Wednesday, January 23, 2019

3D-scanning for Quality Control During the Production Phase

Not very often BIM people visit construction sites. Last Monday, however, it was time for an on-site meeting with two representatives from the 3D-scanning firm, Exact, and discuss yet another area where laser scanning could enhance the quality of construction projects. 

At SISAB, we have now started documenting our facilities using our Matterport scanner within an experimental project titled as "Facility Information Modelling" (FIM). The primary focus of the project is creating web based navigable models of the interiors of our school facilities that would enable FM personal, tenants, education authorities and other stakeholders to remotely visit our schools. Further applications such as creating updated drawings, extracting surface areas and maintenance planning will also be examined within the FIM project.

Our Monday visit to Enskedefältets School aimed, however, to plan a different type of experiment: 3D-scanning building structures during the production phase, verifying the resulting point cloud against design-intent BIM models in IFC format and visualizing the potential deviations using 3D-PDF reports including sequential color schemes. More rigorous verification methods as such will eventually compel more accuracy, fewer reworks and increased efficiency in building industry.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Client's Requirements on Information Handover

One of the biggest challenges with digitalization and information management is balancing the efforts put into the top-level comprehensive strategies against hands-on operational aspects. During the Digitalization Day seminar on Tuesday, Victor Cabezas and I presented a mixed account of the two above aspects demonstrating how SISAB contributes to developments in the field as a progressive client organization.

The event was held by Installationsföretagen, a Swedish membership organization for MEP firms. In our half-an-hour time slot, we thoroughly described how we at SISAB define, communicate and verify our requirements on information handover from our consultants and contractors. We also generally presented our future vision for a seamless flow of information across the entire life cycle of our facility portfolio as stipulated in our newly-developed BIM strategy. The very last episode in our presentation was a short glimpse of our ongoing efforts within Facility Information Modelling.

SISAB:s vision for a seamless flow of information across the entire life cycle of our building portfolio
As one of the largest client organizations in Sweden, SISAB is determined to utilize its enormous capacities for raising the bar on information logistics and promote a holistic approach to building information management. In parallel, we strive to optimize our internal information management practice as a means for reinforcing sustainability and safety in our school facilities as articulated in our business concept.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Towards Facility Information Modelling (FIM)

Over recent decades, building information experts have repeatedly faced an aggravating question: How can BIM benefits be attained retrospectively for existing facilities?

3D-scanning of legacy facilities and enriching the resulted models with the required information is one of the most viable solutions.

In 2015, SISAB adopted 3D-scanning as a modern alternative for traditional point-to-point measurement methods. Our legacy facilities are often scanned prior to reconstruction and extension projects when existing documentation is not of the desired quality. Examples of such insufficient documentations are TIFF drawings retrieved from paper sheets or DWG drawings that do not reflect the latest alterations.

Our common routine for 3D-scanning is placing a stationary lidar scanner containing laser triangulation sensors at several spots inside and outside the building. The resulting point clouds are then integrated into one using reference points. The captured point clouds could be alternatively draped by an RGB texture map for adding a realistic touch for virtual navigation and investigation purposes.

Point cloud of a sports hall located in
Bäckehagen school in Stockholm
Initially, we also procured BIM models (often in Revit) produced out of the captured point clouds. The BIM-modelling and objectifying work was done through manual and semi-automatic methods by scanning firms. Later on, however, based on the feedback from our architectural firms, we concluded that the BIM models produced by the scanning firms were often not fully appropriate for design workflows. Architects would rather import the raw point cloud (often in RCP format) directly into their BIM applications as a background framework and model old and new components as they wish and with their preferred level of detail.

Earlier this year in January, I presented a brief account of our 3D-scanning praxis as clarified above for our experts committee at SISAB. I concluded my presentation with few slides on further potentials envisioned by 3D-scanning in production (namely QC/QA) and FM as well as new scanning techniques such as mobile scanning equipment and airborne laser scanners (drones). The committee representatives from our FM department found it interesting and I was thereupon given the opportunity to run another presentation this time for all employees at the FM department. The latter talk covered the broader topic of BIM in FM with a highlighted focus on the potential benefits of the 3D-scanned building models for increasing efficiency in FM.

Emil Nielsen from BIMobject runs the Matterport scanner
At the next stage, the internationally-reputed digital content management firm, BIMobject helped us taking a tangible step and scanning one of our day care centers in Stockholm using the recently-developed fast and economic Matterport equipment. I published a brief account of the experiment at my LinkedIn feed a while ago. 

Last week, we held a second workshop on 3D-scanning of existing buildings. In addition to the participants in the first workshop, our FM and operation division managers, Mari Lindén, Rolf Amble and Lars Johansson, our authorities coordinator, Johanna Erlandsson and our BIM experts, Madeleine Lilja and Victor Cabezas were present and indulged in some hands-on experiments including attaching information points to the scanned model and sketching model-aided workflows. The session was rounded up by a quick exchange of reflections and thoughts. 

The second workshop on 3D-scanning
held on 22nd August at SISAB
The participants unanimously believed that our current FM and operation processes could be made more efficient using scanned models of facilities enriched with the required information and linked documents. The case scenarios addressed by the participants ranged from reducing the time for reporting the location and nature of the occurring failures to more accurate area retrieval and more gratifying tasks for employees. The findings could form the ground for further introduction of more efficient FM and operation practises using scanned models at a larger scale at SISAB. Such attempts may turn to be a prelude to the plausible transition from BIM (Building Information Modeling) to FIM (Facility Information Modeling) in the FM sector.

P.S. You can check out and navigate through the scanned model of the daycare center through the link below (no information is attached here): 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Workshop on Information Management in FM Organizations

It's been slightly more than a year since I took my position as BIM-specialist at SISAB. It was a year full of excitement, joy, genuine insights and intriguing challenges. Taking part in a dozen of projects and receiving loads of daily inquiries and feedback from people involved in creating and using building models and information handover was a an invaluable experience.

Progressing from the clear-cut policy side of BIM to the more arbitrary field of BIM processes revealed a whole new host of both possibilities and problems associated with BIM-implementation. I was though not totally detached from the policy field, rather had a smooth transit from academia to national BIM-networks such as BIM Alliance Sweden. During the last year, I have been involved in a number of working groups of BIM Alliance namely Facility Management, Building Materials, Project Management and Environment & Energy. Parallel to this, I have been participating in a number of R&D Projects within the national strategic program Smart Built Environment. My involvement in networks and projects as such is intended as a contribution to the overall vision of maintaining a seamless flow of information across the entire lifecycle of buildings and infrastructural facilities. At the same time, I strive to bring the collaboratively-formed knowledge in the field back to SISAB and improve our own information modelling and management practice. The ambition level at SISAB for this endeavor is amply high and we have a number of articulate initiatives in progress to realize this.

In February 2018, a one-day workshop preliminarily titled as Information Management in FM Organizations will be held by SISAB. Nationally-renowned experts in the field will gather and contribute to a concentrated brainstorming event in the form of a mix of short talks and round table discussions. The event will be opened by SISAB's CEO, Claes Magnusson, and moderated by the FM business developer and BIM strategist, Lars Lidén from Meta consultants. Senior consultants from such pioneer construction, FM and IT companies as Tyréns, IBM, Sweco and Vasakronan will join in. People from different managerial and technical positions at SISAB and Stockholm Municipality will also be participating. The initial idea for the workshop was conceived by our project and personal coach and my mentor, Stig-Erik Öström.

The talks and discussions will cover both construction and operation phases and span various relevant topics namely BIM and IoT. Narratives of exemplary projects provide substance for discussions around future systems, work flows and organizational setups for an efficient procurement, management and retrieval of facility information as a treasured asset for supporting and optimizing the core businesses of organizations. A number of students from relevant programs will also be present, document round table discussions and contribute with their fresh and innovative ideas.

SISAB's primary mission is producing and maintaining facilities where school kids learn and nurture. At the same time, we genuinely aspire to create forums and platforms where knowledge is created, shared and exploited for the good of the society as a whole.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A whole-life approach to building information management; visions and prospects

Framtidens förskola (The pre-school of the future)
Recently, I have been indulging myself in loads of digital documentations of school facilities of various sizes and complexity. My latest occupation as BIM-specialist at SISAB has provided me an invaluable opportunity for contributing to BIM-development within all the three fields of technology, policy and processes. SISAB is a major client and owner organization and part of Stockholm Municipality. The organization is responsible for planning, design, construction and operation of the majority of school facilities in Stockholm. Its activities span, thereby, the entire lifecycle of facilities. This qualifies SISAB as a leading actor that is eligible for and capable of promoting efficiency in all aspects of construction including information management.

Procuring tens of projects and operating hundreds of facilities annually entails commissioning a host of actors from a wide variety of disciplines ranging from architectural, engineering and project management to maintenance firms. They largely differ in their size, organizational structure and level of expertise; something that has implications for how ambitious SISAB can be with its requirements on the quality of the commissioned work.

A drastic case is setting the requirements on the handover information of facilities. This should be realized through BIM directives and policies that address our requirements on hand-over documents in sufficiently detailed terms. This is though not simply a top-down decision flow. Producing reliable, accurate, non-redundant and complete documentation of building information in forms and formats that enable future use requires a close collaboration among all actors also that everybody is roughly on the same page. Setting the bar too high could deter smaller actors and deprive us of the critical mass of the bidders required for a sufficiently competitive tender process.

A good example of how neglecting this aspect could result in unrealistic expectations is the RIBA Plan of Work. Their initial goal was to implement level-3 BIM (as defined in the Bew-Richards maturity model) in all public sector projects by 2016. Since not all actors possessed the competences required, however, they had to lower their criteria to level-2 BIM after a while.

Our current approach at SISAB for balancing our pace of BIM-implementation against the realities of the market and guaranteeing a soft transition to model-based commissioning is to integrate our BIM ambitions with other flagships initiatives at SISAB namely Framtidens Förskola (The pre-school of the tomorrow). Through this approach, actors who are lagging behind in BIM would be both inspired and informed by the more progressive projects and best practices. BIM-implementation would - in this sense - not be a separate goal by itself rather an indispensable part of the overall vision and mission of the client organization i.e. to provide children with safe and sustainable environment for nurturing and education.