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Efficient Facilities Management
30 January 2024
Nitesh Panchal

Efficient Facilities Management: The Power of Digital Twins

In an era where traditional building maintenance methods may not be sufficient to ensure functionality, safety and comfort for occupants, the construction industry is undergoing a technology-driven metamorphosis. This necessitates an evolution in facility management systems, focusing on the indispensable role of digital twin technology in collaboration with BIM in construction. Digital twins are redefining efficiency in facilities management, offering comprehensive insights and greater control over building operations. Digital twins can be utilised to leverage technology for optimal building performance.

How so?

Harnessing the potential of digital twin software, dynamic virtual replicas of a building’s assets can be created, bringing a new dimension to asset management. This cutting-edge technology of digital twin space optimisation seamlessly integrates with facility management software, making maintenance routines more efficient. By converging essential features for planning and controlling asset management into a unified platform, this unleashes a wealth of possibilities to optimise building operations, putting precision, efficiency and innovation at the forefront.

Digital Twins in Facilities Management – A Revolution

As the physical and virtual worlds almost fuse together, the digital twin technology mirrors the physical and functional traits of an asset, leveraging the rich potential of BIM models and AI-enhanced devices. This concept is based on a triad of crucial elements:

  • Living Asset: An existing asset that can be observed, managed, maintained and improved
  • Virtual Echo: A digital doppelgänger, crafting an accurate virtual representation of the physical asset
  • Nexus Thread: An interactive digital conduit, weaving together the two realms, ensuring an unbroken stream of relevant data

This trio creates a dynamic, intelligent environment where real-time monitoring and decision-making elevate asset management to improved levels of efficiency and innovation.

How Digital Twins Work in FM

Blending machine learning, software analytics and artificial intelligence, digital twins can infuse BIM models with real-time updates, linking the tangible and digital worlds. All this can happen on a platform where asset managers, facility overseers and service providers meet to predict outcomes, weigh scenarios and enhance facility performance.

Strategising and optimising, digital twin technology handles proactive problem identification to maintenance planning, equipment monitoring, scenario simulation, analysis and workflow optimisation, enabling precision in decision-making.

Stakeholders can interactively navigate building models, addressing complex maintenance challenges in real time.

Monitoring Assets

Digtial twins can be used in facilities management to:

  • Gather updated, reliable data on current activities, technical condition of assets and their locations
  • Analyse equipment operation and report potential malfunctions or failures in advance
  • Verify plant operating conditions and suggest necessary adjustments
  • Identify quality and safety issues and analyse components and systems for intervention
  • Simulate diverse scenarios to identify future resource needs and for maintenance
  • Optimise energy use by analysing energy efficiency programs
  • Help train users with virtual or augmented reality simulations to help prevent dangerous situations
Integrating Digital Twins with Facilities Management

Digital twin technology is an extension of BIM modelling. As BIM models provide a complete overview of building resources, streamlining each maintenance process, combining digital twins and BIM models with the potential of smart sensors and IoT devices can result in the creation of ‘live’ models that dynamically exchange information with the real world.

Solving the As-built Dilemma

Using existing as-built drawings of older buildings, an updated as-built model can be created with additional data for facilities management. Using software such as Tandem, the as-built model’s data can be converted into a digital twin, which includes specific product information for system components, such as:

  • Time of product installation
  • Product expiry date
  • Product maintenance details
  • Product manufacturers’ details
To know more about Digital Twins . . .

It is imperative to use the right tools to integrate digital twin functionality into facilities management, relying on digital twin software and facilities management software to create and manage digital copies of a structure’s resources on a centralised, cloud-based platform. This can be achieved with the support of experienced design partners who provide high-quality architectural drafting and construction documentation and understand how BIM models can be used to locate plants and equipment, plan targeted interventions, track maintenance activities and simplify facility management processes.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing BIM modelling services for global consultants, contractors and construction design firms. Our range of services include construction documentation, digital twin space optimisation for facilities management, MEP 3D models, Revit design and architectural drafting and building design and engineering services. We also create rendered images, 3D modelling and 3D walk-throughs by using Revit, 3ds Max, V-Ray, Adobe Photoshop and After Effects, Illustrator and BIM Collaboration Pro for cloud collaboration.