Sydney Opera House trials new BIM for FM service

16 July 2014

Photograph: Flickr/Steve Maw

BIM Academy, the joint venture between BIM academics at Northumbria University and Ryder Architecture, is launching a new “BIM for FM” consultancy service after successfully trialling its approach at Sydney Opera House.

Another early client for its new BIM for Asset and Facilities Management (BAFM) service was developer Quintain, which wanted a BIM-led maintenance strategy for its new build apartments at Wembley Park and the Greenwich Peninsula. BIM Academy then also worked with Hong Kong developer Knight Dragon, which acquired the Greenwich scheme late last year.

In 2013, BIM Academy successfully won a worldwide tender for the contract to write a detailed BIM strategy that would allow Sydney Opera House to shrink its AUS$30m (£16.5m) a year maintenance budget.

BIM Academy was one of 90 [edited July 15th] teams that completed a detailed pre-qualification questionnaire for the client, which then narrowed the field to 21 consultancies worldwide.

The project involved a review of the current disparate systems that are used to operate the building, briefing the in-house team on building a retrospective BIM model of the iconic building, and writing a detailed technical specification for the “BIM for FM interface” that would link the client’s existing and future data to the new BIM model.

This also included a model management plan to enable Sydney Opera House to tender a second contract for a consultancy that will build and manage this new interface. BIM Academy will now work “client side”, advising the Opera House staff on the bids it receives.

BIM Academy’s Graham Kelly (right) at Sydney Opera House

BIM Academy senior project manager Graham Kelly told CM: “The BIM for FM interface will depend on the client’s requirements – at Sydney Opera House, they wanted a visual view of the model and to be able to initiate searches for particular information about the building, while at the Greenwich Peninsula it was more about determining the data standards for information about the new buildings, for instance on establishing consistent naming conventions for all the [construction to FM] handovers.”

“The Opera House spends a considerable amount each year on maintaining quite a small building, and they didn’t have many accurate drawings. So there are a lot of efficiencies that can be made, they’re definitely looking for a return on investment.”

The new BAFM consultancy service draws on research work by the BIM Academy and Teesside University that was supported by the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, a Technology Strategy Board funding stream that links academic expertise with industry practitioners.

The team analysed industry practices, workflows, technologies and client requirements.

Peter Barker, BIM Academy managing director, said: “Taking an independent and platform neutral approach, BIM Academy understands that many off the shelf solutions are expensive, complex and do not always match a client’s specific needs. BIM Academy seeks to work with clients to deliver an analysis of their business requirements and then support the specification, procurement, implementation and maintenance of a tailored solution, specific to, and efficient for, that client, verifying and improving the consistency of operational data throughout the process.”

BIM Academy has also advised Newcastle University on BIM for FM strategies for its new build projects and its existing estate, and has supported Manchester City Council in developing and linking the design BIM for Manchester Central Library to proprietary computer-aided FM (CAFM) solutions.


At last.
Someone is making a sensible approach to the use of BIM for FM, recognising the need for suitable drawings before modelling can start.
I suspect that a large financial investment will be required before savings in current expenditure can be made, but hope that this investment will in time produce good results, and lead the way for others to follow.
That this experiment on adapting BIM for maintenance work is on such a well known landmark is encouraging. There will be lessons for all of us to learn, and the should gain useful publicity.

David Miles, 15 July 2014

The BIM/FM team at the Sydney Opera House need to be commended for choosing to conduct a world-first, world-wide BIM pre-qualification assessment. Our team at were pleased to work closely with Sydney Opera House to identify their requirements, and then to develop/manage the online assessment campaign which allowed the pre-selection of suitable candidates.

Bilal Succar, 22 August 2014

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