At the RICS BIM National Conference 2013, Deborah Rowland, Head of Facilities Management, Government Property Unit, Cabinet Office in the UK Government outlined the Government's motivation and plans for a program to improve the post construction handover and operation of newly constructed buildings. The motivation is clear. Clients (meaning Government departments in this case) are not getting the assets and outcomes they expected. Buildings are being designed and built that are found to be not fit for purpose by end users including being expensive both from a cost and carbon perspective to operate and maintain.
When it is realized that the cost of maintaining and operating a building over 20 years can be up to 30 times the original construction cost, it is clear that there are potentially very large long term benefits from such a program. The effort put in up front on a project can have enormous leverage on the outcomes achieved.
The Government Soft Landings (GSL) program is intended to rectify this and is designed to put in place a legal, contractual, and technical framework (based on the BSRIA Soft Landings Framework) including incorporating building information modeling (BIM) to fix the problem by ensuring continuity thoughout the buiiding lifecycle from inception, though design, construction, comissioning, training and handover through to operations and maintenance 1-3 years after handover. Facilities management (FM) contracts are often for one year only so the 3 year horizon is designed to provide focus for the initial program implelentation. Ms Rowland said that in the future the intent is to extend it to the entire building lifecycle.
The Government Soft Landings Policy was agreed to by Government Construction Board in September, 2012 and will be mandated for all new central government buildings and large reburbishments (renovations) in 2016 in alignment with the BIM Level 2 mandate for design and construction of new buildings.
The guiding principle is that GSL will be a key element of the design and construction process. It will require early engagement of the end user and the inclusion of a GSL champion during design and construction. It also requires post occupancy evaluation and feedback to the design and construction team, and a concomitant commitment to post construction involvement from the design and construction team. This process will require contractual agreements between the design/construction and FM teams.
BIM is expected to facilitate the collaborative working of the design and construction and FM teams throughout the project. The 3D BIM model will enable the FM team to experience the buildings from an operate and maintain perspective before the building is constructed to ensure that projected operational costs are
maintained and the impact of changes on operations are assessed. For example, in the case of the Ministry of Justice's Cookham Wood facility, the FM team was able to experience the building during the pre-construction phase and identify changes that would make maintenance easier and operations more efficient.
The model is also expected to provide a fully populated asset data set for the CAFM (computer aided facilities management) systems and to reduce time wasted in obtaining information about assets including the cost of maintaining or replacing equipment.
The 3D model is also expected to faciliate planning modifications to building use and assessing their impact on operations. After 10-15 years, typically, the building will require major renovations, and the traditional approach of inviting land surveyors to resurvey and remeasure is reconized to be inefficient. A better process is envisaged in which an up-to-date BIM model maintained as part of ongoing operations and maintenance provides a basis for planning and designing renovations.
A key role required by the GSL is the GSL Champion, who is envisaged as being critical to ensuring that a project meets client needs. This is not seen as an additional cost or contractual role in the project, becaue the skills required already exist, typically within the real estate/facilities management group. The GSL Champion's role is to act as a proactive voice for end users including faciltiies management. The GSL Champion ensures that the appropriate metrics are in place to measure the quality of the facility from the perspective of the end user. A critical responsibility of the the GSL Champion and one of reasons he/she needs to be involved during design and construction is to ensure that all of the data is incorporated into the BIM model to fully populate the asset register in the CAFM system. The GSL Champion is also responsible for ensuring that the post occupancy evaluation and monitoring is undertaken.
Next steps for GSL
A BIM4FM industry group has just been setup, and its initial task will be to identify what FM needs in the BIM model it receives from design and construction. Another important area of focus will be data standards for mapping COBie onto CAFM data models. There are plans for developing procedures for BIM models for renovations for existing buildings and it is intended to extend the process to other infrastructure in addition to buildings (GSL for infrastructure).