Exploring the value of BIM for corporate real estate

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 2016, 18 (4), pp. 254 - 269
Issue Date:
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© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose: Building information modelling (BIM) offers rich opportunities for property professionals to use information throughout the property life cycle. However, the benefits of BIM for property professionals are largely untapped. BIM was developed by the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector to assist in managing design and construction data. As these technologies mature and evolve, so does the opportunity for other professional groups to use data within, or linked to, BIM models. This paper aims to explore the potential for corporate real estate managers (CREM) and investment surveyors to use data contained in BIM models and building management systems, which could help these professionals with strategic planning, portfolio rationalisation and acquisitions. Design/methodology/approach: This is a scoping study to explore the potential to expand the scope of BIM to other professional activities. As such, the research adopted a Delphi approach with a series of workshops with experienced stakeholders in Australia and England. Qualitative research is inductive and hypothesis-generating. That is, as the researcher assimilates knowledge and information contained in the literature, ideas and questions are formed, which are put to research participants, and, from this process, conclusions are drawn. Findings: It is technologically feasible for some property professionals, such as CREM, to use some data contained within BIM, and linked building management systems. The types of data used by property professionals were identified and ranked in importance. Needs are varied, both in the range of data and the points in the property life cycle when they are required. The benefits identified include potentially accessing and using more reliable and accurate data in professional tasks; however, challenges exist around the fidelity of the data and assurances that it is current. Research limitations/implications: The key limitations of the research were that the views expressed are those of a select group of experienced practitioners and may not represent the consensus view of the professions and industry as a whole. The limitations and criticisms of focus group data collection are that individuals holding strong views may dominate the sessions. Practical implications: The findings show that expanding access to BIM could enable some property professionals, including CREM, to utilise relevant data that could improve the quality and accuracy of their professional services. A simple initial system could be trialled to ascertain the value of the data. Over time, the availability of data could be extended to allow more professionals access. Furthermore, there is potential to link BIM to other digitised property data in the future. Originality/value: To date, no one has considered the practicality or potential utility of expanding the access to data contained in 3D BIM models to property professionals, nor has anyone considered which data would be useful to them. The value of using BIM data is that, as more property stock is delivered and maintained via BIM-enabled processes, it will be possible for a wider range of professionals such as CREM and investment surveyors to offer more accurate advice and services to clients.
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