Advancements in Building Information Management (BIM) have resulted in an overall positive shift towards technology uptake in the construction sector.

The natural progression would then be to integrate the building’s BIM system with the building's Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) system. Industry experts from around the world have said its the ideal scenario for the successful management of an asset.

Architecture and design consultant firm Stride Treglown’s UK-based BIM coordinator Joshua Davies laments the benefits of linking BIM to CAFM. He also says synergies between the digital teams, and the gap between them continues to narrow as the trend gathers momentum.

“The gap between stakeholders who request the information, those collating the handover information and those responsible for utilising the data into CAFM has evolved. There are now more links between the construction and design teams, and the end user groups of a project, with some assets' departments now using data and models handed over from construction in their CAFM platforms,” Davies says.

The FM sector has been slightly late at arriving at the techno-savvy world,  just as it is with the construction sector. However, there is a true disruptive nature to carrying out FM thanks to advancements in CAFM.

Now, the onus also lies on the owner, and how building life cycles are perceived by the two sets of player. “For a client who acts as owner-occupier with a long-term investment in the cost-effective operation of its assets, this looks like a compelling reason to capitalise on the benefits of linking BIM to CAFM,” Davies adds.

Regionally, FM software manufacturer FSI Middle East teamed up with construction technology provider Excitech, in 2016, to incorporate space and BIM modules to the former's platform — more specifically to its Concept Evolution product offering.

Adrian Jarvis, general manager of FSI Middle East said: “There are now a small number of projects in the region which are being handed over to operations, or will be shortly, where a degree of BIM and CAFM integration is to be provided.”

The integration removes the obvious need to maintain two different solutions for common data; meaning organisations would have complete control of their space.

In December last year Khadamat, a joint venture between Mubadala and Serco, successfully developed and implemented an advanced CAFM deployment in the Middle East at the UAE University in Al Ain.

The implementation was supported by FSI Middle East who worked with Serco and Mubadala to find the optimal balance of CAFM features to attend to the needs of both the facilities management provider (Khadamat) and the infrastructure owner (Al Hikma Development/Mubadala).

David Irvine, general manager of Al Hikma Development, a Mubadala Company said: “The importance of a fully functional and integrated CAFM system is essential, not only for today but for the whole life of the asset, and the updated Concept Evolution platform allows us to constantly review the life cycle model and to ensure that appropriate resources are available at the right time to maintain the buildings at their optimal state for use by our tenant, the UAE University.”

Looking at more mature markets, the UK for instance, its government mandated the use of fully collaborative 3D BIM (level 2 — as a minimum) on all of its projects by 2016. “FSI has been involved in the UK in BIM steering groups and BIM forums that are helping to develop the ISO standards for the use of BIM in facilities operations,” Jarvis said.

Recently, FSI UK delivered a BIM for CAFM project for the Met Office’s new facility in Exeter, he informed.

Currently the market is witnessing an upward swing with new CAFM suppliers coming on the scene. A CAFM start-up scene is brewing, especially in the UAE, albeit not as snazzy as the Google’s and Careem’s of the world, they are functional and can address smaller needs nonetheless.