Laboratory Facility Management Through Building Information Modeling (BIM) Working Group

Industry Lead: Open

University Lead: Professor Jim Jones, Virginia Tech

Coordinated by: I2SL

Learn about the activities of this working group

Building Information Modeling (BIM) and related systems are quickly gaining application in building design and construction projects. These systems encompass building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building systems and components. I2SL has convened a working group of industry professionals to consider such platforms as a life-cycle facility management platform for laboratories, with the understanding that BIM would become the owner's manual for the facility (akin to the glove compartment manual found in your car) and would help owners and operators achieve the energy and environmental sustainability goals they have set for their high-technology facilities.

As such, I2SL and its key partners, the buildingSMART alliance (bSa) and the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), are working with industry experts to develop a roadmap to utilize BIM as a high-tech facility life-cycle tool. The I2SL, bSa, and IFMA partnership has organized a research framework for BIM and is engaging with industry members to address several key components of the framework.

BIM in the News

See what I2SL has to say about Building Information Modeling in recent issues of Lab Design newsletter, Building Operating Management magazine, and Journal of the National Institute of Building Sciences.

You can also review a post on how the OGC Registry platform merges GIS and BIM.

Working Group Projects

Three BIM Working Group Committees were formed during the Labs21 2011 Annual Conference and now meet regularly. These committees include the:

  • Tool Identification and Development Committee
    • Committee Leader: Terrance Alcorn, Stantec
    • Objective: Create a survey to define the BIM tools that are currently available or in development that can be applied to high-tech facilities, and then identify gaps based on the needs of high-tech facility operators and managers.
  • Best Practices/Metrics/Awards and Business Process Re-Engineering Committee
    • Committee Leader: Igor Starkov, EcoDomus
    • Objective: Gather information on what BIM services are being offered by designers, design-build firms, and others, plus the value these might provide to owners.
  • Information Clearinghouse/Bridging the Silos Committee
    • Committee Leader: Ibrahim Abdelhady, Virginia Tech
    • Objective: Consider how collected information from these and future committee activities can be made readily available.

These committees will generate valuable knowledge to drive the application of BIM as a high-tech facility life-cycle management tool in a productive and informed way.

Get Involved

The working group consists of and invites experts in laboratory construction, design, and engineering, as well as facility managers, operators, and owners. Members are encouraged to contribute their technical expertise, facility information, and experiences. If you would like to join the Laboratory Facility Management Through BIM Working Group/Committees, contact I2SL.

Working Group Activities

  • The working group released the BIM for Facility Management survey, which was featured in the Engineering News-Record article "Driving BIM into Facilities Management and Operations."
  • The working group met at the Labs21 2012 Annual Conference in San Jose, California.
  • The BIM committee chairs and representatives met at IFMA Facility Fusion 2012 to evaluate progress and next steps leading up to the Labs21 2012 Annual Conference. The committees reported strategies in developing useful surveys that would help assess current practices, tools, and location of information regarding BIM as it may be applied as a life cycle management tool for high-tech facilities. It became clear that each committee struggles with the likelihood that operators and managers have various, if any, real understanding of BIM. The group concluded that the surveys should be consolidated into a single and simple survey tool with an educational component that guides respondents in considering how BIM could assist specific operational and management topics identified by each committee. Each committee is now meeting to consider topics relevant to their unique task and develop survey questions that would provide feedback on the perceived value of the capabilities of BIM in high-tech facility operations and management. Committee chairs are outlining the survey and developing educational materials that will be used in the survey. The survey will be released and responses collected during the summer of 2012. The results will be shared at the Labs21 2012 Annual Conference, IFMA's World Workplace, and the National Institute of Building Sciences's Building Innovation 2013 Conference and Expo.
  • The working group held a series of conference calls in January 2012 and formed three BIM Working Group Committees to pursue different areas of the group's activities.
  • The working group met at the Labs21 2011 Annual Conference.
  • The working group is collecting comments on a draft Development of a Research Framework for Building Information Modeling (156 KB, 8 pp) document. Send your comments to <>.
  • I2SL worked with Autodesk, the International Facility Management Association, JE Dunn Construction Company, the National Institute of Building Sciences, Sandia National Laboratories, and Virginia Tech to plan a half-day symposium titled BIM to Facility Management at the Labs21 2010 Annual Conference. Panelist and audience input provided during this session will help frame a research plan for migrating BIM into a facility management platform.
  • The Laboratory Facility Management Working Group held a call on November 18, 2009, to discuss the objectives of the working group. The group's first action item is to research potential grant opportunities, specifically through the National Science Foundation, so that the working group can have funding to support its activities. The group is also seeking to increase the number of stakeholders involved. 
  • A conference call with potential Laboratory Facility Management Working Group members was held on September 2, 2009. This meeting was followed up by an in-person discussion at the Labs21 2009 Annual Conference. Working group members concluded at the end of these meetings the value in moving forward with pursing available facility management tools.


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