Facility information modeling – implementation methodology and economic aspects

Problem statement

When implementing and maintaining computer-aided facility management (CAFM), many organizations – independent from branch or industrial sector – are still suffering from the following issues:

  • Lack of facility management know-how in general
  • Decentralized management of facility management processes
  • Top management is still considering facility management a "cost center" to be avoided
  • Absence of support regarding the implementation of facility management in general and, specifically, of CAFM systems by middle and top management
  • Lack of experience, resources, and abilities to manage the implementation of CAFM systems
  • No mutual understanding of building information modeling (BIM); rather, BIM is known as a method solely focusing on the planning and construction phase
  • Rare usage of sensor technologies to support facility management processes

In addition to the issues mentioned above, organizations have different levels of maturity regarding the setup of facility management departments and the usage of information technology. Even if positive experience in using CAFM solutions in the private or in the public sector exists, a wide range of organizations do not use CAFM solutions for facility management yet. To provide efficient facility management, facility management should be extended not only by CAFM, but also by BIM-based and sensor-based information. By integrating BIM-based and sensor-based information into facility management, facility information modeling (FIM) strategies can be implemented. The data collected by FIM needs to be provided to CAFM solutions to enable integrated facility management, data access, and data analysis by participants.

Project goals

The objective of this research project is to solve the major research questions listed below, in an attempt to provide an efficient methodology for implementing FM, CAFM solutions, BIM, and sensor technologies combined, representing integrated facility information management. Based on several criteria, such as levels of maturity of integrated FIM, and taking into account operational and organizational structures, an investigation of cost, when implementing a FIM, will be conducted.

  • Why do many organizations still not use appropriate information technologies to support facility management processes?
  • What is the best way for using existing information technology – individually or combined?
  • What methods and strategies for a combined implementation of CAFM solutions, BIM, and sensor technologies exist?
  • Which costs occur when implementing and utilizing the above information technologies?
  • What knowledge and skills are necessary in organizations and by software providers to implement information technologies in the most efficient way?
  • Do organizations need a specific operational and organizational structure, thus experienced/skilled staff, for implementing and managing information technology either individually or combined?


Professor Dr. Kay Smarsly
Hamburg University of Technology
Institute of Digital and Autonomous Construction
Blohmstraße 15
21079 Hamburg
Email: kay.smarsly(at)tuhh(dot)de