01 June 2014

Update: Since this article was first written, all the content from the NBS National BIM Library has moved across to NBS Source.

The vast majority of assets comprising the built environment are already in existence and are not in the process of being built. This is such an obvious statement that it hardly seems worth making, but it has implications in relation to the use of BIM. BIM can apply equally as much to existing assets as to new build projects. In fact, its application will be far more widespread given that there is obviously a far larger portfolio of existing assets that need to be managed and which would benefit in terms of maintenance and refurbishment from the BIM approach.

The use of BIM in asset management is recognised with the publication of PAS1192-3 in March of this year. As you will remember, a PAS (Publicly Available Specification) is not a British Standard (BS), but is in many ways the precursor to a BS and would be withdrawn upon publication of its content within a BS. A PAS can be used for the rapid development of a specification to meet an immediate need in less time than it would take to formulate and develop a BS. The PAS 1192 series builds upon the existing code of practice for the collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information that can be found in BS 1192:2007.

PAS1192-3 is a companion document to PAS1192-2, which specified the information management process to support BIM at Level 2 in the capital/delivery phase of projects. PAS1192-3 focuses on the operational phase of assets and will apply irrespective of whether these were commissioned through major works, acquired through transfer of ownership or are already existing in an asset portfolio. The operational phase of an asset commences at handover but the requirements within PAS1192-3 might also be helpful during the major works phase since obviously they are intended to link in with PAS1192-2.

It is worth bearing in mind that asset management is different from facilities management, although both are concerned with managing the key assets of an organisation at optimal whole life cost. Asset management is defined at paragraph 3.1.6 of PAS1192-3 as the "coordinated activity of an organisation to realise value from assets". Interestingly, PAS1192-3 does not define facilities management, but we can take that as being the process by which the services and systems within a particular asset are managed for optimal whole life cost.

PAS1192-3 is therefore fundamentally about the availability, integrity and transfer of data and information during the operational phase of an asset's life. Whilst it may not make thrilling reading, and to be fair is probably not intended to, it nevertheless contains a great deal of useful information about how you can approach asset management effectively and efficiently. Basically, this is through the creation of an asset information model (AIM).

The AIM is intended to be the single source of approved and validated information related to the asset, which would include data and geometry describing the asset and the spaces and items associated with it, data about the performance of the asset and supporting information which would include specifications, O&M manuals and health and safety information.

In common with other published documentation available, this PAS is aimed at level 2 BIM and therefore contemplates that the AIM will be a federated model consisting of a number of discreet parts. Those parts, it is suggested in paragraph 4.6.3, should contain the following:

  • information concerning the original brief;
  • 3D object-based models with the environment and location of the asset;
  • information, or links to information, concerning the ownership of the asset and any rights etc associated with it; and
  • information, or links to information, concerning any data obtained from maintenance, survey or other work carried out on the asset during its life time.

As I have said above, whilst this might not be the most exciting read you will have over the next six months, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as something to take on your holiday to read when you are lying next to the pool, this is a very useful document which links in with existing guidance to cover what is in real terms the most significant part of an asset's existence. As such, it is well worth reading when you get the opportunity. I anticipate that it will become an increasingly important document as the true impact of BIM on asset management becomes apparent.