Is BIM the new CAFM or CAFM the new BIM?

This question “ Is BIM the new CAFM or CAFM the new BIM?“ I have received in the last week from a reader of my blog. The two questions I can quickly answer with two „No“. These answers will make my readers but understandably not happy.

Historically, we have to investigate, when both terms were mentioned for the first time. Concepts designed with a CAD software for architects I have myself for the first time in the 80s. There was also already software products for construction cost estimates and tenders. An integrated digital processing in the modern sense of BIM did not yet exist. With the first CAFM software products I’ve had to do mid-90s. CAFM has shown from the outset processes for the management of buildings digitally. The mapping of processes and recurring workflows make the CAFM products to what they are. Some years ago the CAD software vendors wanted to promote the use of 3D-enabled products make their users in the field of architecture and construction, they have linked their marketing with the terminology BIM Building Information Modeling. Meanwhile under BIM we offer far more than just the use of a 3D-compatible CAD software in the design of buildings. Historically the terminology CAFM existed longer than BIM. Given the history, the two questions can not be answered, However.

Behind the terms BIM and CAFM hides a multitude of processes. In CAFM processes have been combined in a single software. Any data resulting from the processes are kept in a database. The BIM processes are not displayed in a single software, but there come many software products as part of the processes used. The data is exchanged in the processes above files. If BIM now would be the new CAFM, takes in BIM as the entire data storage be held in a database. If CAFM would the new BIM, you would for example be able to construct a three-dimensional building with CAFM.

What kind of processes is actually and what map the processes? Where is the difference?

The difference can be explained with one sentence. With BIM processes a building is in the foreground and CAFM processes a company that uses one or more buildings. Seen from this perspective, is not BIM the new BIM or CAFM the new BIM. In Germany the use of CAFM installations has a much longer tradition than in other countries. With BIM, it is exactly the reverse. What we actually do not need is a discussion that is understood in the CAFM as an appendage of BIM or BIM as an appendage of CAFM.

Why is a building created, maintained, rebuilt, refurbished, sold or demolished?

Businesses want to expand and need a new building. A building is a valuable asset. Valuables must be maintained so that they retain their value. The company continues to grow and build the next building. The company is growing again and wants the property more efficient or are looking for a new property. Building to be demolished or the buildings are sold.

A building is completely built using BIM. At the end of the handover takes place. All data including three-dimensional graphics are building a complete digital documentation handed over to the owners and operators. In the future, the building and the digital data of the building are managed with the use of CAFM and maintained. With the help of CAFM all buildings and all the infrastructures of the company are managed and maintained. A building from the stock should now be rebuilt. The complete digital building with all its well-maintained data is handed over to the BIM Planner Team. After the conversion, the data is coming to date back and are naturally entered again into the CAFM database. In another case, a company is selling a building. The buyer receives the accompanying documentation to complete digital record of the building. If it is to be rebuilt, gets the BIM Planner Team of the buyer the data or alternatively, the digital building will be read immediately in the CAFM of the buyer.

So you can safely to the input questions “ Is BIM the new CAFM or CAFM the new BIM?“ With a twofold answer „No“. An extended question would be „What needs to happen for BIM is the new CAFM or CAFM is the new BIM?“ The user of the software itself is the approach actually could not care less. The user – whether planners or building owners – expected from the software vendors that digital buildings can be used as elegantly as possible in all processes and that it is made available to all participants as simple as possible and all the necessary documentation is easy, quickly and safely to create.


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