What has the stock market got to do with BIM?
Over the last 6 years, the UK has been on a BIM journey. Some people got off at the first stop where we looked at 3D CAD and have never got back on the train. Others have sat through the following stops looking at CAPEX information, OPEX information moving through to business information. Not many have seen the line expand to look at long term social, environmental and economic outcomes that will impact us all on a global level.
But to first of all understand how this happens, followed by working out how to quantify, measure and monitor the information that helps us to achieve this there is quite a bit of work to do.
Why should we bother? Let’s take this right from the top;
Who decides what our business objectives and financial targets are? That will be the CEO and CFO of a business.
What makes the CEO/CFO tick? Making the business perform and keeping the share price for its stakeholders at a good value, so they get paid good dividends.
How do those shares get effected by Social, Environment and Economic outcomes? That will take a little more explaining…
Society is effected by the people that live in it. Those people need a good work/ life balance that allows them to play an active part in their communities; attending social functions, volunteering, attending theatres, sports and helping to form the nucleus of a more integrated and caring world.
This is affected heavily by the amount of time we have to spare at the end of a working day. So let’s say our railway was poorly maintained and was constantly breaking down for a reason we had no idea about for we lacked the information to understand it. I write as a long standing commuter on the south of England’s rail routes! I am stressed in the morning because I don’t know whether I will get to work on time, I am always late in the evening as the trains are frequently late or cancelled.
By the time I am home, my family are already upset from missed meals, appointments and events. It’s easier after that nightmare of a journey not to partake in society, but to be selfish and concentrate on my own world.
When we don’t have good information about the state of our assets and how things might negatively affect the environment there is always media coverage. So knowing how we can create a positive impact, not just during the construction and measuring our carbon footprint, but in the long term when operating our assets. Designing things to operate in an efficient manner to use less power or produce less emissions. When there is an environmental disaster, there is a real impact on the value of the business as well as the ecosystem around us.
Economic impacts are slightly easier to grasp, as we know that every hour spent sitting in a traffic jam costs the GDP around about £40. That traffic could be caused by unscheduled repair or an incident caused through lack understanding how our asset is performing. It may be only a small cost to repair the crash barrier, but closing the lane, the bridge, the junction, the network has an impact on the businesses, local, regional and national economies. And when that happens the public perception of the organisation running that asset takes a hit.
And public perception is what effect share prices. That newspaper report on the negative social impact on the commuter, the oil spill that damaged the environment or the cost on the local economy of a poorly run asset will dramatically affect how much the business is perceived to be worth.
So what can we do about it, I can’t just keep throwing money in a bottomless BIM pit?
We need to understand the relationships between our assets and these 3 factors.
So firstly we need to sort out our asset breakdown structure, ensuring that we know the impact of each major system/ functional grouping and how that links upwards to the bigger picture.
Secondly we need to set out an Asset tagging Strategy, so we can see the functions, systems and locations giving us an idea as to how critical or operationally severe they are.
Finally we need to gather asset information requirements not just the Opex and Capex phases, but also from the business end and truly understand what we need to know to quantify, measure and monitor each asset in terms of social, environmental and economical values.
In my opinion in the future we will step away from delivering assets and start to deliver outcomes. The client will propose an outcome within a set of boundaries and the contractor will work towards that strategic objective.