Building Information Modeling (BIM) has meant a major transformation in the design, construction and asset management processes we have known up to now. This methodology has one of its main pillars in the generation of a virtual model that contains all the information related to the asset during its life cycle.
The use of BIM facilitates the maintenance and operation of the assets, through what is called the 7th BIM dimension, which works with information related to asset management. This is one of the most important BIM dimensions, as it affects the operation of the asset, its productivity and the costs associated with maintenance.
One of the pillars of the 7th BIM dimension is the “As-Built” file.
Modeling in BIM
In the AECO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operations) sector, a large number of the projects carried out do not match those initially planned, due to implementation issues and problems encountered during the course of the project.
However, for maintenance operations to benefit from the model, any agent should have reliable information in line with the existing asset. If the project created by the model is not the same as the one carried out after implementation, no operations or any type of activity can be carried out on the asset without having to revise the associated model.
The file referring to the model created with BIM methodology should therefore be as objective and precise as possible, in order to carry out operations or any type of subsequent activity without having to review whether the model is in line with the project carried out.
It would be very easy to say that all the projects carried out are as they were originally planned (it would be very simple to think that the projects designed and those carried out are in agreement), but this is not the case. All the projects undergo small modifications, even if it is the change of a part of the floor. The “As-Built” file is the faithful image, updated and changing, as the changes in the asset are made.
If the information is not up-to-date, maintenance operations will not have the advantage that the “As-Built” model gives them.
The “As-Built” BIM file
The exchange of information in the creation of the project model recreates the day-to-day life in a project or at least how it should be carried out. This exchange operation does not end when the project is implemented, as once the project is implemented, the operation and maintenance of the asset in its life cycle will begin.
During the life of the asset, all the agents involved must have access to all the information or to the minimum part necessary for their activity, thus being able to carry out their work. If this information is not accurate, it will not provide any added value to any agent, as it needs to be verified.
Two distinctions are made that are derived from two trends, now taking into account the methodology for making “As-Built” models.
1. Approach, design, creation and execution
In the process from design, modelling and finally construction, an agent must be designated who is responsible for keeping the model updated over time, taking into account the modifications made and implementing them in the model.
All the modifications must have a methodology and/or protocol, thus avoiding differences in models between different agents as they do not have updated versions or local copies that do not correspond to the updated ones.
One of the solutions that avoid this problem would be to have copies in cloud services, to which the different agents have access and thus have the model updated and accessible at all times.
2. Maintenance and operations
In this case, a copy should be created for the companies dedicated to the maintenance and operation of the asset, without interfering with the final execution status file (previous file). It implies the creation of an own model of the asset for all the modifications made to the asset by the operations and its maintenance. This file will be common to the different entities dedicated to them.
The creation of this new model improves the information of the model dedicated to maintenance and operations. This model also solves the unnecessary transformations in the previous file, meaning a great improvement in the whole process and in the reliability of the “As-Built” files for each of the two specific trends.