What does good ‘Facilities Management Sustainability’ look like? And why aren’t we doing it now?

I was honoured to be invited to the EuroFM ReseCGb8As1WsAA4i1varch Symposium as a guest of EuroFM, held at the recently completed Technology Innovation Centre at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

As promised, here are my thoughts from the day, and further links to the issues I raised during the day, in conversation or in the panel presentation/debate:

  • We do not have luxury to continue being incrementally less bad, and with the built environment’s 40% negative impact, the facilities Management sector, (led by the research community) has a huge opportunity and responsibility to flip to being more good.
  • We have been talking about Sustainable FM for at least a couple of decades, but still we haven’t made any real progress. The environmental impact of how we manage facilities is huge,FM Restorative Sustainability but remains something we struggle to fully understand, to measure and to address.
  • It was good to see Restorative Sustainability language within Keith Alexander’s opening presentation – laying down a challenge to the sector to adopt different thinking for sustainable FM
  • However it was disappointing to see FM research updates or proposals that start from a very dated perspective. Starting from Brundtland’s definition is last decades thinking – and has an odd message, perhaps giving licence to do nothing …. far better to adopt Yvon Chouinard’s (Patagonia) approach – ‘ Sustainability means we give back more than we take” – Restorative or Net Positive FM!
  • I did question the “in depth studies into sustainable building schemes” that have not picked up on the relatively new thinking standards such as Living Building Challenge, Well Building Standard, Cradle to Cradle, Circular Economy and so on. FM research has to be credible and leading edge for practice to listen and adopt.
  • Research proposals presented missed the huge opportunities for FM to engage with the wider sustainability agendas, in particular on people and health issues. (Note: the days theme being People Make FM)
  • Indeed the claim that FM contributes to the health and wellbeing of people needs to be backed up with evidence. Anecdotally, it is possible that FM ( and the wider built environment) could be putting people’s health at risk – through continued inclusion of toxic materials in buildings, (PVC? Formaldehyde glues?), a lack of biophilic thinking, promoting lifts over stairways, standing desks, poor air quality, lighting quality and so on. It is on these ‘health’ issues that the Well Building Standard should be a fundamental part of the sustainable FM agenda.
  • I did note that on the tour of the 3 month old BREEAM Excellent TIC Building, prior to the symposium, many of the FM delegates commented on the ‘new building smell’ – unfortunately now an indicator that chemicals may have been used in the finishes and adhesives.CGa3mDhWgAAPrZI
  • It was good to see the work in development on Smart Cities and Internet of Things from Prof Keith Jones at Ruskin University, showing the collaborative joined up research necessary to address complex (as in complexity theory) and wicked problems of sustainable smart cities.
  • Research to Practice was the theme for the end of day panel session where access to research by FM practice was discussed. I still wonder why research is blind to social media? As an example there were only two of us tweeting (myself @fairsnape and Iain @IainMurray) – but still our tweets reached approx 20k accounts, all researchers, would I am sure, like to have seen their research message reach 20k accounts.
  • It was, as ever, a real delight to introduce Living Building Challenge thinking and the Bullitt Centre to the EuroFM Research to Practice panel session. This is where sustainable EuroFM Sustainability FM thinking needs to be, driving a wedge into the future, demonstrating what is possible, not wrestling with a dated definition of sustainability.
  • the World FM Day on 10th June celebrates Building Resilience for the Future as an online debate throughout the day – a great opportunity for the FM Research community to engage and share their work.
  • Also on the 10th June the Brightest Greenest Buildings Europe virtual expo opens – again a free to attend event giving an opportunity to learn, share and engage with others across Europe.UK_collaborative_logo
  • And, also on 10th June, (a busy day!) our Living Building Challenge UK Collaborative meets at Leeds Beckett to explore the issue of healthy and materials.

If any of the above comments seem a little negative and critical, forgive me, but the intention is to be constructively so, and after all, one of the Living Building Challenge advocacy messages is to ‘stir the pot’, … o challenge current thinking.

Related Links:

Living Building Challenge

Well Building Standard (see also Vicki Lockhart Well Building presentation here)

Bullitt Centre  @bullittcentre  and (see also my interview with Denis Hayes)

Bullitt Centre added value report: Optimizing Urban Ecosystem Services: The Bullitt Center Case Study

Bullitt Centre – From Roots to Canopy

Cradle to Cradle

Circular Economy – Circulate

Responsible Business – Yvon Chouinard

Research and Social Media: Rethinking Sustainability Research: Eight Global Challenges and  my presentation to UCLan CSD 

Restorative Sustainability: Future Restorative

Living Building Challenge UK follow @livingbldgUK

Brightest Greenest Buildings EU  – the EU Virtual Expo for Built Environment (opens 10th June)

World FM Day – 10th June – Building Resilience for the Future

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RegenerativeBIM … moving the GreenBIM debate

green bimBuilding Information Management offers huge benefits to Sustainability and to GreenBuild, but needs to move from GreenBIM to RestorativeBIM

Bringing together the two most important themes of todays built environment, Sustainability and BIM, the ThinkBIM and Green Vision programmes at Leeds Beckett are setting the agenda for GreenBIM.

However we need to guard against GreenBIM falling into a trap of being Sustainability and BIM as usual, but to move GreenBIM into the visionary, Regenerative Sustainability arena, as adopted by Green Vision through their association with the Living Building Challenge.

Rethinking BIM for the Ecological Age

It does seems a waste that all the creative and innovative thinking and energy being put into BIM should only incrementally improve built environment sustainability, and that we will be a little less bad next year, a bit more less bad by 2018

Aligning the innovation of BIM and the forward thinking of Regenerative Sustainability provides an immense opportunity that could and should powerfully push the overall built environment agenda forward. And, through the intelligence of a RegenerativeBIM, ensure that each element, not just the building, contributes in a net-positive manner, doing more good, not just doing incrementally less bad.

Where GreenBIM is today and where Green BIM needs to be, RegenerativeBIM.
Where GreenBIM is today and where Green BIM needs to be, RegenerativeBIM.

Imagine then if every building, indeed every ‘facility’ was designed, constructed and operated through a RegenerativeBIM, that;

> is designed and constructed specifically in relation to its ‘place’, positively impacting and benefiting its immediate environment.

> becomes a provider of water, cleaning all that falls on the building and providing clean water to adjacent facilities.

> generates more energy than required and contributes the net positive difference to nearby homes, community buildings.

> contains no harmful materials. There should be no place in a GreenBIM for materials on Red Lists. An intelligent RestorativeBIM could not allow materials or products such as PVC, formaldehyde, or SPF’s. Every Product Data Sheet would include the elements of the Living Product Challenge, with every product having a net-positive Handprint

>  are based on biophilic and biomimic principles. RegenerativeBIM would constantly ask the question, How would nature approach this?

> focus on a positive, salutogenetic health principle – on making people healthy, not as present on the negative stopping people getting less ill. (Big difference!)

> cleans the air, emitting better quality than intaking.

> delights and encourages creativity …

> intelligently and digitally inspires and educate the next …. BIM.

Such an approach is not only possible but arguably the responsible approach we must take. An approach that in a short time could be the accepted way of designing, constructing and maintaining buildings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These ideas will be explored further in upcoming ‘GreenBIM’ events hosted through Green Vision, ThinkBIM and CE Yorkshire.

Watch this space.

Could Google technology transform BIM and the built environment?

Snapseed (2)Have Google developed the next era of Building Information Modelling (BIM Level 3?) or even an alternative?

Reports via GLOBES News from Google X , the company’s secret development unit, (the unit responsible for driverless cars and Google Glass) provides exciting but tantalising news of a new construction technology, known as Genie. Google X’s construction technology project had a budget of $5 million.

Genie is described as a ‘platform with online-based planning applications to help architects and engineers in the design process, especially for skyscrapers and large buildings. The platform includes planning tools of expert architects and engineers and advance analytics and simulation tools. Genie standardises and automates the design and construction processes with unlimited design options, enabling an architect to preserve the building’s uniqueness in the urban environment’

And, not surprisingly given Googles interest and activity in sustainability and healthy buildings, ‘Genie was presented as a revolutionary technology for the construction of sustainable and environmentally-friendly buildings of a quality never before known’ (Google fund healthy construction product programmes in the US and are reportedly looking to use the Living Building Challenge Red List material approach on the new London project) 

Linking the transparency of construction products into BIM objects, (or Genie objects?) giving more information for selecting healthy, responsible materials seems a likely approach in a left field shake up for construction as  ‘a  technology  that will change the conservative global construction industry through a fundamental and revolutionary change in how buildings are designed, built, and maintained’

And … with big ambitions

Genie could save 30-50% in prevailing construction costs and shorten the time from the start of planning to market by 30-60%.

Not all of Googles projects make it mainstream or survive (think Google Wave) but success Google platforms rapidly gain mass take up (from search to Chrome browser to Google+) and with the global built environment looking for a solution that is perhaps more accessible, more collaborative and at lower cost than BIM, Genie could be a game changer, or even a sector changer.

And where else is there an innovation project with a budget of $5million to address the economic and sustainability failings of the built environment.

One to follow very closely, but it would appear the Genie has been released from a BIM bottle.

The full GLOBES report can be found here

BIM: More than just an information model

Last month I was delighted to present and explore ‘BIM, Building Information Modelling’ with Yorkshire CIBSE members.

I wanted to reinforce a few BIM issues, in particular that

  • BIM is just not about buildings – but facilities
  • BIM is about collaborating and continues the collaborative working journey started way back in Building Down Barriers, Rethinking Construction and others since.
  • BIM needs people collaborating to be a success

and that BIM is more than just an information model.

Here is Simon Owens, (@CalibreSimon excellent commentary from the evening:

The evening started with an introduction from Jim Marner of the B&ES expressing the belief that there is something of a “genetic  flaw” that leads the industry to perpetuate problems, 80% of which he believes could be resolved at pre-contract stage and mainly relate to design and procurement. Jim went on to say that he sees BIM as being an opportunity to create a new model leading to more projects being completed with a greater level of success than previously.

Having laid the foundations for the discussion to follow Paul gave an overview and then went on to talk about the challenge of the 2016 BIM target and how SES had embraced it to prepare for that deadline and gain advantage. What they have found is that for advantage to be realised, general understanding of BIM, cost of implementation and construction industry methodology would need to be addressed.

Paul discussed how poor models would be of limited value and that issues regarding the transfer of data between Architects, Modellers and other disciplines can hinder the cornerstone of BIM; that of being able to use information more than once and smooth out procurement processes.

Lee then discussed the technology side of BIM within SES and how they use AutoCAD as a basic package with Revit for Stage E moving on to AutoDesk Fabrication (formerly FABMep+ and CADmep+ as separate packages, now merged), their own system to quantify costs before NavisWorks for 3D visualization, clash detection, coordination, presentations and bringing models in from other packages.

The idea is that core information comes in at one end and is progressed through the system until the final result is produced and he demonstrated the value of using information more than once by extracting design data for a module and importing it in to their cost system. He then showed how the system could provide a list of the constituent parts, costs and labour for that module. While very impressive, Lee was keen to point out that to reach the stage of being able to make it look that easy had taken several years and many hours of development.

Paul raised the following discussion points as part of his rounding off:
– The industry appears keen to embrace BIM and its expected benefits, but there are still factors holding it back such as knowledge and questions of achieving return on investment.
– Who are the BIM Heroes and where are they coming from?
– Whether the industry as a whole is ready for the necessary culture change as opposed to merely buying the appropriate packages/technology.
– There are still inefficiencies within project procurement which BIM may not be able to fully help address.

As a final statement he talked about the need to blur the boundaries between the various stages of building and the different parties involved to achieve the necessary degree of collaborative working needed for all to benefit.

This final statement led very nicely on to Martin’s presentation Copy of Martins presentation here where he started with a definition of BIM as follows:

“The total and virtual modelling of all aspects of a facility prior to construction, during construction and in use.”

Martin stressed the word facility as he believes that clients do not commission buildings, but places which have to fulfil a purpose. He then compared the 13 month build period of the Empire State Building at the rate of 1 story a day with a maximum of 3400 people on site and one contractor with Ropemaker Place which took 3 years, had a maximum of 500 people on site and 140 contractors. What happened to progression? Complexity of building, process and organisational complexity as well as inefficient production were given as reasons; things that Jim referred to at the start, that SES has been developing BIM to minimise and something which Martin believes can be avoided through collaboration.

The origins of BIM go further back than most people think with its roots being in “Building Down Barriers” (pre-dating Egan) and Richard Saxon’s “Be Valuable”, a book he recommends reading. Richard Saxon is now the UK Governments BIM Ambassador who has introduced regional people to promote BIM at a more local level.

Martin asked whether technology was ruling the roost, or enabling the process; the clear thing is, he stated, if BIM is to lead to a 20% cost reduction by 2016, but is costing the industry more now, it is going in the wrong direction and only has a short while to make up ground, a concern of Paul’s when there are just over 3 years to go.

Taking communication as the root issue of many problems Martin described how email was used as a “splatter gun” while an effective BIM process will see all information relating to a scheme in a central point, ordered and accessible to all involved.

This is indeed a step change for the industry and he feels that the education system is teaching students about the old way; failing to show their students about the culture that the industry is adopting for the future.

So how to move forward?
– Get all parties involved, especially the smaller players
– Be comfortable with paperless sharing
– Be comfortable using social media sharing and its place in BIM

To make the point Martin likened taking social media away from young people to telling the previous generation that they waste too much time talking on their mobile ‘phone.

As a partial answer to where are the BIM heroes, he suggested that they are the people who are using Minecraft, Second Life etc. to design virtual worlds could well be those people given suitable understanding of construction.

With his presentation drawing to a close Martin talked briefly about Honda how “everything they do, goes in to everything they do” and the development of their culture, mind set and working practices to eliminate waste.

As a final comment, Martin highlighted the thought that we’ve tried solving the problem with technology, found it didn’t work and needed to go back to collaboration and then design the technology to facilitate that.

For further thoughts there is a Tweetchat about BIM using #TBim as a hashtag on the 29th Nov at 8pm – for details about what one is click here

There is also the thinkBIM network which holds regular meetings and discussions around BIM and its development. For further information visit:

http://ckehub.org/thinkbim

It is also worth looking out for BIM Storms click here for details

Please do get in touch by email, twitter (@fairsnape) or leave a comment below if you wish to discuss any of the BIM issues raised here.

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

Will BIM move to FIM? (Webinar 16/4/10)

The concept of a Facilties Information Model as a more encompassing, arching umbrella model to a Building Information Model has been discussed over the last few years, but with little (public) evidence of use in practice.

I guess in some ways it reflects the larger discussion between construction and facilties management, between the provision of buildings and use of buildings. And, as in practice we see FM and endusers taking a more prominent role in design and construction, we will see BIM become Facilities Information Models.

Good then to see the public debate and webinar How Owners are using BIMStorms scheduled for 16th April: (Info from BIMStorms:)

Owners are looking at BIM in a much broader way, beyond just design and construction. Learn how everyone can learn how to work with information in BIM that brings greater value to owners for the full life-cycle of projects.

Linking Business Requirements to BIM
Early Planning
Design and Construction
Facility Management
Real time sensor data connected to BIM
Managing a portfolio of projects using Real Time BIM data
Creating a feedback loop to work with existing buildings in BIM

Please join us in this webinar that will show how owners such as The Los Angeles Community College, GSA, US Coast Guard, School Districts, are using BIMStorm and the Onuma System to define projects, interact with architects and manage lifecycle information.

April 16
9:00 AM Pacific
10:00 AM Mountain
11:00 AM CT
12:00 PM Eastern
4:00 PM London
5:00 PM Oslo
1:00 AM Tokyo (April 17)

This blog post will be updated after the webinar.

Facilities Information Modeling

The recent white paper BIM and Facilities Management from Autodesk, makes the case to extend Building IM to Facilities IM(or at least to include) 

Building information modeling (BIM) is changing the way buildings are designed and constructed-but is it changing how they’re operated and maintained? Do the benefits of BIM extend to facilities management? This whitepaper focuses on ways that facility managers and FM applications can take advantage of the consistent,coordinated building information that comes from a BIM design process.

And yet this paper misses the point and reinforces the need for the  FM sector to wake up and take hold of the information modelling movement (band wagon or steam roller)  The need for  facilities come first (ie those facilities needed by an organisation to function) around which can be ( but not always necessarily) will be wrapped within a building, hence Information Models should be driven by FM , with BIM a subset.

What should be a wake up call for facilities management sector is the NISP findings, reported in the white paper.

In a 2004 NIST studyi undertaken to estimate the efficiency losses in the U.S. capital facilities industry, it was reported that the annual cost (in 2002) associated with inadequate interoperability among computer-aided design, engineering, and software systems was $15.8B. 

The study went on to report that owners and operators shouldered almost two thirds of that cost as a result of their ongoing facility operation and maintenance.

Or as commented recently at a BIM seminar – buildings are becoming too complex and should be taken out of the remit of facilities management.

(Discuss!)

Related

BIM Boom

Facilities Information Modeling at Be2campnorth 15th May 

IT and FM Disconnect a barrier to green buildings?