The proposed model is a tool for Facility Management, which supports engineers’, architects’ and facility managers’ decisions on the actions to perform on buildings over time to ensure their conservation with the best effects and the lowest possible expenditure.
In particular, it focuses on the cultural heritage and on historical buildings and makes use of software integrations to allow real-time updates and an easy overall view of maintenance-related data.
The goal of the model is the optimization of maintenance costs for the cultural heritage, by allowing facility managers to have a general, real-time updated, synergic, and functional view of the conservation state of all the single parts of a historical building.
Throughout Europe, and especially in Italy, cultural buildings, monuments, and artifacts are a considerably wide asset and their maintenance is a key activity. This extends to both the effects and impacts of maintenance and its costs and optimizing this item allows smooth planning and significant reductions in public expenditure.
The integrated model consists of:
A Building Information Model is a 3D reconstruction of a building, also including various kinds of information on its constitutive components, related to their material and physical characteristics, their performances, but also more specific and technical aspects: in this case, they also encompass maintenance-related data, specifically possible interventions, unit maintenance costs by intervention typology, state of decay, and results of inspections. For historical buildings, as in the present case, these models are called HBIM (Historical Building Information Model).
The Master Database consists of a list of all the components of the buildings, together with their maintenance-related data (as in the BIM): when technicians perform inspections, they insert data on the Master Database, by providing a qualitative evaluation of the state of conservation of the inspected components. As a result, decay indexes are automatically calculated in the Microsoft Excel file and all the input data are updated on the BIM model as well.
The key item is the modality of information sharing (interoperability) between the BIM model and the Master Database, which is made possible by the use of 4 different scripts supported by the programming tool Dynamo and its programming language Python. One of these scripts allows graphical visualization of the state of decay, by representing it with different colors according to its entity. After importing data to Revit, the software automatically calculates maintenance costs based on the state of decay of the components.
BIM models are a modern and complex technology, whose use requires specifically trained technicians: those who perform maintenance inspections hardly have them, making it difficult to update information on the model in real-time following the acquisition of new data on the conditions of conservation of the various components of the building. The choice to include a Microsoft Excel-based Master Database is aimed at solving this issue: technicians can input information on a simple Microsoft Excel sheet, which requires very little technical expertise, rather than on a BIM software, but the data input by them are directly imported to Revit.
Concerning the BIM model itself, it is specifically implemented so as to take into account technological and operational connections between components: that is, the synergy related to performing maintenance interventions and inspections on certain sets of components at the same time.
The current architecture of the integrated model works through specifically designed scripts for the interaction between Microsoft Excel and Autodesk Revit through Dynamo, so the substitution or integration of different software or system would also require the implementation of different scripts for their communication.
However, one integration with another system has already been experimented with: in particular, the Revit model has been exported into an IFC format (a data exchange format) to allow easier visualization of the overall building and its state of decay on the platform usBIM.viewer+.
From the side of the public expenditure – which is the main subject in this process – the benefits coincide with those deriving from the execution of preventive maintenance and opportunity maintenance. That means, respectively, performing maintenance interventions at the most suitable and economically convenient time during the life of a building component, and on different components at the same time considering synergies and cost-effectiveness. This kind of maintenance planning requires an accurate, detailed, but above all complete view and knowledge of the state of the components of the building.
Through this tool, facility managers can make decisions on planned maintenance by viewing combined and integrated data on the state of decay and on the possible intervention scenarios: this is a fundamental support to drafting optimized and more conscious maintenance plans.
Finally, it eases data input for technicians who perform maintenance inspections, as they are not required to ever access the complex Autodesk Revit platform.
The model is addressed to all the professionals and companies that operate in the field of facility management: these subjects are entrusted with the programming and deciding all maintenance actions over the course of the life of a building by its owner, with the task of achieving the best results with the minimum expenditure.
The model can be adopted by them for the management of a historical building, hence easing and improving the process of choosing the best maintenance plans and strategies for them.
First of all, we would like to thank you for your availability to collaborate in a study designed by researchers from the WARMEST´S project.
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