Category Archives: facilities management

BIM and FM who needs to educate whom?

Another resounding success for the CKE ThinkBIM series today that explored Building Information Management and Facilities Management and raised acutely pertinent issues and questions for future debate.


There certainly was much learning and sharing, from Deborah Rowland’s keynote, (Cabinet Office and Soft Landings) on the round table discussions, from Marty Chobot (FM Systems) on a live feed from North Carolina, proving FM can manage buildings from a BIM model, and of course from the numerous and entertaining pecha kucha style presentations.

Until today I saw a missing link in really moving BIM forward across the built environment being the lack of awareness / knowledge of BIM from the Facilities Management sector.

However I am once again reminded of the lack of understanding from design, construction and indeed the BIM fraternity of what exactly Facilities Management is really all about, and how they need, and indeed will benefit from access to BIM.

The conference discussions also pulled up memories from the late nineties and early noughties on Design and Construction Integration with FM, on the need for FM to be a process broker for new build, and the role of FM to both feedback lessons into construction whilst feedingforward improvements into the business – feedbackfeedforward

And perhaps, just perhaps, as suggested by a few attendees, BIM has started from the wrong end of the process, and should start from the business and FM side, feeding back into construction. And in the context of 1:5:200 thinking, you would start where most value is generated – the 200 business end, not the 0.5 design or 1 construction end of the process.

It’s probably too late to resurrect the FIM not BIM argument. But we need to be acutely aware that we do not just deliver buildings but collectively we provide facilities to clients, and that usability is far more important to FM than light bulb maintenance. Or should be.

The thinkBIM question take away must now be – who needs to educate whom

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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What is BIM

The following article was written to introduce PauleyCreative’s excellent BIM Infographic  illustrating the recent NBS BIM survey, providing an important snapshot of our collaborative working BIM journey and future directions.

It was also hosted on the 2degreesnetwork site as part of their BIM series.

It feels the article has been ‘on tour’ and received good responses and comments via twitter and elsewhere, so it seems only correct to ‘bring home’ and post here for readers of this blog. Enjoy, and please do add comments below.

What is BIM?

There are many definitions of BIM, but unfortunately many are wrapped in technical, project management or design terminology.

We can understand and describe BIM as “the total and virtual modelling of all aspects of a project prior to construction, during construction and in use.”

A BIM would typically model all data relating to, for eg, design scenarios, costings, build ability and clash detection, scheduling and procurement, sustainability impact, life cycle and facilities management factors as well as in use predictions. Championed by the Government, milestones are set for achieving increasingly mature levels of BIM. The first being level 2 by 2016.

We should view BIM, not just as new technology but as a continuation of the collaborative working journey within the built environment sector. A journey started, or first articulated, way back in 1934 by Alfred Bossom and core to most sector improvement programmes since, from Latham, Egan, Building Down Barriers, Constructing Excellence, to the recent Never Waste a Good Crisis report.

BIM will be challenging, demanding real collaborative working and sharing of data, knowledge and costings across project parties.

The key to collaborative working being effective and open communications, coupled with trust and importantly being comfortable with sharing within a digital environment. Indeed we need the debate on the potential role of communications, and in particular social media, within BIM environments.

Perhaps understandably, the current BIM agenda is driven by technology and design. But the debate will widen, out of necessity, to include other disciplines such as Facilities Management, Quantity Surveyors, SME contractors, product suppliers and manufacturers, Many of whom still remain unclear as to how work and management will be different when working within BIM projects or suppling equipment to a BIM project.

You may recall a recent Honda advert that played on the expression “everything we do goes into everything we do.”  That ad emphasised how the breadth of Honda’s experience is applied through lean manufacturing to all aspects of their products. This is a great expression we would be wise to adopt to explain how BIM will enable us to bring built environment collective experiences, knowledge, technologies and best practice to every building.

Imagine a built environment industry where the design office, the QS office, the project management team, subcontractors operatives, the manufacturers factory and so on is so lean that everything we do goes into everything we do.

We would be able to reclaim the rule of thumb 30% waste in our sector, improve on safety and sustainability and deliver better, lower cost, fit for use facilities whilst achieving healthy profit levels essential for a sustainable industry.

Increasingly I am helping the contractors that I support on their questions of “what is BIM” and “what do I need” to do through increasing awareness of collaborative working, BIM itself and becoming comfortable with web/social media/digital communication. If you would like to know more please do get in touch or follow the conversations on twitter @fairsnape

#tweetchats … observations + how to

What is a tweetchat? In my view: a global online brainstorm: a fast paced collection of expert opinion, links, references, questioning, learning but above all sharing around the theme of the chat.

“A tweet chat is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through tweets that include a predefined hashtag to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation” Formal Twitter tweet chats are arranged in advance and occur at set times. They may include a formal agenda with a specific leader or “speaker”, or they might involve a free flowing discussion between all participants.

Dont attempt to make too much sense of it at the time, dive in, chat and share. Make sense of it later (which makes the output and transcripts very important). A brilliant use of twitter!

Having participated in a number of tweetchats over tha last few months #futrchat, #CSRchat and the more frivolous #sugarfreetweets for example, I recently took on the task of oragnising and facilitaing #GVisChat ‘Future of Energy in Buildings’ for Green Vision.

For an inaugural chat it worked well, with thought leaders and seasoned tweeters conversing and sharing with those who made their first tweet during the chat, which has to be a result.

Here then are my thoughts and observations:

Preparation:

  • Choose a hashtag and check it hasnt been used for another chat.
  • Most hashtags end ‘chat’ which has become a notation for tweetchat.Make the hashtag simple and memorable
  • Get the word out there – through twitter but also through related groups, forums both online and real.
  • Get the time and date agreed: Check there are no other big, subject related chats scheduled around the same time: Balance between working day time (9-5) and a global enthusiast though leader chat: It does seem the popular time is 7, 8 or 9 pm UK time for a global input. (and looking at a recent spreadsheet of existing scheduled chats, USA tweeters would appear to be more comfortable with the tweetchat format.)
  • Have instructions you can point to in order to help participants, for eg: How to take part in a tweet chat and How to join up to twitter (you don’t want to exclude those not on twitter who may see the whole twitter thing a bit of a dark mystery)
  • Agree roles – I think there are three, a facilitator, a subject driver and an amplifer See below  (I did all three so it can be done but … wow – it gets busy)
  • Agree Questions in advance, say 5 or 6 but be prepared to change and flex with the direction the chat may take.

Setting up to capture: 

Register the hashtag with  tweetchat.. Tweetchat provides a nice simple format that puts you in the ‘tweetchat room’ for the chosen hashtag and automatically adds the hashtag. Overall though I find tweetdeck easier to use during the chat.

‘Facilitating’ the chat:

  • Introduce topic, and the first question.  The start of the chat was probably the most ‘awkward’: unlike real meetings there are not many signals to pick up on that people are there and ready to go so you have to dive in. I had a sense of I was waiting for tweeters and they for me to kick off.
  • Welcome – be sure to welcome people as they enter the chat, that is make their first hashtaged contribution
  • Let twitter know the chat is running
  • Feed in the questions – the skill would appear to be in introducing next question at the right time, not too soon or too late – keep the fast pace going…
  • Amplify good points (ie RT and add to)
  • Praise good points being made, thank people for links (as you would in a real world brainstorm)
  • Challenge, question, throw in off the wall out there concepts to widen the discussion (eg future of energy chat led to possibility of building on the moon)
  • Give time checks, especially towards the close  – the 60mins flies past rather swiftly!
  • Watch for contributions from people forgetting or not using the hashtag and RT them so they get into the mix. (and remind people to use the # and Q and A numbering)

During the chat I used tweetdeck so I could have a DM channel open for closed communication with other hosts and a timeline to watch for related tweets from friends who forgot the hashtag!

Post Chat

Use a service such as the brilliant Tweetbinder to capture the tweets as well as statistics on the tweetchat.

Drop the tweets into Storify to create a transcript

Use the tweets and links to craft an interview sytle article for publication on blogs or elsewhere

Thanks:  These are my observations and lessons learnt from organising a tweetchat for the first time. I do hope they help and encourage you to get involved in a chat and to facilitate, they are great fun, generate a real buzz and to me prove the potential business and learning power of twitter is yet to be fully realised

I am indebted to Cindy @Urbanverse, a great friend and seasoned tweetchat expert for help and guidance

 

Use of social media can lead to innovative #smworkplace employees

Following my last blog on Social Media in the workplace two very interesting links have come to light:

From Business Insider:

As elaborated by the Harmon research on social media productivity … inclusive collaboration will unleash huge organizational potential for knowledge discovery with benefits including greater innovation, reducing time spent searching for information and elimination of duplicated effort.

and

Innovation comes also by multidisciplinary collaboration … with … social media are a means to this end, obstructing this opportunity will do more harm than good in the long term. Adaptation and transformation of people, processes and technology will have to occur sooner or later, because both the organization and the competitive landscape will demand this.

(my emphasis)

And from Tools for internal communications back in Jan 2010:

Melcrum have also begun a major research project into the use of social tools for internal communications; initial findings confirm “widespread adoption, a clear business case and visible return on investment for communicators.”

“Many organizations have now moved beyond the experimentation phase and begun embedding social media into the way they do business,” said Victoria Mellor, CEO of Melcrum. “There is a fundamental shift happening with how information flows inside an organization. Peer-to-peer online networks are enabling real-time feedback from employees to inform decision-making, not to mention facilitating collaboration between remote workers,” she added.

social media in the workplace

Workplaces need social media. Martin Pickard @FMGuru posted a question on twitter this morning on (should we) use Social Media in the Workplace in preparation for a debate this week. These debates are happening across all sectors, particularly so within the built environment, but I find it odd that we are have these debates at all and wonder:

  • What do I tell my son who is learning how to use facebook and how to blog at school, with QR codes to promote school sports day results, that when he starts work he wont be allowed to use such skills?
  • Did we have these discussions when the telephone or fax was introduced. (Lets send a hand written note around, get people together to explore whether we should allow the telephone on to sites)
  • Or indeed when email was introduced. I work with construction contractors who still do not allow computers on site, emails are send to an info@ address, printed in the head office and taken to sites by the contracts manager. We laugh at this now, but are we doing the same on social media?

Lets think about social media as collaboration and communication. Do we really want to have a debate as to whether we need ‘communication’ in the work place? Or whether we want people to work together, to collaborate?

Increasingly we shore up our policies and employee guidelines preventing the use of social media rather then guidelines on responsible behaviour. Better to have a workforce of ambassadors across social media than a frustrated annoyed workforce who criticise or worse during their own time or in their lunch times?

If we start to use the expression of ‘Real Time Web’ rather than social media it opens the door to thinking about using it as a tool for learning, sharing, communicating and gathering the intelligence an organisation needs (market, client, comptetitors, innovations etc)

Google have enabled Real Time as part of their search options. Staff can now see who has tweeted, blogged or shared anything they search for. Should we hence prevent the use of Google.  We cannot stop the use of social media or real time web, are we (as employers, managers, directors etc) just trying to stick more and more fingers in the soon to break dam?

Reading the traits of successful collaborative leaders for a piece of work with an innovative construction organisation and I see time and time again that a collaborative leader, (to which most built environment leaders would profess to be) is one that is connected, internally and externally across many sectors, through, yes, social media as well as traditional media. (Blog post to come)

Increasingly I am working with organisations who are waking up to the use of social media applications to improve winning work potential, from gathering leads/market/client/competitor intelligence, to gathering evidence for PQQ’s (from eg project blogs) to collaborative writing of responses and much more. (Follow me on @fairsnape for more on this)

Related links:

Using social media can help boards be better on sustainability. (CSRWire Talkback Blogpost)

Why FM needs to go social (a @be2camp FMX Article with @EEPaul)

Top 10: uses of social media to win work (check back after 23rd June after my session with Lancs Construction Best Practice Club)

ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard issued

ISO has issued ISO 50001, a new standard for energy management systems that aims to help organisations establish systems and processes to improve their energy performance, including efficiency and consumption. It will of course be of particular interest to facilities management organisations who will undoubtedly be asked to manage facilities to ISO 50o01

Firmly aligned with ISO 9001 and 14001, the standard is based on the well proven Plan Do Check Act Deming cycle of continuous improvement.

Plan : conduct an energy review and establish  baseline energy performance indicators (EnPIs), objectives, targets and action plans

Do : implement the energy management action plans.

Check : monitor and measure processes and the key characteristics of its operations that determine energy performance against the energy policy and objectives and report the results.

Act : take actions to continually improve energy performance and the EnMS.

ISO have issued a brochure providing back ground information to the standard

feedbackfeedforward for a FM led built environment sector.

Back in 2004/5 I chaired a Constructing Excellence working group, aBeCFM, an collaborative exercise between BE (now Constructing Excellence) and CFM (Centre for Facilities Management) with a remit to explore the collaboration and integrated working across the built environment sectors of design, construction and facilities management.

Following an article in Modern Building Services “What if we bought everything in reverse order” and an associated twitter conversation, I have dusted down the recommendations from the abecfm working group below. They are as relevant today as then, maybe more so in light of the Governments Construction Strategy.

Central thinking was feedbackfeedforward that recognised FM’s unique position and role to feedback of facility knowledge to design / construction at the start of a project and to feedforward facility knowledge into the organisation for organisational improvement.

The feeding back and feeding forward of building in use data and facilities management knowledge is key in helping to close the loop between RIBA stages 7 and 1. (Which should never have been illustrated as a linear process)

  • FM to act as broker for collaborative and integrated process. Early involvement of FM must be a given 
  • Extend culture of collaboration throughout the facilities life cycle, from concept to destruction (Would probably call this Cradle to Cradle now!)
  • Increase awareness of design, construction and fm leverage through better understanding of 1:5:200 ratios 
  • Facilities Management to drive a built environment collaborative approach to sustainability.
  • Adopt a collaborative improvement framework for an integrated FM led sector (such as EQFM or Be Excellent)
  • Assess value for all stakeholders –more focus on value management. Include whole life value statements with all design proposals
  • Integrate processes to address complexity, particularly at interfaces and handover stages
  • Share knowledge for innovation and learning feedback/feedforward 
  • Address people and leadership issues necessary for the transition to an integrated and collaborative, FM led industry

Unfortunately the abecfm.com website that contained more detail and signposted to references and case studies has been removed. But hopefully we can track it down and give it the light of day once again.