Buildings, Information and ‘The Gap’
There’s BIM, BMS and data loggers. And now there’s biix.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is first and foremost design software for buildings. There have been attempts to make the model more robust by including facilities management information (think design data, O&Ms and as-builds) in the model, known as 6D BIM. While technical success has sporadically occurred, widespread adoption of 6D or facilities management information is far from certain.
Building Automation Systems (BMS) have been observing and trending data in buildings since the 1980s. Together with the use of various forms of data logging, energy engineers have been shoveling in reams of data. And that brings up a key point:
The industry uses the term ‘data in buildings’ as though it includes ‘information in buildings’. But ‘information’ in buildings includes far more than trending and energy data. Information is useful ‘right now’ to the user. Data is data.
The Handoff of Information
biix was founded because of what we call ‘The Gap’. The Gap can be described as the ineffective/incomplete transfer of information between the design/construction team to the Owner, once a new building is completed. But The Gap is also all the information stored (or not stored) in existing buildings.
The Gap: it’s about information that either can’t be found or isn’t easily located.
Currently, information is transferred to the Owner using traditional methods: three-ring binders and/or CDs/DVDs. There is typically poor quality assurance to verify that the Owner is getting what they need, and that it is continually accessible to a wide-range of users.
In approximately 2005, to perform a retro-commissioning/O&M Assessment for a two million square foot federal government facility, we deployed a team of six engineers for roughly six weeks — just to find the information we needed to begin the project. That extra time resulted in a costly change order. With biix, that would have been completely preventable.
biix doesn’t focus on data, but rather on information
But perhaps it’s more accurate to call it ‘normalized information.’ Normalized means that it’s not data tucked away in obscure cells of someone’s database. Rather, it’s normal information — rendered in PDFs, MS Word or Excel documents, pictures, reports and drawings. It’s the stuff you need the most when you’re managing or operating a building.