each data requirement should be clearly identified, such as occupancy but also environmental conditions. IFC has the property set Pset_SpaceThermalRequirements, which includes attributes for SpaceTemperature, SpaceTemperatureMax and SpaceTemperatureMin.

Predicted and Actual Impacts

The employer should require information relating to the Impacts from cost, carbon
(CO2e), energy, waste, water consumption or other environmental effects.

The purpose here is to identify the data required to monitor impacts.

Not all impacts will necessarily be required on all projects. And neither will both the predicted and actual impacts be necessarily required for all projects.

If this employer purpose is required then both the information and attributes should be clearly identified.

It goes without saying that should a facility require ongoing monitoring of impacts, then for items such as the energy, waste and water, appropriate methods for monitoring, recording and distributing the information should be included within the design of a facility.

Operations

Information necessary for the normal operations of the Facility should be provided
to support the facility operators and the employer to anticipate costs of operations.

This employer purpose is intended to enable the forecasting of future costs of a facility.

The attributes for which data is required, if a full data set is required, will be large and varied.

It could include such items as:

  • All energy consuming components, power rating and hours of use
  • Occupancy numbers and utilization for assessing cooling loads
  • Schedule of planned and preventative maintenance activities, including the tasks and the resources, to assess the costs of PPM
  • Ongoing facility management staff and employee costs

Maintenance and Repair

Information on the recommended maintenance tasks, including planned
preventative maintenance (PPM), should be provided to support the facility
operators to anticipate and plan for costs of maintenance.

Recommended maintenance tasks are associated with the registered assets. IFC tasks provide a predefined set of attributes for adding activities.

For each task, additional information, such as risks and resources can also be provided. Risks are closely related to health and safety and its requirements should be listed within the support for compliance and regulatory responsibilities employer purpose. Whilst resources are also associated with the operations employer purpose.

Replacement

Information on the reference or expected replacement service life and costs should
be available to the facility operators and to the employer to anticipate the costs
of replacement. Recycling of the physical assets should be supported with detailed
information relating to the principal constituent materials.

The data for the anticipated life of an asset and the cost of replacing an asset is closely related to both the operations employer purpose and the support for business questions employer purpose.

To accurately forecast the operational cost of a facility the assets that will need replacing within a given period and the cost of replacing these assets should be included in the assessment.

This also applies to monitoring the business case of a facility. This should include all the operational costs (which include the replacement costs), plus other data such as the forecast incomes (such as rents).

Recycling of the physical assets should be supported with detailed
information relating to the principal constituent materials.

By identifying the constituent materials within an asset, the current recycling and disposal requirements can be compared with the contained materials. As recycling requirements are subject to regular change, this is a more robust approach than associating recycling requirements directly with individual asset types.

Decommissioning and Disposal

Information on the recommended decommissioning Job should be provided to
support the facility operators to anticipate and plan for end-of-life costs.

This expands upon the replacement employer purpose. It adds activities and processes for the end of life of the whole facility. Costs can then be associated with the activities.

This also links into the support for business questions employer purpose. The assessment of whether a facility is sustainable should also include the costs of decommissioning a facility.

Employer Purposes

Employer purposes provide an effective and structured way to identify what types of data should be included in a BIM model. An EIR isn’t complete without employer purposes.

Ian Yeo, BIMsense, ian.yeo@bimsense.co.uk

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