Technologies are redefining facilities management, which is changing the levels of comfort and functionality users expect from their buildings. Modern structures are highly automated and equipped with a variety of control systems that enable facility managers to optimise resource use and manage their smart building infrastructures. The integration of all these novel facility management service components into a workable model is the key issue at hand.
It is estimated that the construction industry is worth about $10.7 trillion globally and is expected to reach $15.2 trillion by 2030; this accounts for about 10% of the global GDP. Interestingly, the current global property market is estimated to be $3.8 trillion and is expected to reach $5.85 trillion by 2030. Residential and commercial buildings consume about 40% of global energy, and they are responsible for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The demand for commercial and residential buildings will steadily increase in the coming years as the global population soars. With these challenges in mind (coupled with the prospect of cutting greenhouse emissions globally), using virtual twins in construction and facility management is a sustainable way to get closer to net zero buildings and infrastructure.
Common challenges for data-driven facility management
The foundation of improving facility planning, maintenance, operations and management starts with understanding data. The true value of a properly executed digital twin is most likely to be realized during a facility’s lifecycle, but only if the right data collection and management choices are made during (and even before) the software set-up process.
Therefore, making sure teams ask the right questions is paramount to the success of a project. Some questions to consider during the set-up, testing and rollout process when implementing new BIM, virtual twin or facility management software include:
What information is required to make sure that this facility runs smoothly on a daily basis?
- What data is needed to sustain a building for the duration of its life after construction?
- How does a facility’s owner or operator make use of the data gathered during a project once it is handed over?
- How do they manage, evaluate, and retain that data over the course of a facility’s life? Are the data even used by them?
- Does the owner/operator have the information necessary to maintain the facility?
- What is the estimated lifetime of the facility?
Improving facility design and project integration requires having a clear understanding of the information that is required when, why, and by whom.
How can virtual twins streamline digital facility management?
A digital twin facility management software that incorporates virtual modelling gives the more standard 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) a new level by including real-time data gathered from connected sensors and intelligent IoT devices.
In the growing era of smart buildings, some of the most important technologies are those employed in planning and governance. Digital building designs provide the foresight that is necessary for developers, builders, and operational managers at any stages of a construction project.
The concept of the “digital twin” is now well-known in the manufacturing, construction, and facility management sectors. The benefits of BIM virtual twin technology, such as better reliability, improved production and safety, and increased cost-efficiency, are already being leveraged by each of these industries. Digital twins can duplicate the full built ecosystem rather than just one asset when used with facility management software for digital twins. This implies that they are able to make a digital replica of an entire facility, including its supporting networks and infrastructure.
Virtual building twins also provide a foundation of data resources that can aid in the construction and design of new facilities, allowing easier oversight of energy consumption and maintenance schedules throughout the facility’s life cycle, and also allowing for remote and autonomous asset control for facility managers.
Here are some of the key ways using virtual twins and BIM software can help streamline your building’s facility management operations:
- Reduce the need for in-person site visits with virtual walkthroughs
- increasing operations output and quicken turnaround time
- Reduce facility downtime with preventative and planned maintenance
- Track progress and avoid disputes with detailed audit and inspection trails
- Reduce maintenance rework, errors, and additional costs
- Boost teamwork with safe access, real-time communication and up-to-date plan sharing
A bright future ahead for virtual twin in facility management
The emergence of BIM and virtual twins during a building’s life cycle isn’t a coincidence; it’s a result of necessity. Buildings are more intricate than ever, with intricate systems and subsystems that must function harmoniously. On the other hand, we also have higher expectations for our places than ever before. Regardless of the design purpose, businesses are constantly coming up with fresh, creative methods to make the most of available space. The evolving conversation around global warming, sustainable construction, net zero infrastructure and carbon emissions also calls for a sustainable approach to reducing emissions and energy consumptions.
Digital twin modeling enhances traditional smart facility management software with highly accurate, as-is digital descriptions of every aspect of a built asset. They make it possible to simulate dynamically changing facility conditions in an incredibly accurate manner, highlighting contrasts between the original design and actual operations. Planners, owners, and contractors may pinpoint present issues with unparalleled accuracy, foresee hazards, and predict future changes with the use of detailed, real-time virtual facility models.
The use of BIM and digital twin software is used in all phases of managing smart facilities, from asset monitoring to operations, and is quickly emerging as a key component of solutions for smart facilities and construction intelligence. Together, they have made it possible for structures to be dynamic, sustainable and efficient from design to operation.