BEYOND LEVEL OF DETAIL INTO AM/FM By George Broadbent, Dr. Jeff Chen, Dr. Eve Lin with Kai Yin, and Jiayi Yan
With the advancement of building and information technologies, Building Information Modeling (BIM) applications have expanded from design and construction phases to support the operational stage of the building life cycle. The buzz term "digital twin," has quickly spread throughout the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operation (AECO) industry as a way to describe the extension of the digital model as a replica of the physical building for use during the operational phase. While the potential advantages of a digital twin are acknowledged, there is still a lot to investigate and explore in terms of the practical applications and transition from design and construction BIM to the operational digital twin phase. Therefore, this five-part series dives into articles on in-depth topics regarding the practice implementation for facility management. In the first article of the series, we give a high-level background of the digital twin, followed by an overview of the fundamental needs of informa- tion representation during the facility management phase, which is different from the design and construction stages. Correspondingly, it introduces a “3X3 Principle,” which is derived from beyond Level of Detail (LOD) to tailor different LOD data analytics and reporting for different user groups, in order to more effectively support facility management during the operational phase. Brief History of Digital Twin The digital twin is an old and, yet, new topic, which is, as its name implies, a virtual representation that serves as the real-world, real-time digital replica of a physical object or process. As early as 2010, NASA initiated its attempt to utilize the digital twin concept to improve physi- cal model simulation for its spacecraft. The manufacturing field then adopted the methodology in the era of Industry 4.0. However, it was not until recently that technology advanced to a stage where a digital twin is within reach for every industry. The digital twin has played an essential role in multiple fields and achieved significant success as a game-changer. The AECO industry continues to embrace BIM and has realized significant improvements in efficiency as a result. BIM adoption has expanded into a global trend and led the industry to extend the BIM lifecycle from the project delivery phase to the operational phase, establishing it as a critical technological component of the digital twin. In today's AECO industry, the concept of a digital twin has gone through a progressive transformation, from snapshots in time to real- time interactive environments. Simultaneously, academic institutions are expanding studies to leverage a digital twin to benefit building
Data Hierarchy of Needs. Credit: Dr. Xifan (Jeff) Chen
operation and maintenance. The term digital twin has been coined to convey its capabilities as a holistic solution to plan, predict, report, and visualize building or infrastructure through the integration of data science, high-fidelity modeling technologies, and state-of-the-art tech - nologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Geographic Information System (GIS) to name a few. BIM-Enabled AM/FM Practices BIM-enabledAsset and Facility Management (AM/FM) workflows have been studied and implemented across industries during recent years. A host of research has addressed the importance of BIM during the de - sign and construction stages, particularly at the building level. BIM has been widely recognized as an invaluable digital approach that facilitates the data exchange in the project delivery lifecycle for all stakeholders. Most applications of these data include but are not limited to design coordination, clash detection, construction simulation, and cost estima- tion. When a BIM application is expanded to the operational phase, the story becomes a bit more complicated. Despite the availability of several established BIM-enabledAM/FM use cases, most of them focus on con - necting the Building Automation System/Building Management System (BAS/BMS) and data analytics/reporting. Most current BIM practices emerged from the standpoint of what tech - nologies can offer rather than what the users want. This technological- centric approach presents a subtle solution design philosophy dilemma that focuses heavily on technology capability and forces the users to adopt the new workflow that might not be the most effective means. On the other hand, a user-centric approach would be a preferred method that involves process optimization and tailors the workflow based on users' needs. Most of the existing BIM-enabled AM/FM solutions lack adaptiveness and resistance for more complicated services and func- tions that would meet stakeholders' expectations. For example, some BIM to FM workflows heavily rely on the sufficiency and accuracy of the as-built model, without acknowledging that a BIM model is often not the main repository of all asset-related models. It is unfair and im- practicable to push the client to change their workflows and business processes. Instead, we should take a more practical and user-centric approach to make the workflow adaptive and flexible enough to match the client’s needs.
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