What Strategies Can Be Utilized for Capturing and Organizing Building Data?

Posted by Owen Knott on Apr 02, 2020
Owen Knott
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What Strategies Can Be Utilized for Capturing and Organizing Building Data?

FM handover is a critical part of any construction project. It is also extremely tedious and can often lead to errors when done incorrectly. Implementing a strategic process can make all the difference. The key to delivering complete and accurate FM data is knowing what data is required by the owner, then implementing an intentional process to assemble and validate the data throughout the life cycle of a given project.

This article will explore 3 strategies for FM data collection, along with pros and cons of each, so you can select the most effective strategy for your next project.

Manual data collection

At its core, capturing data for turnover is as simple as documenting all building assets and their associated data. While it is tedious, this process can be managed by simply walking through every room with a clipboard and pen and taking careful notes.

After data assembly via clipboard, it then needs to be imported into a spreadsheet or other tool. This leaves enormous room for errors and can cause issues, especially when multiple stakeholders are inputting and accessing data.

The one pro of manual data collection is that you don’t need any extra tools. On the other hand, the manual method of FM data collection has quite a few drawbacks, including the potential for missing assets, missing data, data inaccuracies, its time-consuming nature and it may require additional training for personnel. Additionally, there’s a lack of accountability; it’s hard to confirm everything got captured in the initial pass and that there were no mistakes.

Model data collection

Due to the lack of data collection tools available to the industry the Revit model has become a commonplace to assemble FM data for handover. Models can present themselves as a viable option for FM data collection since they are a key deliverable in most BIM execution plans.  

While it is relatively easy to export FM data from a Revit model into the COBie format, it isn’t that easy to populate the model with the FM data throughout the project. Determining what data is required for each asset type or location is not possible. Applying owner-specific asset type naming conventions or construction classification assignments is also cumbersome given the number of model authors.

Assembling FM data starts in the design phase and continues through project delivery. The typical project will develop models for design, construction, coordination, fabrication and, finally, an as-built version. In most cases, these models are developed by different stakeholders and without a common data source across all of the models. As a result, FM data management is a virtual nightmare. 

Finally, verifying data is also a real challenge: When was the data introduced? Does it represent the approved asset from submittals? Does it align with the actual field data? How is the model data verified in the field and update accordingly? Are all of the assets required for data collected actually modeled?

Standards-based assembly and verification with a common data platform

A comprehensive approach to assembling and verifying handover data includes integrating owner-specific handover standards, project specifications, project models, approved submittals and physical assets in the field on a common data platform. This approach defines exactly what is required to be collected, incorporates workflows to streamline collection on a common data platform ensuring specific data points are collected and verified from the proper source throughout the project life cycle. Data collection is informed using client standards for establishing type and element marks ensuring data asset and location elements are tagged according to the owners requirements.  When FM Data is collected throughout the project lifecycle from the proper sources, rather than at a point in time, contractors and owners are able to identify and resolve any discrepancies between specifications, submittals and field data. This process of validating assembled data at each step ensures data delivered to the owner is not only correct but in alignment with project specifications and submittals. Ultimately, reconciling data is made far easier.

The pros of this approach include ensuring assets are defined according to the owner’s standards within each model and asset naming conventions can be easily applied without overburdening model authors. Assembling data utilizing workflows that include what data should be captured and when, the source of that data and the responsible party reduces errors, increases accountability and ensures everyone is on the same page. Additionally, dashboards ensure all FM data is captured according to the owner’s requirements leaving ensuring the owner nothing has been missed.

Planning for and executing FM data assembly and verification deserves as much attention as a BIM Execution Plan. While manual data collection or collecting data in the models is an option, it actually results in slower turnover, increased errors and winds up being far more expensive when labor costs are added in.

Interested in learning more about how KTrack can help streamline your data collection and verification processes? Schedule a demo.

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Tags: COBie, Turnover, FM Handover

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