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Structure Tone Insights - Building Data & Facilities Management
Xinan Jiang, a project coordinator for Structure Tone, discusses the feasibility of using building model data for real-time facilities management systems.
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ADDED VALUE: Using Building Model Data for Facilities Management

By Xinan Jiang, ACT project coordinator, Structure Tone

Your building project is done! Construction is complete, and all the 3D models have been coordinated, updated and filed away. So what happens to all of that valuable data?

In most cases, nothing—until it’s time for a renovation or other construction project. But our Advanced Coordination Team (ACT)—who works with a project’s design team to create a true-to-scale, coordinated model and 100% buildable set of design documents before work even begins— has found a byproduct use for that data, one that can help clients efficiently manage their new facilities for years to come.
Our team translates the model data into an interactive PDF with layers that can be turned on and off depending on the owner’s facilities management goals. This simple PDF serves as the “as-built” documents for the building, essentially eliminating the post-project redlining process and expediting project close-out. In other words, because the model’s data layers are continually updated and coordinated from the beginning and throughout construction, the data is up to date and the PDF is an accurate representation of the new space and its systems.
While a number of facilities management systems are on the market, this simple tool is easy for everyone from owners to facilities staff to use and can serve a number of purposes:

1. Operations and maintenance management. Clicking on a system or piece of equipment in the PDF can pull up all of the maintenance details, from specifications to schedule. The PDF can also embed equipment start-up videos and link to a building or campus work order system.

2. Dissimilar materials. In the same vein, this tool can help facilities staff avoid any miscommunication or lack of awareness of inconsistent materials throughout a building or campus. Consider this example: The facilities staff gets a call about a mechanical issue at a building on the other side of campus. They drive out to the building with their standard fittings and tools in hand only to discover this system was designed with different fittings than others on campus. With the facilities management PDF, the team could look up that system or piece of equipment before heading out so they arrive prepared with the right tools, parts and approach.

3. Emergency response. This PDF tool can help responders understand the environment surrounding the issue and avoid any barriers to a quick response. They can, for instance hover over a door in the PDF to see what access card is required or learn if a research or lab space requires protective gear. If a pipe bursts, the PDF can display all of the piping and what valves control which sections. For hospitals or research facilities, simply shutting off the entire water line may not be the best solution. This tool can help inform those decisions.

4. Unifying a campus. Most hospital or university campuses are a collection of old and new buildings, so a facilities management tool that only includes new buildings may not be that practical. This PDF process can incorporate the 2D data from older buildings since it’s based on traditional layering standards (AIA, to be exact). With a little help from an intern, an institution can bring its entire campus—old and new—into one facilities system.
It all comes down to simplicity. Facilities management teams often don’t have the time or resources to learn a complicated software system. They want a simple, easy-to-update document that shows them only what they need to know. This PDF format not only allows that flexibility, but also takes advantage of the products and processes already developed during the design and construction process.

For more information on creating an interactive PDF facilities management tool, please contact our ACT group at xinan.jiang@structuretone.com.