Saving Time and Money in a Building’s Design, Construction and Security
The Real Value of BIM
GIT SECURITY: For someone who may be totally new to the BIM process — whether an architect, a specifier or a building contractor — can you explain what it is?
Marc Ameryckx: Every building project needs coordination of vast amounts of information to move it from the original idea to bricks and mortar. Fundamentally, BIM is the digitization of this process. One important thing to understand is that it is not just software, and not just the visual model, but rather the process or workflow itself. The 3D renderings so often associated with BIM are not only about aesthetics: the data behind the images is very important. All the products and materials used within a construction process should be included, with as much high-quality data as possible assigned to them. All stakeholders then have access to this centralized source – the ‘model’ – which ultimately helps to minimize design and engineering errors. When one stakeholder makes changes, the update propagates through the entire system. Everyone is always up to date. Effective BIM helps eliminate mistakes before they happen or allows you to identify them as early as possible: the earlier you solve these problems, the less they cost.
For an architect or building planner, what are the key benefits of involving security specialists in their BIM process?
Marc Ameryckx: There is a major education benefit for architects and engineers, who are often not aware of the complexity of doors and security solutions. As security solutions have developed and become more sophisticated, so has their impact on the overall building environment. If doors, entrances and access control solutions don’t have the features required by the building manager from the outset, it can become a real challenge to implement this at a later stage. Security systems are expensive and now crucial components within buildings. They should be factored in as early as possible. Partnering with a security manufacturer who has BIM expertise is the best way to do this.
Beyond design and construction stage, can an effective BIM process deliver benefits further down the line?
Marc Ameryckx: BIM has benefits through a building’s full life-cycle. If good quality data is put in at the start of the process, there are obvious long-term benefits for those maintaining and controlling the building once occupation begins. For example, the more data you have on the security products and solutions you have, the better you can maintain the building and act when needed. Security managers should be pushing BIM workflows and data quality, so they can use the ‘as built’ model in their assessments and understand systems that have been selected. If specifiers are thinking about security devices early in the process, this data is available for future use by maintenance or in consultation if something goes wrong. Rather than having lots of documents stored in different places — many of which inevitably get lost or misplaced — a centralized, easily accessible BIM ecosystem will have all the data available that is required.
It all sounds slightly futuristic. Is this something stakeholders should be looking at now, or planning for the longer term?
Marc Ameryckx: BIM is quickly moving to center-stage, especially in complex and/or public building projects. Its benefits are too great to ignore: in cost reduction, on-time delivery, futureproofing buildings and creating a trustworthy data store for facilities management down the line. For anyone who wants to get the most from their building over its full life-cycle, BIM is becoming a must.
Looking further forward, where does the future of BIM lie?
Marc Ameryckx: In short, with better data and more sophisticated applications of that data. For example, we are beginning to see the development of ‘digital twins’. Users can create a digital twin of a building to simulate different situations in advance, to find out what may happen if systems are changed. For instance, security managers could assess the impact of implementing an upgraded access control solution, reducing the risk of unforeseen complications. This ultimately relies on high-quality, accessible data. The BIM process can sound daunting, as can the specification of security devices and solutions. This is why we have established regional Assa Abloy Opening Solutions BIM and Specification teams across the EMEIA region. Digitization of the entire building design and construction process has already begun. We have the expertise to help architects, specifiers, planners and building contractors to offer effective, efficient BIM service.