In every BIM or Digital Twin conversation we talk about assets, but this term can mean many different things to many different people, which is ok, but in every asset portfolio, organisation or project the definition needs to be clearly set, right from the beginning.

what are they?

According to ISO 55000, an asset is a thing, item or entity that has actual or potential value. This definition takes us away from thinking that an asset is just a physical thing and gets us to understand that it could include information, people and knowledge. The ISO also goes on to remind us that asset management is not about the management of assets but about delivering whole life, real business value. This is done by aligning everyone’s understanding of value and risk, whilst balancing them both.


All the examples above are assets in their own right, but many are groups of assets that form a functional grouping. As a rule of thumb, you need to record assets down to the level you expect to maintain them; for example, a window is an asset, not the sealant, hinges or pane of glass.

Asset Information Model (AIM)

The term model is slightly misleading when looking at the AIM. Many have misunderstood this sometimes intentionally to mean a 3D CAD model, and whilst that CAD model can be a part of the AIM, the model in question is a data model.

Think of the Asset Information Model to be like the internet. Multiple interconnected and independent databases that can be searched for information all linked so that every piece of relevant data, whether its engineering, documentation, legal, financial, live sensor, social, 3rd party etc will be presented to the end user. This query interface can come in many forms.

The key with an Asset Information Model is not to lock away data in any specific proprietary format or software, keeping it in an openly accessible yet secured database which can be linked to a multitude of other databases. Quickly and easily searched with the response being trusted by everyone.