ARCHIBUS overcomes the barriers

BIM (Building Information Modelling) has proved its worth in the early stages of the building lifecycle. Thanks to ARCHIBUS and other operating life cycle management applications that information gathered during the design and build stages is now easily usable to manage the latter stages of the building’s life. 


In moving to EIM (Enterprise Information Management), the deeper structural barriers are not so easily dismissed.  These barriers largely involve responsibility and workflow.  The basic model structures, technologies, and culture of collaborative development used for BIM are unsuited to enterprise information flow. 


For instance, there is nothing in the IFC model that handles workflow and liability in a practical fashion, because BIM is data-focused, not process-focused.  In the later stages of a building’s life, BIM provides richer information, but no inherent process improvement.


The saying ‘Horses for courses’ rings true and BIM has to stop where it’s best at - and handover to ARCHIBUS to manage the building, which is where it excels.


BIM is not specifically concerned with the organisational principles of many enterprises—those in which the relationships and duties of different components of the enterprise are captured in terms of service levels and compliance documentation.




For the enterprise service levels are readily defined, measured, altered, outsourced, or changed and improved.  And more importantly, service-level agreements (SLAs) define responsibility not just for data but for actions that move projects and enterprises forward. SLAs also define the monetary value of data and actions, ensuring that the necessary services are properly funded.


For years, many organisations that have been trying to establish BIM standards have struggled to monetise the value of hand-off data and get the funding they would need to make the projects real.  The inability of BIM to broker liability/responsibility and effectively address the issues associated with risk mitigation and regulatory compliance is at the core of the problem.


Another barrier overcome by ARCHIBUS is in the storage technology itself.  BIM models are based on traditional object technology which maintains rich relationships between elements.  Currently, object databases have not addressed transactional information such as adequate levels of service, regulatory compliance and/or risk mitigation. When you start to model transactions, such as revisions and hand-offs, you find that the business logic for modelling organisational issues such as liability for changes is by-and-large not present in the BIM model. 


ARCHIBUS avoids the model becoming unwieldy by capturing the data at the optimum level, at the level of hand-off between actors in the process chain rather than importing data at the lowest level of detail.


The web based single relational database architecture of ARCHIBUS means that the barriers of hardware technology needed to support BIM in the past are a thing of the past.


A fourth problem is in the focus of BIM on the design professions that drive the methodologies. 


True process improvement doesn’t simply involve making the existing handoffs more efficient.  Instead, true process improvement involves erasing and redrawing the lines of responsibility.  As noted above, the BIM model does not capture responsibility and liability well at all, and has no high-level constructs for capturing and manipulating process.  The central reason for this state of affairs is that BIM software is extremely capital intensive to develop and, consequently, enshrines the current divisions of labour. 


A final problem is the mechanisms for extending interoperable models, such as the IFC and BIM, are currently driven by standards bodies, not innovators or practitioners. The reasons why standards bodies (usually dominated by governments and institutions) are involved is readily understood, since the largest stakeholders for having vendor-independent formats for design information are governments and institutions with real estate and large property holdings. 


As such, many government organisations are the first to embrace the need for BIM and IFC.  (If nothing else, it creates job security for the participants as the refinement of such standards is a never-ending activity.)  Unfortunately, standards based on governmental or institutional needs often make BIM standards reactive to need rather than proactive to breakthrough trends in efficiency. 


It also makes the rate of change very slow.  If every addition must be validated by an international committee and then adopted by multiple vendors with their own product release cycles, change will necessarily be at the speed of political affiliation rather than at the speed we expect of modern technical innovation.


To put these problems in further perspective, consider the fact that the examples above involve BIM’s area of strength: estimating, design changes, ongoing building management.  When you pull back to look at the enterprise as a whole, or the portfolio as a whole, the dependencies and workflows get even more complex. 


How does the BIM data connect to HR, IT, and ERP resources?  How do tasks, purchase orders, and cost information interact with the general ledger and cost accounting?  Well, the EIM capability in ARCHIBUS is remarkable and these and other barriers are straightforwardly and effectively overcome optimising the data from BIM and enabling efficient management of the operating phase of the building/estate lifecycle.


Call us at Mass to discuss how we can help you navigate and exploit the EIM model. You can reach us by phone on 0118 977 8560 or email us at


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