Adoption of BIM and Maximo: Bridging the asset data gap between build and operate

By | 5 minute read | January 21, 2020

Airplane on runway

For as long as facilities have been built, organizations have been challenged to acquire, assimilate and organize data. They need to do this so they can properly operate and maintain a facility that has been turned over to them. We all know the story: when a project reaches the stage of commissioning the facility and turning over the as-built drawings, equipment specifications and manuals, a lot has changed. The project’s budget, schedule—and patience of the people involved—have long been expended. Organizations are left with a hodgepodge of information about their new facility. They’re left on their own to ferret out the useful information, or collect it themselves so they can establish their operating and maintenance procedures. And that effort doesn’t even yet include preparing it and loading into their enterprise asset management (EAM) system.

One Midwest-based airport was in the unique position of staring down an almost complete renewal of their entire site, including terminals, parking lots and support buildings. That prospect, coupled with the known gap I’ve just mentioned, would be enough to keep any Facilities Director up at night. Instead, personnel at the airport looked at this situation as a real opportunity. They could leverage newer EAM technology to address the gap head on and build a bridge across it that could be used for all future capital projects.

Enter Maximo and building information models (BIM)

The airport’s renewal was to begin with the construction of, ironically enough, a new facilities maintenance shop building. This building would be built by a reputable construction firm. It served as the perfect opportunity for the airport to adopt BIM as their primary design tool. In addition, airport personnel were aware that the best-of-breed EAM, Maximo®, had a standard feature to import the data from BIM models automatically. It included a plug-in to present the associated 3D models in line with Maximo applications like work order tracking and assets. The airport team decided to implement Maximo and establish design standards for BIM models. This would ensure that they could always receive the data they needed from contractors to seamlessly and easily integrate into their enterprise asset management (EAM) system.

The implementation project was a joint effort by EDI, an IBM Gold-level Partner for Maximo, and the Midwest-based airport. Their plan was to design the building in Revit (BIM), enrich the BIM data during commissioning using the COBie (Construction Operations Building information exchange) format, and then import both the COBie data and 3D model into Maximo. They would use the native COBie import feature and the free ForgeViewer plug in.

Throughout the project, resources from these teams worked closely to identify potential design challenges, discuss them, and develop standards to overcome them. Many of these challenges were related to understanding the relationships among the data elements on both the BIM and EAM sides of the solution landscape. Additionally, they had to develop rules or best practices on how to construct the BIM model, how to export the model into COBie, how to prepare the COBie file for load, and, ultimately, how to import the data into Maximo.

An iterative process provides efficiency and consistency

An iterative process was used throughout the design of the building. It involved many trial runs of the import into Maximo. The end result of this process was the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Design Specifications for each of these individual process steps. These can now be attached to any future capital project RFP or contract moving forward. Thus, the team ensured that KCI will always receive facilities design/build/operate data in a format that allows the contractors to work in their most efficient, typical fashion. But they will still produce consistent information outputs that can immediately be put to use to maintain and operate the facility.

In the most simple terms, the defined process was to:

  • Design the facility in Revit
  • Export the project to a COBie file format using built-in Revit tools
  • Enrich the BIM data with specifics like:
    • Make and model information and barcode numbers
    • Equipment manuals at the time of commissioning
  • Import the COBie file and 3D model into Maximo using its built-in tools.

The end result is an EAM administrator’s and maintenance planner’s dream: a complete, accurate, and structured set of location and asset data that represents the facility, supported with a navigable 3D model that creates maintenance plans, schedules, and work orders.

On-screen 3D models simplify work orders

Imagine having a report of a plumbing problem in a specific room. You’re able to float, on screen, through a 3D model of the piping. You can isolate, identify and attach the components that need to be added to a work order simply by clicking on them.

Also imagine being a technician assigned to address the problem. Instead of having a text-based narrative of where the problem might be, you have a 3D drawing of exactly where the impacted assets are and how they connect/relate to each other. This is just one of the many EAM use cases that is significantly enhanced by harnessing the power of both the BIM data and 3D model at your fingertips.

Remember, there was no immense, tedious and labor-intensive walk-down and cleansing process to get the data into the system in the first place. The gap between the build and operate phases has truly been bridged!

Today, as the airport looks toward an immense airport renewal initiative that will continue beyond the next decade, it does so with a clear view to the future. Foundational information technology systems, processes and data standards will allow it to seamlessly commission and turn-over facilities from their contractors without placing an undue (or overly costly) burden on them.

With this implementation showing such positive results, I think the airport’s Director of Facilities may be sleeping just a little bit better tonight.

IBM Maximo provides essential insights for intelligent asset maintenance and operations

You’re invited to attend our upcoming webinar on how to import BIM data set into Maximo. Mark your calendar for Thursday, February 20 at 10:00 AM ET.

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