Exploiting BIM and Sensor Data Through Web-Based CAFM: The AR4FM Project

Exploiting BIM and Sensor Data Through Web-Based CAFM: The AR4FM Project

Umberto Di Staso, Marco Piovano, Ambra Barbini, Dominik T. Matt
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7091-3.ch016
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Technological progress and the evolution of the directives concerning the construction sector have led to a significant digitalization of information concerning buildings. One of the challenges that have arisen concerns the use of data in the phases of the life cycle following the construction. How can this information be exploited? Is it possible to use it directly in a facility management tool that is within the reach of expert users and not? The aim of this chapter is reporting the developed framework to support the management and maintenance operations in buildings, defined within the project AR4FM - Augmented Reality for Facility Management. In particular, AR4FM aims to create an innovative software ecosystem that uses the most modern technologies to support facility management (FM) operations through a set of bespoke applications. The first tool is the web-based ICT platform usable through web-browser, while the second tool refers to a mobile App, called AR4FM mobile app, which will enable visualization for both mobile and wearable devices, such as smart-glasses.
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Ensuring an efficient functionality of a building or infrastructure, Facility Management (FM) can significantly affect the economic and environmental impacts of the life cycle. One of the main problems of FM processes is connected to the management of data and documents, developed from the early stage of design, but fragmented and linked exclusively to a specific discipline or phase of the life cycle. This aspect, together with the possible loss of information during the several steps of the building process, results particularly expensive and time consuming for the facility manager that needs to reconstruct a coherent and structured database.

After the financial-economic crisis of 2008, the attention for the optimization of industrial processes and waste reduction has increasingly grown, leading to relaunch and update the FM software market, to support the digitalization of operational and maintenance tasks, as well as planning and monitoring activities. The newest FM software can have different focuses and specialties, for example, the generation of detailed and comparative analysis, collecting and organizing the considerable amount of data in a systemic way, the support in the management of documents and files, deadlines and facility consumption (i.e. energy, water, goods) or the accounting management for operations of different complexity.

At the same time, the whole construction industry is dealing with a digital transformation, promoted by the European Union and implemented by national governments with different strategies. In Italy, the New Procurement Code (D. Lgs. 50/2016) preannounced the mandatory adoption of digital tools, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), for public projects above specific thresholds of economic value, which will progressively decrease from 2019 until 2025.

The spread of BIM implementation, together with the evolution FM software, will progressively lead to a digitalized management of real estate assets. As an information management methodology of the construction process, BIM requires an approach oriented to the creation, sharing and management of data. Similarly, FM software are strongly connected to data acquisition, organization, processing and visualisation. Considering the trend of BIM implementation and digitalization of the construction sector, an informative 3D model could support the development of strategic and operational FM activities.

During the life cycle of a construction, a wide amount of data can progressively be collected and stored within a Building Information Model, in order to be exchanged and further developed by different AEC operators (i.e. designers, suppliers, manufacturers, clients, building companies, facility managers), according to a flexible, integrated and multidisciplinary process. At the same time, considering an existing building and the amount of available data and their heterogeneous nature, the management of data results particularly complex and the exchange of data requires special attention. To avoid working with a model overloaded of unnecessary or redundant data and to prevent the loss of essential data for the planned applications, it could be helpful to apply targeted filters.

The integration of data modelled by different discipline has been studied especially focusing on the design phase, while remains to explore data integration potential during the operational phase. There are several overlapping data between the design phase and the operational phase, therefore BIM data modelled during the design phase, as well as BIM data developed from the survey of an existing building can serve as input data for FM software, in order to optimize the process.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet of Things (IoT): Internet of things is the expression used to describe the extension of the Internet connection to the most varied types of objects. The data collected using special sensors can be exchanged and communicated via the Internet and objects can be monitored and managed remotely.

Geographic Information System (GIS): GIS is a computerized information system that allows the acquisition, recording, analysis, display, return, sharing and presentation of information derived from geographic data.

Level of Developments (LOD): LOD defines the content and reliability of BIM objects at different stages of the project. By “content” means geometric information, structured data and related documentation. By “reliability” means for what uses and to what extent users downstream of the information can trust the accuracy and quality of that content.

Augmented Reality (AR): AR refers to the extension of the physical space with virtual information to be displayed into the reality. This enables to enrich the visualization of objects within specific contexts.

Indoor Localization: Indoor localization aims to establish the correct position of the maintenance operator inside the building. An indoor positioning system (IPS) is a network of devices used to locate people or objects where GPS and other satellite technologies lack precision.

Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM): Software platforms for the integrated management of real estate assets.

Building Information Modelling (BIM): BIM is a methodology for managing project data in digital format throughout the life cycle of the work: from design to construction, management and maintenance. One of the fundamental results of this process is the Building Information Model, the digital description of all aspects of the built work.

Interoperability: Interoperability is the possibility to exchange data between different software platforms, not only during the construction phase of the work but also throughout its entire life cycle, from maintenance to decommissioning.

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