For owners/operators seeking the holy grail digital twin, you must first create the AIM. AIM is the acronym “Asset Information Model”. You might be asking, “Wasn’t the dream of BIM to be that?” Of course BIM, Building Information Modeling, does inherently hold information at any point in its lifecycle. Unfortunately, the source of asset data is often default values or something downloaded from the internet to save time. The challenge is to specify data input and reporting in a meaningful way for AEC without disrupting cost or schedule.
The PMC team has been empowering building stakeholders to advocate for themselves on two digital fronts. The first is managing their AEC supply chains to deliver the quality of 3D data to fit the needs of facilities management. The second empowerment is a path to convert all the other structures in the enterprise that are past the design and construction lifecycles. It’s notable that both of these types of transformation share a common foundation. That foundation is predictable data that is interoperable. Asset data at all stages of the building lifecycle have commonality. The ideal BIM requirements focus on what those common aspects are and also understand what enterprises have unique needs for operating a building. PMC has termed our process to define those requirements as Enterprise Facilities Integration (EFI). Once a guideline for integration is established, owners can begin to see a digital transformation that is interoperable and at a foundation for higher levels of multi-use values.
What is “good data” and why is it important to target how it will be used? Defining the end goals (target usage) is key to understanding the data specifications for asset information models (AIM) at a foundational level. Something to consider is that good data can add a variety of ROI and it doesn’t need to be BIM if you don’t plan on re-engineering.
As a complement to implementing Laser Scanning and Scan to BIM efforts, PMC recently started providing data integrated Matterport as a complement to high-end scanning and Revit modeling. These Matterport virtual tours can allow our clients to have “virtual” visibility of a site throughout the building lifecycle. The spatial data can be integrated with information and linked to other data. I see the same potential for the “Virtual Tour” level of technology in terms of integration. While not as accurate as a point cloud, it can be a useful tool for record information. In the example below the embedded data is serving space planning as you hover over a workstation. It could just as easily be integrated with links to booking software in an agile workspace or equipment data and maintenance information.
The 3D model lifecycle can consider Facilities Management from its early inception. The example below is a project PMC is modeling with TMC Drafting Services for John Deere and has little existing data. One thing that was acquired from the terrestrial scanning was the ability to read the equipment tags/QR codes captured in the scan. These tags could have initially come from a mechanical engineer as a mark for the purpose of scheduling. However, the potential for interoperability in the life of the plant becomes possible because good data establishes relationships and database connectivity. What would it take for a large enterprise to establish one consistent piece of information (Primary key) for all forms of information on any given asset? I truly don’t know, but establishing a standard for BIM to PDF cut sheet names might make nailing a record model a whole lot easier.
Hold PMC to a standard when we commission your data. In fact, hold all your consultants to that same standard. We can help you develop that standard as we are with TMC/John Deere and other clients. My team is acutely aware of the whitewashing of the term digital twin. However, we know the proof is in the data and the potential for interoperability. Don’t even get me started on the perception of the “LOD” levels and how it equates to the usefulness of models in the hands of building owners. That is too often qualified by visual detail and the type of consultant or contractor turning over a model. “LOI” is what really matters for owners. “Level of Information” can be its highest value in the most basic LOD100 model or even the virtual tour example above. In fact for the owner and FM managers who don’t deploy the highest end workstations, having something light and data-rich would serve a higher value.
A great starting place to see where your current BIM data is at on an LOI scale is to open the MEP model and try to export just the equipment to COBIE. How clean does it look? What is COBie? That is a topic for another blog.