New Era of BIM Lifecycle Implementation

Part 1: An Overview of How The ISO 19650 Series Affects Asset Management

Written by Microdesk EAM Assistant Director Jeff Chen and VP of Asset Management George Broadbent.
Originally published in civil+structural Engineer.


The understanding of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has gradually expanded from a 3D replacement of traditional 2D CAD drafting to a very broad term that describes the process of creating and managing digital models of buildings (or other structures). As a result, the demands and expectations of BIM workflows are increasing. Asset owners and clients have recognized and are excited about the present and future benefits coming from BIM utilization during the asset delivery phase. They have already started to outline BIM’s integration in the operational phase as the sensible next step in BIM’s Lifecycle Implementation.

Despite the slower than hoped for pace of the AECO industry’s globalization and adoption of its processes, requests for collaborative approaches for collecting, creating, managing, and sharing information have intensified. The advent of the ISO 19650 series is a timely response to the call for a standardized process to regulate BIM-related information management throughout the entire asset life cycle.

ISO 19650

Generic Project and Asset Information Management Life Cycle.

ISO 19650’s development has been based on the UK 1192 series, which was produced following the government’s BIM Level 2 initiative. As the first international BIM ISO Standard, ISO 19650 enables teams around the world to enhance efficacy and efficiency through a set of common information management approaches. Currently, ISO 19650 parts 1 and 2 have been released, and focus on concepts and principles, and delivery phase of the assets, respectively.  Parts 3 and 5 are advancing and scheduled for release in 2020. Part 3 will concentrate on the operational phase of assets, and part 5 will focus on the specifications for a security-minded approach to the management of information as it relates to sensitive assets. The ISO 19650 series, along with a region-specific requirements appendix will comprehensively define the collaborative process for the effective management of information through the delivery and operational phase of assets when BIM is being used for the first time on a global basis.

PIM & AIM & Digital Twin

Diagram of PIM, AIM/Digital Twin, and its relationship to physical assets.

The Project Information Model (PIM) and Asset Information Model (AIM) have been defined by BIM Level 2 as adjoined stages of Common Data Environment (CDE). As shown in Figure 1, the PIM is developed during the delivery phase of a project, starting from a design intent model, and eventually becoming an as-built model to represent the real as-constructed condition of the built asset. After that, the PIM transfers to the AIM to continue informing asset management (AM)/facility management (FM) during the operational phase. Ideally speaking, the AIM should be considered the “digital twin” of built assets, or the digital replica of vital physical assets, processes, locations, systems, and devices that can be operated and analyzed for various purposes. When aligned with BIM Level 2, ISO 19650 cogitates over principles and processes to refine data interoperability and integrity during the handoff from PIM to AIM. Figure 2 illustrates the transition from PIM to the Facility Information Model (FIM) and the relationship between a Digital Twin and its corresponding physical assets.

Use CDE to Fill the Gaps

CDE refers to the single source of information used to collect, create, manage, and share both graphical and non-graphical data for all project stakeholders. In ISO 19650-2, it clearly states that “…Prior to generating information, each task team shall check that they have access to the relevant reference information and shared resources within the project’s common data environment….”

ISO 19650-3, which will be introduced later this year, will cover the operational phase of assets. However, similar CDE-based data management logic will be applied to the entire data management process throughout the whole BIM lifecycle. While there is still about one year to welcome the completely new ISO release, it would be beneficial to investigate the practices of BIM-AM/FM integration, evaluate current implementation efficiency and efficacy, and perform gap analysis from a data management perspective to prepare the industry for global BIM Level 2 adoption.

Gap in PIM/AIM Handoff

Illustration of information asymmetries and process defects between Delivery Phase and Operational Phase.

When talking about BIM’s integration into the operational stage, we are one step ahead of actual BIM utilization in the larger AECO industry, which places us in a bittersweet situation. On one side, we have been able to foresee the promising and appealing long-term benefits coming from BIM-integrated AM/FM. These have been supported by a few good and substantially successful cases. On the other side, we have experienced spending extra effort to overcome difficulties regarding data sufficiency, interoperability, and consistency, mainly from upstream phases. The absence of an industrial level consensus of asset data classification, and codification is a major contributor to these difficulties. Meanwhile, a bigger problem is the data requirements and demands from the operational phase cannot be completely included in the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Process or reflected in BIM relevant regulations, standards, and contractual languages or  utilized to  conduct the data collection and preparation processes during the delivery phase. In short, a variety of factors, from perspectives of taxonomy, business process, PM approaches, policies and regulations, etc., is jeopardizing the data interoperability, integrity, sufficiency, consistency, and accuracy during the handoff from PIM to AIM. Figure 3 illustrates the current information asymmetries and process defects between the delivery and operational phases.

Current Practice

A good example of a commonly used standard is Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie), along with other classification/codification systems suggested by UK 1192, or the proposed ISO 19650-3. Under “ideal” conditions, region-specific requirements regulated by the requirements appendix is supposed to diminish all the data barriers between handoffs, as well as complete the lifecycle of BIM data flow. However, a lot of issues are proving difficult to resolve. It is close to impossible to require all owners and facilities to reach consensus on classification and codification to structure their assets. For most owners, when COBie fails to meet their Enterprise-level Asset Management (EAM) standard (i.e., asset types are out of building and scope), they start to build their own system. In this case, if the owner’s EAM requirements not been able to integrate into the delivery phase in a sufficient manner, a substantial amount of time and work will be required after the delivery phase to fill the gap of data asymmetry. Meanwhile, due to inconsistent data transfer, additional efforts will be required to perform data validation to ensure data interoperability and accuracy.

One of the true advantages the new ISO 19650 series can bring to the industry is its positive impact on the current BIM lifecycle implementation from the principle and process level. The combination of part 1 (concepts and principles), part 2 (delivery phases of assets), and part 3 (operational phases of assets) provide a high-level, generic structure to ensure holistic data management processes. These can be streamlined throughout the delivery and operational phases, by addressing the following questions:

  1. What kind of data will the operational phase need?
  2. How can I make certain these data are collected?
  3. How can I ensure these data will be accessible and readable by the operational phase?

What is Happening Now

A proposed CDE data flow diagram derived from BIM LEVEL 2 Illustration.

Some remarkable efforts have contributed to “BIM to FM” (or “PIM to AIM”) integration to improve the BIM lifecycle implementation. This work has led to a better understanding of the true value of BIM.

For example, one technical service consultancy developed a customizable “BIM to FM” solution to help their client incorporate FIM into their daily FM operations, and take advantage of the asset data embedded in PIM without replacing their existing asset classification and codification. Additionally, clients benefit from a holistic strategic implementation plan for the BIM to FM workflow by incorporating FM requirements into delivery phases. This has been achieved by performing a thorough requirement analysis of the existing FM system and ensuring corresponding data requirements are established for each delivery stage so asset data can be captured and streamlined during the development phases of the project (Design, Construction, and Commissioning).

The diagram depicts a backflow to indicate operational phase data requirements as inputs to upstream stages, to conduct asset-mined data collection in preparation for the AM/FM phase. At the same time, requirements are in place on related BIM standards, BIM Execution Plans (BEPs), contractual languages, and other peripheral documents to enforce the data transfer during each model handoff to ensure data interoperability, consistency, and accuracy.

This positions the FIM, or the Digital Twin of a physical asset as a living model that can synchronize with Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) to update itself on a timely basis. The bidirectional data flow between AIM and CMMS keeps the model ready for the next delivery cycle, and enables additional functionalities (e.g., analytics and reporting) to utilize AIM during the longest stage of asset’s life cycle.

What is the Future

As a first step toward a truly connected future, efficient and effective data transfer in a well-defined CDE is critical for the global industry to move forward from its current status. BIM Level 3 has not been fully defined yet.

The trend of data fusion and integration is pushing the entire industry towards the next era with IOT-enabled, data-driven connected operations fundamentally changing the way that current asset management is being utilized. We are eagerly waiting for the release of ISO 19650 parts 1 and 2 with parts 3 and 5 following. As the first International Standard to cover both the delivery and operational phases, ISO 19650 series will build the global consensus on streamlined data management from PIM to AIM, and raise the bar of the current AECO industry by creating an entirely new standard of measurement of true BIM lifecycle implementation.    

More detailed information will be covered in the second part of this article: From PIM To AIM – A Detailed Look at How the ISO 19650 Series Affects Asset Management.