Lab1 "Hello Field World"
Lab2 "Field API Intro"

BIM for Owners – Using BIM 360 Field Equipment

- By Sheryl Yang

How to extend BIM’s values from design and construction phase to facility operation and maintenance (O&M) phase? This is a question that many facility owners with pioneering spirits have been asking. All the valuable information captured in the design and construction process does not have to die after the handover – it can connect with existing Facilities Management (FM) applications and serve as digitized data repository to be used for O&M purposes. 

I’m very interested in this topic of “BIM for Owners” – actually it became my PhD dissertation topic and the research studies I have conducted before aimed to answer some of the key questions, e.g., what information is required for facilities maintenance? What are the existing data sources for maintenance staff? How to integrate the required information in BIM? How to automatically retrieve relevant information for a given work order? What are the visualization techniques that can be used to display the retrieved information? More information about my previous work: 

Article in AECBytes - Integration of BIM with Facility Systems to Support HVAC Troubleshooting:

HVAC diagnosis game - BIM for facilities maintenance:

After I joined Autodesk and started working as a BIM 360 consultant, I’m very excited to see the huge impacts BIM 360 platform can make for construction project execution workflows, and especially the functionality of capturing as-built asset information along the way in construction process. In this blog, I want to share some of my ideas about the potentials of using BIM 360 Field Equipment’s out-of-the-box functionality from the perspective of owners and facility managers, and in next follow-up blog I will share some of my experiences and thoughts about how to use APIs to integrate BIM 360 Field Equipment with Facility Management applications.

Below is a screenshot of BIM 360 Field Equipment on iPad, and users can tap on different sub-modules from top of the screen to access different information associated with this specific piece of equipment:


(1) Details: the screenshot shows the detailed properties and values for this equipment, e.g., serial number, asset ID, install date, warranty start/end date. This set of properties can be customized by BIM 360 Field project admins and can be varied for different types of equipment– therefore project teams can decide what information they want to collect for their equipment.  Many of these properties may not be important for designers or contractors, but would be necessary for owners and FM teams, such as the warranty information. If owners can specify what information they want to be captured in the design-construction process and include it as part of the handover requirements, it will be very beneficial to smoothly transfer data to O&M. COBie is a good resource ( for owners and FM teams to use to specify what they need in the handover. As a matter of fact, some of the standard properties we provide in BIM 360 Field Equipment already refer to COBie standard properties.

(2) Checklists: any checklist related with this piece of equipment would be accessible here, e.g., commissioning checklist. If FM teams want to use this, I think it will be a good place to link preventive maintenance checklist for equipment asset.

(3) Issues: problems or observations related with this piece of equipment. Currently this is mainly used to capture issues in the commissioning and handover process. One of our customers, who is an owner representative, asked me if the name can be changed to “Work Orders”. We can’t provide it now, but I think it is a very interesting idea.

(4) Attachments: all the documents related with this piece of equipment can be uploaded here, such as O&M manuals, specs, and submittals. I think this means a lot to maintenance technicians who usually work onsite and need to access various documents back in the office. With all the related documents available and accessible on iPad, this can save tons of time and trouble for technicians to travel back and forth between jobsite and office, dig into piles of documents in archive, or carry prints to jobsite.

(5) Activity: this is like a notebook and running log where users can record what they have done for this equipment.

(6)  Tasks: this is linked to BIM 360 Field Tasks module and tasks associated with this equipment will be accessible here. 

Moreover, the list of equipment and information related with equipment can be directly linked from coordinated models from BIM 360 Glue. This is a process we call “Field-Glue Integration”. Follow these posts for additional information on Field-Glue Integration (1. Adding data from the field to your model just got easier 2. Enrich 3D model data with construction & commissioning level detail)

If an equipment record is created from linking BIM, the 3D model component can be accessed from Field and users can jump to an immersive virtual environment to navigate and check the surrounding components and spaces.  This is very helpful for maintenance technicians to “see through walls or ceilings” to trace pipework/ductwork and locate asset components. I found an interesting and successful use case shared by Peter Strazdas - the associate vice president of Facilities Management at Western Michigan University (WMU), during his talk at Autodesk University 2014, about how they use Glue iPad and BIM for maintenance activities: (start watching from 44:00).

In next blog I will share some of my experiences and thoughts about how to use APIs to integrate BIM 360 Field with FM applications.