BIM-based information exchange framework to support facilities management systems

  • Sandra T. Matarneh

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Despite the fact that the value of extending Building Information Modelling (BIM) implementation through the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) phase is simply to reduce the O&M costs associated with inadequate interoperability, Facilities Management (FM) information flow is neither automated nor seamless. The outcomes of the exploratory study in this research reveal that facility managers do not normally use BIM data, since they claim that BIM data models either do not include their data requirements or contain a huge amount of superfluous data which makes data exchange process tedious and overwhelming. Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) is developed to improve the facility data handover and to support FM systems. However, semi-structured interviews with industry practitioners in this research reveal that COBie has its limitations to generate all FM required information, particularly planned preventive maintenance information. Moreover, in the most current practice, most manufacturers are not ready yet to provide objects ready for BIM inclusion, therefore a manual data entry is still required to provide FM systems with the required data input.
To overcome these limitations, this research proposes a new approach that integrates BIM data with other that data sources into BIM-based platform to link the required information to support FM systems and generate rich COBie spreadsheet that includes all required information including planned preventive maintenance data and products manufacturing data. The core motivations behind the proposed solution are: (1) a tailored BIM-based framework could be used as a data repository approach to capture, store and manage facility information in a proper structure to generate data output that match FM systems inputs, (2) data can be extracted from different sources using an open data formats and then generated in the form of open data standards to streamline information exchange process between BIM and FM systems, and (3) to provide one single source of facility digital information for the various FM systems to overcome interoperability issues both between BIM and FM systems, and FM systems themselves from the other side.
The scope of this research is limited to COBie compliant as-built models; however, the basic methods and principles could be also applied to COBie non-compliant as-built models. This research is in five phases. In the first phase, the research explores the most current implementation of BIM in FM practice by conducting a systematic literature review followed by a series of semi-structured interviews and questionnaire survey. The outcomes of the first phase necessitated the need for identifying information requirements of BIM to support FM systems which has been performed in the second phase, and the concept development of the interoperability framework for seamless information exchange between BIM and FM systems which has been established in the third phase of this research. A prototype was then created in the fourth phase of this research based on MSSQL server to support the implementation of the proposed approach. The system allows not only the storage of facility information from different sources in a central database but also to link the required information output for FM systems input using relational database management system, and to generate the required information in the form of COBie spreadsheet. The prototype was developed using C#, ASP.NET and AJAX programming languages to support the implementation of the proposed method. Preliminary testing results using a real case study of the Future Technology Centre of the University of Portsmouth show that the proposed system is capable of retrieving and generating relevant information in the form of open data format to support FM systems. After the system was tested, a validation step followed in the fifth phase to collate the potential user’s feedback on the usefulness and usability of the proposed system. The validation results indicate that the system prototype has achieved the aim of the research by streamlining information exchange process between BIM and FM systems.
The contribution of this research is the novel approach of integrating various data sources including BIM data and transfer the required information seamlessly into FM systems. The practical significance of this research is that the proposed approach enables the development of BIM-based information exchange software to support FM systems, provide one single source for digital facility information to overcome interoperability issue between BIM and FM systems and between FM systems themselves, and accordingly to enhance facilities information management practice. This research provides evidence that traditional data sources can be aligned with BIM data to support FM systems. One significant advantage of the proposed method is to combine the benefits of both traditional data sources and BIM data to support FM systems and have the minimum disruption to the existing working processes.
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorMark Danso-Amoako (Supervisor), Salam Albizri (Supervisor) & Mark Gaterell (Supervisor)

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