A similar story applies to OmniClass®, which includes both Master- Format® and UniFormat™ and provides an extensible and flexible structure for adding new elements. It is deemed to be more suitable than other coding systems for facility management. While it mitigates some of the drawbacks observed in other coding standards, disadvan- tages have been found. For example, not all the scopes of the tables incorporate Architecture, Civil, and Building Sciences/Engineering. Also, OmniClass® has varying levels of tables, which lead to inconsis- tency in the level of description of the components. Furthermore, the inconsistent grouping of objects inside the tables causes discrepancies in the specification. Difficulties in the mapping between the tables and some deficiencies have also been observed. The Work Results Table has shortcomings throughout the entire project timeline and in all procurement routes. OmniClass®’ complexity is the biggest drawback preventing adoption for facility management use. Simple is Not Always Better UniFormat™ is another classification standard still in use today. As discussed before, UniFormat™ was initially designed for estimating purposes, which implies its target audiences were not involved in BIM2FM transition. It is very interesting to note clients do choose Uni- Format II or 2010 significantly more than COBie to build their asset data dictionaries for their CMMS (like IBM Maximo). One of the key reasons is UniFormat™, compared to any other classification standard, is easy to understand. Simplicity is UniFormat™’s strength, but also its drawback which keeps it from emerging as the go-to classification system for Facility Management. UniFormat™ (both UniFormat II and UniFormat 2010) uses a linear top-down structure. Picture the structure like plant/animal taxonomy - an object can only be categorized under one hierarchy chain (as shown in Figure 3). It is illegal in UniFormat™ to have one object, like water distribution, categorized under multiple systems. This is where the problem transpires. With project development, various stages and data drops exponentially expand the total amount of model data. It is almost impossible to main- tain the linear hierarchical structure. A very common example is a pump can exist under a hot water system, cold water system, chilled water system, and process water system. This is a violation of UniFor- mat II 2015. In this case, a prefix has to be added to the pump to make it different such as a hot water pump or cold water pump. Considering the size of the facility management program, the final O&M Manual will be thick like a chronicle. UniFormat II (2010) captured the potential risk and integrated CSI’s MasterFormat® as level 5, trying to fulfill everyone’s needs. It works well from the facility management perspec- tive to help each asset or component find a home. However, from the data transition perspective in terms of BIM2FM data handoff, it is an- other story for the next article about BIM lifecycle data management. Conclusion Despite all the standardization efforts to facilitate the data exchange and handoff process, significant complications persist during the implementation stage. While having limitations, all the classification standards can be useful, rational, and practical if the user understands
how to apply them in their scope of work. Users’ domain knowledge and their capability to use these coding standards are significant im- pacting factors that dictate the smoothness of the implementation pro- cess and outcome. In the last decade, even in recent years, many firms have asked about the implementation method of COBie, the transition means from MasterFormat® to OmniClass®, the differences between the two UniFormat versions, and so on. The same questions have come up at BIM conferences, implying this is still a confusing area from the implementer to the user. Everyone embraces the vision of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) but often times without fully understanding what it means. When obstacles arise during the implementation, an ad hoc “Frankenstein” solution for data exchange is used and leads to more complications. As a result, OmniClass® is not often used in the United States. COBie, even highly nominated and promoted, is being gradually phased out more and more often. UniFormat™ is being more frequently used in AM/FM, although still, by a small percentage. AEC firms tend to follow the industrial trend when adopting standards. As the concept of BIM lifecycle implementation is better compre- hended, it becomes more clear that the difficulty of data exchange is about the data exchange standard as well as the methods to handle data mapping and transition. Therefore, creating and tailoring a strategic plan for the entire project lifecycle is both ethical and professional. There was a time when the AECO industry could not speak without referring to BIM4D, 5D, or BIM II. But very few understand the true meaning of these terminologies. The goal is to help all stakeholders reach a mutually agreed data exchange means – show them the right way to streamline the project from the application, data, model and business process levels, without using standards and interactions that can overwhelm them. GEORGE BROADBENT is Microdesk’s Vice President of Asset Management and has worked on a variety of projects including the rollout of Microdesk’s Maximo and Revit integration solution, ModelStream. George works closely with key stakeholders to identify strategies for asset management projects and manages the effort to build out new systems. DR. XIFAN JEFF CHEN is the EAM Assistant Director at Microdesk, and head of EAM Strategic Advisory Service. Jeff specializes in providing strategic consulting services for clients, conducting and implementing BIM, EAM and GIS integrated solutions, and developing digital twin methodologies for lifecycle BIM implementation. DR. EVE LIN is a EAM Strategy Consultant and Sustainability Lead at Microdesk, Dr. Eve Lin specializes in providing strategic and technical solutions for clients to facilitate sustainable practices throughout the project lifecycle. Her involvement includes building performance simulation, design automation, BIM and GIS integration and development of digital twin solutions.
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