Custom-tailored BIM Solutions:
Life Cycle Consulting and Digitalizing Building Operation & Maintenance

Scroll Down

For the industry’s creative professionals, BIM (Building Information Modelling), a technology that enables integrated management of information from building design to construction, has evolved as a bonafide tool. It is now beginning to be used in operations and maintenance.

Kensuke Yasui of Nikken Sekkei and Keiji Yoshimoto of Nikken Sekkei Construction Management (NCM) focus on the importance of efficient maintenance and management of stock in light of unfolding Japanese social trends such as the shortage of labor and the high cost of hiring skilled technicians. We asked the pair about "life cycle consulting using BIM,” a new perspective in the era of BIM solutions, where the notion of “the client as the user” has arrived.

Yasashii (Easy) BIM® provides information from the client's business perspective

The word "BIM" likely brings to mind a complex three-dimensional architectural drawing. For users, however, detailed drawings don’t tell the whole story. At Nikken Sekkei, it is said, "For the client, building completion is the starting point. From there, valuable architectural information will be required.” The firm endeavors to provide accurate information that meets clients’ needs. For example, energy consumption can be visualized in order to reduce running costs, and data can be created on building maintenance & repair records for their medium- to long-term optimization, thereby making building operation and maintenance more efficient.

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s BIM Promotion Council calls this field "Life Cycle Consulting (LCC)." Going forward, it will become increasingly important as it contributes to a sustainable society.

Figure 1: Conceptual diagram of Life Cycle Consulting

Against this social backdrop, Nikken Sekkei Construction Management (NCM) has developed Yasashii (Easy) BIM®. Far from the BIM created by designers and contractors for building construction, Easy BIM can be used proactively by clients by centrally managing building information from the planning stage to the operation & maintenance stage.

Easy BIM provides the necessary building data for each project in an easy to handle format. For new construction projects, a BIM is created from the planning stage. For existing facilities, client interviews are conducted about how the BIM will be used, whereupon operation-relevant data is organized for incorporation into the BIM. Since the objective calls for utilizing the information throughout the building lifecycle, the effort goes beyond working for the aims of the building owner as a procurer. Facility data relevant to the owner’s business operations undergoes thorough organization. BIM Level of Development (LOD) is defined and database assembled in order to increase the efficiency of the owner’s business.

So, what does Life Cycle Consultation using BIM actually look like? Here are two projects in which Nikken Sekkei and Nikken Sekkei Construction Management have been engaged.

Visualizing operation and maintenance for sound facilities management|Yawata City Hall

At Yawata City Hall in Kyoto Prefecture, which is scheduled to begin operations in 2023, a joint venture between Okumura Corporation and Yamashita Sekkei Inc. is using Easy BIM® to assemble a facility management system (BIM-FM). From the project’s start, the city signaled its desire to use BIM for facilities management. This is an advanced approach in which information coordination was folded into building specifications -- from design and construction to operation and maintenance.

Nikken Sekkei and NCM are organizing the city hall's workflow and information for facilities management, putting necessary information in simple floor plans and cross-sectional views, as well as using versatile FM software, to create energy management and other plans that employ IoT sensors. Concurrent consideration of facilities management tasks, from the planning stage, leads to a more user-friendly building with the ability to coordinate building service zoning, etc.

In the future, the system can be applied to nearly 160 municipally managed public facilities. By accumulating data on the operation and maintenance of the facilities and visualizing the costs, the timing of maintenance, repair work and management costs can be optimized. This is expected to lead to reductions in staff workload.

Figure 2: Easy BIM Yawata City

“Life Cycle Consulting” is a new business to optimize long-term building use by accumulating building information that had formerly been divided chronologically into the categories of "design," "construction," and "operation.” "Operation and maintenance costs make up 80% of the lifecycle costs of a building,” explains Mr. Yoshimoto. “I want to use BIM to streamline these costs from the building owner’s perspective."

Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Life Cycle BIM|Onomichi City Hall

Onomichi City Hall (design: Nikken Sekkei, construction: Shimizu Corporation) was selected in 2020 by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as a model project for facilitating building construction and O&M processes using BIM. An April 2021 report discloses the precise type of consulting that should be performed includes an analysis by Nikken Sekkei and Shimizu Corporation using Onomichi City Hall as a case study.

The report details and quantifies an ‘action list’ of work to be done by the client over a 60-year span of building use, using a BIM comparison. Results estimated that a 10.8% reduction in the client’s workload was achievable, as required in the construction process and in the operation phase. Because of the versatility of this previously unknown indicator of the management work of the client, we believe that BIM data can be used in a wide range of building management applications, and that it is not limited to public buildings.

"I hope that BIM can come into more common use in public facilities,” adds Mr. Yasui.

Figure 3: BIM in Onomichi City Hall Design and Construction

Figure 4: Life Cycle BIM Report

Building a "digital transformation foundation” for urban development with 3D city models

Nikken Sekkei is participating in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s “Project PLATEAU” to develop, utilize, and openly share data on 3D urban models for 56 cities nationwide. The company aims to develop architectural data not only for individual building projects, but also on an urban scale.
"When spatial information is compiled, it can be used in a variety of situations,” explains Mr. Yasui. “For example, if information on building regulations, such as the locations for emergency exits, were digitized, it would be useful to firefighters in the event of a blaze. Collective BIM data enables visualizing a better future for cities,” he says.

“We want to provide spatial information that can lead to a variety of business and social contributions through the appropriate use of urban stock,” he adds, noting efforts using BIM to create digital solutions for urban spatial issues.

■Yawata City Hall Outline

Image: Yamashita Sekkei Inc.

Name Yawata City Hall Construction Project
Owner Yawata City
Location Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Completion of construction August 2022
Concept design Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc.
Schematic design Yamashita Sekkei Inc.
Design development and construction Okumura Corporation and Yamashita Sekkei (JV)
Development of new city hall building management system Nikken Sekkei Ltd

■Onomichi City Hall Outline


Name New Onomichi City Hall
Owner Onomichi City
Location Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Completion of construction August 2020
Schematic design and design development Nikken Sekkei Ltd
Construction Shimizu Corporation, Sato Corporation, Daiho Corporation (Architectural work JV)
Electrical work (separate JV) Chudenko Corporation / Maruichi Densetsu Kogyo
HVAC & plumbing work (separate JV) DAI-DAN Co., Ltd. / Okamoto Setsubi
Figure 1 Life Cycle Consulting conceptual diagram
Prepared by Nikken Sekkei based on the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's Guidelines for BIM Standard Workflows and Their Use in the Construction Sector (v.1).
Figure 2 Yasashii (Easy) BIM Yawata City
Prepared by Nikken Sekkei, based on the proposal for developing a building management system for a new government building
Figure 3 BIM in design and construction, Onomichi City Hall, cover
Prepared by Nikken Sekkei, based on BIM studies (including BIM model project studies) for each work item received from Shimizu Corporation.
Figure 4 Life Cycle BIM Report
Image taken by Nikken Sekkei Ltd.
Figure 5 Excerpt from Plateau homepage.

Kensuke Yasui
Associate, Design Quality Control Department, Quality Control Division, Nikken Sekkei Ltd

A 2002 University of Tokyo graduate, Mr. Yasui studied at the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology, and worked at renowned Dutch architecture firm Erick van Egeraat. Since joining Nikken Sekkei in 2014, he has been promoting BIM within the firm and more broadly throughout the industry, using his network in Japan and overseas. Through his efforts in digitalizing building permit application processes, he actively promotes the digitalization and internationalization of architecture regulation information. He explores new design possibilities with promising client value, such as life cycle consulting and operation & maintenance BIM.

Keiji Yoshimoto
Director, Nikken Sekkei Construction Management, Inc. (NCM)

Mr. Yoshimoto received specialized training in mechanical & control engineering, electronics & electrical engineering, architectural engineering and information technology at Keio University’s Graduate School of Science and Engineering, where he completed his studies in 2013. From 2019 he has presided over the firm’s New Business Development Department, developing BIM technology and providing consulting services for BIM-based design and use.
While conducting wide-ranging work on new and existing buildings -- from planning to operation stages -- he conceived and developed Yasashii (Easy) BIM® with the information required for building owners and building managers.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to the use of cookies. Our cookie policy.