The digital twin of buildings gives asset managers, facility managers and service providers a platform for collaboration.

Building Information Modeling (BIM), or the Digital Twin of Buildings, is revolutionizing facility management and opening new doors. Today, BIM is primarily used only in the planning phase of a building, but that is about to change. BIM allows stakeholders to manage complexity and make data tangible like never before. Planning, construction, maintenance and development can be combined into one comprehensive process, and service providers will especially increase their efficiency. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur) will even require BIM in all new public infrastructure projects starting in 2020.

The digital twin of buildings

By transferring a BIM model into a cloud platform, all stakeholders can be integrated and all benefit. For example, cleaning or maintenance service providers for heating or fire alarm systems can be integrated. Up-to-date information about activities being carried out, the current status of an installation and its geographical location are all available in real time. This information simplifies quoting and reduces uncertainty. Time, material, and resource planning are more accurate, achieving a cost and competitive advantage.

Through the connection of service providers via apps and mobile devices, they not only have real-time access to the digital twin and their orders but can immediately report their performed activities to the digital twin and all involved stakeholders. There is even a complete service history.

The use of BIM in building management over the entire product life cycle not only provides advantages for the building operators, but also the service providers, who benefit from:

  • an integrated digital database for all stakeholders and cross-company networking along the entire building lifecycle
  • a data-based tailor-made quotation for building-specific services
  • clear requirements that lead to targeted preparation and qualification of employees
  • remote analyses leading to increased process efficiency
  • a comprehensive service history detailing all activities

The openBIM approach is based on the official standard Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). This data model supports collaboration and information exchange regardless of the software used. An IFC model can map a complete building model including its topography and all technical facilities, including its 3D representations, the structural design and all technical features.

Beyond a simple 2D or 3D data representation, up to seven dimensions of information content are defined with relevant data for the operation of a building. This includes:

  • maintenance plans
  • specifications
  • instructions
  • warranty and service agreement information
  • technical attributes of architectural objects and technical equipment
  • cost and time management

Looking ahead, BIM will also serve as a catalyst for technical trends such as augmented and virtual reality, energy simulations, predictive maintenance, and domotics, which can be based on the BIM database.

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