skip to content

Centre for Digital Built Britain completed its five-year mission and closed its doors at the end of September 2022

This website remains as a legacy of the achievements of our five-year foundational journey towards a digital built Britain

As a SME we have experienced a shift in the market with the term Digital Twin promoting the full lifecycle approach to facilities management and building a bridge between BIM and Smart Cities.

EcoDomus is a software platform that has developed from a COBie middleware to a lifecycle common data environment (CDE) and Digital Twin platform, using a 3D model interface to integrate with multiple facility management (FM) systems. The integration with a wide variety of FM systems and the introduction of IoT has enabled connected data sets. Growing the knowledge of the asset’s actual performance together with the ability to maintain accurate asset records throughout the whole lifecycle.

The EcoDomus interface has a user-friendly portal to add and edit asset information, manage workflows, link documents and create digital forms. In the background COBie has provided the digital structure behind asset data management and the automated migration of information from the design and construction phases on to handover and operational FM systems.

EcoDomus has been deployed on a number of building facilities and infrastructure projects, developing a wide arrange of use cases and ROI’s on the benefits of BIM for FM and digital twins.

One example includes a large Asian rail company whose asset replacement forecast set out several challenges ahead. These challenges require technology and vision to address. The project provided use cases and basic ROI’s that enabled future funding to be agreed at board level.

This effort together with many of our clients still required a lot of education, changing existing mindsets and work aligning data structures. There is still much to do promoting why organised data is needed, and the automated benefits. Often the challenges also include the reluctance to move into new unknown processes, the investment needed and the scale of what is required.

It is commonplace to receive models close to the end of construction with a FM deliverable and COBie requirements, but when the models are reviewed there is no asset data, there is no linkages to asset documents, manuals, certificates or warranties and COBie has fallen to the wayside. These are all elements that can be address and managed, but when the focus is applied late in the process it is difficult to deliver meaningful and cost-effective results. The success foe Digital Twins and smart cities still depends on the successful delivery of these data requires.

We often encourage organisations to engage early or test the benefits through pilots with clear KPI’s. By doing this the workflows and specification documents can be clearly established and aligned to give the benefits of connected data that meets the organisation’s needs.

The National Digital Twin Day has emphasised the movement towards digital ways of working and the vision of wider connect data environments. Moving away from the message of BIM. Even with the strong industry push BIM is still met with mix reactions and excuses form various sectors. The value has been demonstrated; organisations that invested wisely will not turn back to inefficient practises; however, the real positive is BIM started the digital conversation about improving processes and about the importance of digital data. This has enabled the discussion to grow from BIM for FM to Digital Twins across all sectors and regions. It is important now that the term Digital Twin is clearly defined, the value is demonstrated and blockers to change are met with proof that the technology, know-how and ROI is there to be seen. The lessons are also to be learnt from the implementation of BIM, together with recognition as well. BIM must not be overlooked because the term ‘Digital Twin’ is taking the reins. The structure and early management of project data is fundamental to the success of Digital Twins and Smart Cities.  Therefore, investment across all SME’s for BIM, GIS, IoT, Digital Twins and many more must be made available to innovate.

Stewart Macfarlane

Regional Director