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Interview: Adoption of BIM in real estate

Interview: Adoption of BIM in real estate

Robert was interviewed by a real estate company in the Netherlands with 60.000 properties about the adoption of BIM. This interview was conducted for his previous role as a representative for digital transformation for real estate companies in the Netherlands.

Robert Versteeg· 6 minute read

How does Aedes view the digitization of real estate? Why is BIM so important for real estate companies? And what role does Woonstad Rotterdam have in this?

"In my view, digitization of real estate is primarily a data quality improvement," says Robert Versteeg, consultant, digitization and information management at Aedes, the association of real estate companies.

"With good real estate data in BIM, you improve your real estate workflows to the customer. Through good management and maintenance, tenants will have fewer complaints and repair requests, and repairs will be fixed more quickly and adequately in one go. That automatically leads to higher tenant satisfaction and improves proactive maintenance of buildings."

Why is digitization so crucial for real estate companies?

"First, by digitizing, you can quickly adopt BIM standards and provide information of high data quality for collaboration with partners, such as contractors, architects, maintenance companies, and municipalities. This speeds up decision-making and delivery of maintenance work.

The second benefit of digitizing is improving cooperation between internal departments and real estate companies, making it easier to identify complex challenges and solutions using data analytics.

The third benefit is communication with your tenants. Because you have more context about the building, the tenant is referring to.

Fourth point: if you have a Digital Twin, a digital replica of your real estate, you can calculate scenarios to validate policy choices, such as implementing sustainability measures in your buildings. An excellent example of combining sustainability goals with BIM is the project for energetic BIM run by the Windesheim polytechnical university.

Finally, digitization will improve the decision-making process in your real estates processes, such as MJOB, condition measurements, and repair requests. BIM acts as a data standard with rules to store information about a building and how they relate to each other and different workflows. The adoption of BIM makes your workflows more efficient and reliable."

What can a corporation do with BIM?

"For me, BIM is an ingredient for real estate business services to digitize their workflows. We have developed an Information Delivery Specification (ILS) with a group of Real Estate Sector Managing Experts for BIM.

The ILS gives every real estate company a standard definition for a property's objects, elements, and characteristics. For example, the definition of a room, kitchen, roof, floors, walls, facades, colors, surfaces, and materials.

You must specify every object and capture any unambiguously before storing it in your BIM model. You want to avoid any room for interpretations and assumptions by different employees and partners you work with. Only with reliable data can you earn the trust to give BIM a role in the construction and real estate industry.

Also, don't forget the tenant will benefit from BIM. For tenants, it can be unpleasant if the asset managers don't understand a simple repair request because they don't understand the planning and design layout of properties. Requests, such as repairs, need to be done quickly and correctly. That way, avoid irritation and angry phone calls and emails from tenants. BIM can support real estate companies in improving their information needs when delivering services for tenants too."

What applications of BIM are there?

"First of all, the information from BIM is vital for asset management. That seems obvious: you need to know precisely what the current condition of your assets is at all times. BIM enables efficient data management for real estate.

BIM is practical to optimize the number of inspections in a building because you have all the information, so you don't have to visit houses or complexes every time to collect data for different asset management processes. In addition, real estate information from BIM is the basis for preparing a multi-year maintenance budget. Therefore adding value for cost estimation.

With high-quality data through BIM data management standards, you can estimate the expected maintenance costs and benchmark complexes more accurately and plan your resources accordingly. This results in your CFO being able to make more accurate budgets and mitigate any unexpected expenses due to hidden maintenance costs." See the link for an example of how they digitized their assets.

Why is BIM essential for real estate companies?

"BIM is essential for the housing valuation system. In the Netherlands, all rental homes are regulated through a rent control system. That means a point system determines which properties have rental control. That means you must have up-to-date and correct information about the property characteristics to determine the revenue and value of each property. In the Aedes ILS, we comply with the NEN2580 specification for measuring house sizes, an essential topic for determining income and value.

I see BIM as an accelerator and supporter of these processes. In principle, you no longer have to go to each property as all the relevant information is in a model, and the data quality is controlled through our ILS. That way, you can calculate revenues and value at the touch of a button. When the data quality is good, BIM makes our real estate processes faster, more efficient, and more reliable."

What does the tenant notice about BIM?

"Using BIM will deliver better insight into the property's current performance. This is good for the real estate company and tenant. Services levels will go up. Because of the insights into the condition of each property, more preventive maintenance is done. Thus you can plan and prevent complaints and improve collaboration through BIM. A good example in The Netherlands is collaborations with contractors, also known as result-driven partnerships.

Suppose a Customer Service representative has all the information about the property right at hand and recognizes the property. In that case, they can determine the cause more quickly and likely get a one-time fix to fix the issue fast. This is possible because the employees understand the property's context. It understands what systems are installed and repairs are done quicker and better with suitable materials. Therefore, adopting BIM supports the integration of workflows and makes managing properties easier.

What is Woonstad's role?

"I see Woonstad as one of the frontrunners in digitizing real estate. Ambitious with innovative ideas and plans. I recognize the Rotterdam mentality of getting things done: you start fast, learn by doing, and are not afraid of this journey into unknown territory. I also greatly appreciate that Woonstad shares the knowledge and insights gained with other real estate companies. Woonstad has a lot of BIM expertise in-house, and the data analysts are doing pioneering work for the sector."

More information Read more online about Aedes and BIM.

In addition to Woonstad Rotterdam, Sector managing experts on BIM are run by the real estate companies of Eigen Haard, Havensteder, Kleurrijk Wonen, Staedion, Woongoed Middelburg, and Stadtlander.

To see the complete original interview (in Dutch) by Woonstad Rotterdam. See link: [PDF]