07 - 09 March 2023 | ExCeL, London

07 - 09 March 2023
ExCeL, London

Opinion piece

A guide to: Smart Buildings, Asset Information Models and Digital Twins

An opinion piece article by John Adams, Head of Product, Glider Technology

Projects at their inception in 2022 have new and long lasting decisions to make about their digital futures and their related societal and environmental impacts.

To understand more about these emerging opportunities and how to make great decisions about the digital future of the built environment join our webinar on 1st June by signing up here.

The reason it is important to talk about these topics is because there are questions that are now needed to be asked like: “How smart do I need the building to be to support my building outcomes?”, “Do I want a Digital Twin?” and “Where will I store an asset information model and how will I keep it up to date to deliver the intended value?”

We have been working with the idea of the Asset Information Model (AIM) for some time now, but the concept is only now becoming mature as we have been through a number of cycles of delivering them. We’ve moved along from the notion that the AIM is just the remnants of the BIM delivery process which are handed to the client alongside a traditional handover, to an understanding that a holistic digital handover pack including models, documents and data is the target.

Whilst the technical ability to deliver Asset Information Models we need to circle back and really focus on the requirements and the eventual uses of this new rich resource. If the definition isn’t correct, then the final result will not be correct.

Although the 2016 BIM Mandate intended to replace a number of traditional ways of working with digital processes and outputs, this was always going to be a transition period where both were needed. As Asset Information Models become richer over time, the more imperative it has become to ensure the right specification is in place to support data driven operational activities.


Moving on to Smart Buildings, which up until a few years ago, smart technology couldn’t easily be integrated into buildings, so this is certainly an area of massive opportunity for building owners and operators.

The team at Glider have been involved in a number of innovative smart building projects and have gained some real insight into the impact this has right from project inception to operation. To ensure this insight can be shared in a really valuable way, we have been collaborating with other smart building leaders and the RIBA to create a Smart Buildings Overlay to the Plan of Works. This document has just gone out for industry review and we are looking forward to a publication later this year that really helps the right decision and appointments to be made at the right time to deliver fantastic smart buildings outcomes.

Without specialist planning at the earliest stages it is still possible to add a few smart systems into a building but not deliver an actual Smart Building itself.

Digital Twins have a huge and exciting future in the built environment as they will deliver the connection between smart buildings and their digital representation centred around an Asset Information Model. This is understandably generating a lot of hype, not all of it helpful. However, this is the nature of adopting new technology paradigms.

The UK is delivering world leading projects and R&D in the field of Digital Twins and we are addressing the challenges at a truly encouraging speed, but it is important to note there is no way to buy a Digital Twin off the shelf, so to speak

What is really interesting to look at is the potential of this concept of Digital Twins to provide far reaching opportunities to reduce operational cost and carbon of not just our buildings, but our cities, as well as improving the quality and flexibility of the buildings and infrastructure we work so hard to create.

This talk will cover the details of these new digital tools you are able to procure to get those practices in place and ensure that fulfilling Smart Buildings, Asset Information Models and Digital Twin is possible. As well as talking on how to effectively invest in the design, delivery and operation of them for effective return on investment. With these digital tools in place you can aim to achieve an effective Information Value Chain to take lessons learned from this project to the next to improve communication, collaboration and delivery.

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