Asset Information Management and BIM at the Calgary Cancer Centre
Design and construction account for only a small portion of a building’s overall lifecycle cost. Using BIM to support facility management generates significant savings to owners by increasing productivity and improving efficiency during the operational stage. At the Calgary Cancer Centre, PCL led the project team in creating an as-built BIM with integrated asset information as a resource to support the owner in their post-construction facility management responsibilities, saving them months of manual data processing. To the author’s knowledge, this was one of the largest projects in Canada to date to successfully complete a deliverable of this type.
The Calgary Cancer Centre is a $1.2 billion cancer research and treatment facility in Calgary, Alberta. From the earliest stages of the project, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Infrastructure (the “Province”) recognized the value of BIM as a way to “deliver high value in quality, timeliness, cost, and to maximize building performance during operations”. They identified facilities management as one of the primary objectives of BIM, with the ultimate goal to “provide a fully integrated, coordinated, and site verified as-built model complete with facility management related information of all maintainable building elements in a form appropriate for use by the Province’s end users throughout the life of the facility”. Neither the Province nor PCL had ever attempted an endeavor of this magnitude, therefore high levels of collaboration were required. Further, all procedures were created without precedent. The sheer size and specialized nature of the facility increased the risk and complexity of the undertaking.
The solution was comprised of two the Asset Information Management (AIM), and as-built BIM model.
Asset Information Management
All buildings contain assets that need to be maintained; for example, an air handling unit must have its filters replaced and fans lubricated according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Missing required maintenance can result in sub-optimal performance or even failure, requiring emergency repairs or replacement.
Understanding which assets would be included in the final deliverable was a crucial first step. Several workshops were held with the Province with the goal of understanding their existing facility management procedures and establishing a scope of work. From these meetings, a list of 435 asset types was generated which equated to over 4000 individual assets within the Calgary Cancer Centre. Results were documented in an AIM and BIM Execution Plan, and subsequently underwent a review and approval process.
Sources for each data point were identified and when it would be available, the application from which it would originate, and who would be responsible for its management.
Asset information was generated throughout all stages of the project from early design to final commissioning. It was imperative that data format and structure were consistent throughout so it could be seamlessly migrated between applications. For example, differences in a pump named “PMP-01” in the model versus “PMP_01” in the AIM database would have resulted in gaps, duplication, and errors. Naming was especially critical as it had to be exactly the same in the BIM, drawings, schedules, documents, and databases. Standards had to be established early. High levels of coordination and communication were needed so that owners, designers, consultants, subcontractors, vendors, and commissioning agents understood their responsibilities to incorporate AIM requirements into their workflows. Interdependencies in the production of asset data meant that work had to be carefully scheduled and sequenced or else those down the supply chain would be negatively affected.
A thorough 3D BIM coordination process involved the following scopes: Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing (MEP), Structural, Architectural, Envelope, and Civil. Each helped identify and resolve tens of thousands of issues early, thus preventing them from happening on site where they could potentially cause delays to the schedule or escalate costs
The BIM Execution plan provided exhaustive detail about the required Level of Development (LOD) of each element in the model. This included the project stage at which they would need to be at the specified LOD, the responsible party, and acceptable installation tolerances.
Coordinated construction models were used to produce installation drawings and survey layout points for field crews to install using robotic total stations. This helped ensure site work matched the model.
Completed site work was then checked against the coordinated model using a combination of as-built survey measurements, drone photography, 360° photography, and laser scans. Any differences between the coordinated model and completed site work were updated in BIM to produce an accurate and complete as-built.
A comprehensive photo documentation exercise resulted in over 32,000 360° photos taken before pouring concrete floor slabs, interior dry-wall and ceiling installation, and final inspection of each room. 315 drone flight operations captured gigapixel resolution orthomosaics of in-slab services before each concrete slab pour. Facility managers can see exactly what services are within each floor, wall, and ceiling. This helps them with maintenance and repair and prevents destructive investigation.
Asset Information Management Database
Ecodomus was the primary asset information hub that merged data from various databases and models. The Province’s facility management staff were trained on how to use Ecodomus’ web-based asset and model viewing application.
Autodesk Revit was the model-authoring application used by the majority of designers and subcontractors. Architectural models contained room and level data while subcontractor models contained asset geometry, type, and name information. Revit models were bi-directionally linked to Ecodomus so that changes made in either application would be synchronized. Shared parameters distributed to all participants ensured consistency during data migration. There were over 75 design and subcontractor models on the project.
Vendors and subcontractors used PCL’s internal document management platform to submit shop drawings, warranties, maintenance manuals, and other project documents. Upon receiving final approved status, documents were linked to assets within Ecodomus.
Site-based information such as startup and testing reports, manufacturer names, barcodes and serial numbers were captured within an application called CxAlloy. The commissioning agent was responsible for collecting site-based data for assets within their scope while MEP subcontractors managed separate databases for non-commissioned assets. Data from CxAlloy was imported into Ecodomus at scheduled milestones.
Construction Operation Building information exchange (COBie)
COBie is an open-standard specification for exchanging a building’s asset information. COBie deliverables are simply Excel files with standard columns and tabs. Any associated documents are contained in a separate file folder and referenced within the Excel file. COBie was the primary method used by the Province to populate their digital asset management systems. Interim model and COBie file submissions to the Province gave them the opportunity to review and test interoperability with their systems.
A thorough quality control process was undertaken by all participants which involved regular reviews and coordination meetings. Scrupulous quality reviews were required to ensure consistency and accuracy throughout the project. A compliance checker program was used to verify that the final deliverables met the COBie standard.
An as-built BIM with integrated facility management data provides the owner’s facility management team with the information they need in one centralized, searchable location.
The COBie file enables the Province to integrate asset information into their Computerized Management and Maintenance System (CMMS). No data modification is required because it’s already formatted to their organizational standards. The Province will save an estimated 3 to 12 months versus entering this data manually.
There were 435 asset types comprising roughly 4000 assets. Each was 3D modelled, linked to the asset management database, and ultimately included in the COBie file. Each asset has dozens of data points that were individually managed and populated. Roughly 1,350 shop drawings, warranties, operation and repair manuals, test reports, and certificates were linked to assets.
A comprehensive 3D coordination effort identified and resolved tens of thousands of issues (clashes, gaps, building code issues etc.) virtually before they could become issues on site, and model-based layout and site-verification workflows produced a precise, as-built BIM that will support the facility’s operation for its entire lifecycle.