Record and operational BIMs
By the end of the construction phase, the project building information model (BIM) will have evolved from project inception, through design, regulatory approval and documentation, and then through construction, culminating in a record BIM that is probably best prepared by the construction team. This record BIM will describe what has actually been built, with geometries and specifications branded (proprietary) wherever appropriate (and as far as this is practical), and assembly drawings showing actual dimensions and details rather than those in the contractual construction BIM. Such a broad thing is not usually prepared at the moment, for either pre-BIM projects or BIM projects, though a requirement for the construction team to prepare record (or as-built) drawings of some kind is fairly common.
Something similar could also be prepared for existing buildings, based on pre-BIM documentation if any, and survey work (as was done for the Sydney Opera House).
Operational BIM: Typically, the construction team will also normally have been required (in the contract BIM, for example) to prepare a number of other, largely text-based, documents for handover from the construction phase to the occupancy phase. These would include the health and safety (H&S) file (in the UK), and the operation and maintenance (O&M) manual, both of which would include manufacturer recommendations and other material. Now at the moment these are separate documents, not integrated with each other or with the contract documents. However, in BIM projects it is possible for these to be integrated together, obviously desirable because the health and safety file is mostly about H&S aspects of operation and maintenance. We might call this the operational BIM.
Integration: This in turn can be integrated with the record BIM. This makes sense because the record BIM tells the owner what it is that needs to be operated (in a broad sense), and the operational BIM tells the owner how it is supposed to be operated. Both need to be delivered to the organizations responsible for operating and maintaining the built project, whether owners and/or tenants, so that they in turn can benefit from having access to a building information model tailored to their needs.
Issues: For both the record and operational BIMs a lot of the information would currently be held outside the BIM, particularly about branded products (including warranties and guarantees). But, this must be in BIM formats if it is to be interrogated properly by those querying the model, and it must be maintained during the occupancy phase, e.g. if an original product manufacturer is bought out by another or goes out of business, if a product line is discontinued, or if a product that was used is subject to a court case. With both these points in mind, it might make more sense if all this information was imported into the project BIM, and if someone was given the task of maintaining it for the duration of the project's occupancy on behalf of the owner/occupier.
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