Facility Asset Management — Seeds of Healthy BIM

Kimon Onuma
Oct 12, 2015 · 6 min read

In 2014, two large hospital owners opened direct access to their data for use in software applications, including apps that can be used with Building Information Models (BIM.) The Space and Equipment Planning System (SEPS) has been jointly developed as a desktop application for many years by The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense — Defense Health Agency (DHA). Architects and engineers can now use SEPS2BIM to automatically create Building Information Models (BIM). This milestone enables BIM to be the basis for the entire lifecycle of buildings, the equipment and for facility asset management.

The Space and Equipment Planning System (SEPS) is the “seed” of owner requirement knowledge for healthcare facilities. Even before the design work starts a typical hospital has over two million data points such as departments, spaces, size, floor finish, air changes, room equipment, equipment attributes, etc. SEPS is the knowledge base to “grow” healthy BIMs with accurate data that can be managed over time.

Ongoing changes to facility standards are a challenge to keep updated. Data handled in analog and digital formats with no consistency is a huge burden to owners and consultants. The expectation is that data will be perfectly formatted for use in design, construction, maintenance, operations and asset management. This is typically not the case.

Finding Starbucks
Smartphones users have witnessed technology changes in the last few years that have upended expectations about access to information. When the nearest Starbucks is a click away on our phone, why isn’t it the same with our buildings? The need for simple access to facility data lead to SEPS2BIM hosted on MAX.gov, a secure online collaboration platform of nearly 150,000 users. Depending on who the user is, MAX can manage access to data for that user. For example, if an architect needs to find the space and equipment standards for a VA Dental Exam room, they can find that in real time: http://seps2bim.org/space-equipment-aggregator.html

Simple Step — Bold Move
SEPS2BIM uses the the openly available SEPS data in a way that follows the principles identified in the White House Paper “Digital Government Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People”: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/egov/digital-government/digital-government.html.

SEPS was moved from a closed, limited access tool to a web based, services oriented ecosystem in 2014. In one bold move a government hosted database of building data that was accessible to a few, is accessible to many, including the public.

Facility Data Publicly Accessible
By hunting and pecking to find the nugget of information buried in a stack of PDF files and manually transferring this to BIM, healthcare requirement data has been accessible for years in PDFs, documents and other static formats. This results in a lot of the outdated or wrong information.

The services oriented architecture of SEPS2BIM data enables access and search by humans and machines. An Application Program Interface (API) on MAX.gov enables other apps to be built on top of SEPS2BIM. This tectonic shift of owner requirement web data is a first for large healthcare organizations and is producing some ground breaking results. In the past, data access was an all or nothing approach — the whole stack of PDFs, the whole BIM or nothing. SEP S 2BIM allows access at a much more granular level based on user and data needed. This creates more access and a more secure environment. The information is customized for “the user.”

Healthy BIMs
BIMs generate a lot of data. Healthy BIMs need consistent data. Owner requirements that are not consistent need to be interpreted and then manually entered into BIMs. SEPS2BIM enables the automatic communication of owner requirement data that can automatically generate BIMs for the design teams to use as a starting point.

SEPS has unique database IDs that can be tracked to spaces and equipment and all the way into BIMs. The unique IDs can be used for many purposes including tracking changes as the project progresses or adding new information to the BIMs. As the unique IDs are maintained throughout the design process they can be used to deliver data back to the owner in a consistent way to be used in apps for the operations and maintenance of facilities.

App Ecosystem
The SEPS Strategic Plan defined how data from SEPS can be used by other apps. If the data is made accessible through web services: http://seps2bim.org/master-tables.html then apps can read data from SEPS in real time. This promotes an app ecosystem that supports SEPS to flourish. SEPS2BIM is the result of this strategy.

The first few apps that linked live into SEP were BIM tools such as: Revit, NavisWorks, and SketchUp and Onuma System. A non-BIM medical planning database with a lot of BIM data, Attainia, used the same unique IDs coming out of SEPS and associated more detailed medical equipment data to the planning process. This was milestone since Attainia typically is used in late design phase after decisions are locked down. By making Attainia data accessible on day one, when the owner requirements come out of SEPS, the designers are able to see options and collaborate with medical planners in real time. This all happened in the span of a few months after the first public access to SEPS data was opened.

This is just the beginning since there are plans to build new apps that link to the SEPS data. The SEP S 2BIM Ecosystem is healthy since the apps share the same data and do not have to translate from one system to the next. More time can be spent on value added tasks such as the design of facilities for VA and DHA. Future functionality that cannot be imagined today will evolve from this ecosystem.

The Entire Life Cycle End to End
SEPS2BIM is the initial seed that generates the rules of what is needed in building. A parallel project driven by DHA is Federal Integrated Facility Management (FED iFM). FED iFM includes SEPS but also goes into the entire facilities life cycle. Consistent, repeatable data is an asset throughout the life cycle of facilities for all stakeholders from cradle to grave and beyond.

Although SEPS2BIM and FED iFM started with healthcare facilities the same structure works for any facility type or an entire city. Other owner organizations have been invited by VA and DHA to share in the use and development of this ecosystem.

Choose a process that generates value for your organization as an owner or consultant that supports owners.

10.20 ~ 21.15
- National Academy of Sciences, Asset Leadership - Washington, DC
10.23.15 - Hack for Health - Pasadena, CA
10.31.15 - World City Day & International Government BIM Symposium -Shanghai, China
11.12.15 - CITA BIM Gathering - Dublin, Ireland
11.20.15 - Facilities Strategies Medicine & Health - San Diego, CA
1.11 ~ 15.16 - NIBS Building Innovation 2016 - Washington, DC
3.22.16 Federal Real Property Association Washington, DC

SEPS 2 BIM and FED iFM Team:
Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency
Department of Veterans Affairs — Construction & Facilities Management
Office of Management and Budget MAX.gov Team, Budget Systems Branch
National Institute of Building Sciences
ONUMA, Inc., Facility Ecosystem Strategic Planning, Implementation & Data Consultant
Netspective, MAX Technology and Implementation
The PMC Group, LLC, Cybersecurity Consultant
Hagan Technologies, LLC, Strategy and Outreach Consultant
Murphy Tate LLC, Implementation Consultant
4D Pipeline, Software Developer

SEPS 2 BIM and FED iFM Contributors:
Asset Enabler Network
Balfour Beatty
BIM Education Co-op
4Site Press
Gehry Technologies
HFR Design
Malcom Junkin
Onuma System
3D Warehouse
SEPS2BIM Aggregator Tools
Scarmack Architecture
SmithGroup JJR
The Innova Group
US Army Corps of Engineers

SEPS2BIM: http://SEPS2BIM.org
FEDiFM: http://FEDiFM.org
VA SEPS 2 BIM: http://www.cfm.va.gov/til/SEPS2BIM.asp
Scheduled Presentations: http://seps2bim.org/events.html
Healthcare BIMStorm: https://goo.gl/VkggjT
AEC Hackathon: http://seps2bim.org/hackathon.html

Photo Credits:
Los Angeles : Tree : Seed

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