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  • Writer's pictureWill Gage

How to Organise Your Building Information Efficiently



Are you struggling to keep track of all the various documents, folders, spreadsheets, plans etc for your buildings? This article will guide you on how to organise your building information efficiently, ensuring that you maintain control over your property's data and documentation in a simple, streamlined and accessible manner.


From understanding the basics of Building Information Management (BIM) to implementing practical strategies for consolidating your information, you'll find actionable advice and insights to help you curate your building's information like a pro.


1. Understanding the Basics of Managing Building Information


1.1 What is Building Information Management?


Building Information Management (BIM) is a process that integrates the physical and functional attributes of a building into a digital representation. This is most commonly recognised as a digital three-dimensional representation which contains a comprehensive database of every aspect of the building. By adopting BIM, stakeholders can make informed decisions based on accurate information.


The problem is, however, that existing buildings may not already have a traditional BIM model and implementing one post-completion can be extremely costly. Furthermore, typical BIM software is built for the AEC industry (architecture, engineering and construction), requires multiple, expensive, user licences and a significant amount of training to use, let alone the time it takes to keep the model up-to-date.


Pro-tip: Start small with BIM adoption by focusing on critical areas of your building's lifecycle. It could be as simple as digitising your O&M Manuals or storing warranty information online before scaling to a full BIM implementation.


1.2 Why is Efficient Organisation Crucial?


An efficiently organised system for managing building information can significantly reduce time spent searching for documents, enable compliance with legislation (such as the Building Safety Act 2022), cut down on operational costs, and improve decision-making velocity.


In the construction industry for example, which is often criticised for its inefficiency, adopting a structured approach to information management can offer a competitive edge. A recent study by McKinsey highlighted that construction projects implementing BIM and other digital tools could see a productivity boost of 14-15% and cost reductions of 4-6%.


Pro-tip: Regularly review and update your organisation’s information strategy to keep it relevant as your building and regulatory environments evolve. This approach not only ensures compliance but also leverages efficiency gains over time.


1.3 How Building Passport Simplifies Information Management


The concept of a Building Passport represents a breakthrough in streamlining the management of a building's information. This digital passport acts as a single source of truth, housing all essential data related to building safety, compliance records, maintenance history etc.


Through Building Passport, owners and building stakeholders have a simple, accessible, secure platform to store, organise, and share crucial building details, thus facilitating compliance with legislation, enhancing safety, and saving time and money.


Pro-tip: Use Building Passport to centralise all your compliance documents. This reduces the risk of non-compliance penalties and makes it easier for stakeholders to access and review necessary documents quickly.


2. Strategies for Organising Building Information


2.1 Using Digital Tools for Data Storage


Digital tools have revolutionised the way we store and access building information, offering a more streamlined and efficient approach compared to traditional paperwork. The traditional siloed approach to data management is being challenged with the rise of cloud storage and mobile technology, meaning crucial building data can now be accessed anytime, anywhere, significantly reducing the time spent searching for documents and information.


This not only accelerates decision-making processes but, if available to the right people at the right time, can also enhance decision-making and potentially improve response time in critical situations for emergency services.


Key benefits of using digital storage tools include:


  • Easy Accessibility: Stakeholders can get the information they need promptly, without having to physically be on-site or sift through piles of paperwork.

  • Improved Security: Unlike physical documents, digital files can be encrypted, password-protected, and backed up to prevent loss or unauthorised access.

  • Cost Efficiency: Reducing the reliance on physical storage means lower costs associated with printing, filing, and space requirements.


Pro-tip: Choose a cloud storage solution that offers robust encryption and regularly backs up data to ensure that your building information is not only accessible but also secure. Furthermore, ensure that the system you choose is interoperable with other platforms / tools so that API links can be set up to further enhance the continuity of data.


2.2 The Role of Building Passport in Centralising Information


Building Passport plays a critical role in centralising building information, making it easier for owners, stakeholders, and professionals to manage and share critical data.


This platform acts as a single source of truth, where all information related to a building, from its construction details to maintenance records and safety protocols, is stored and updated. Such centralisation not only simplifies the management of building data but also streamlines compliance with legislation and enhances the overall safety of the building.


When using Building Passport, you can:


  • Store all your building-related documents in one place, making it easier to find what you need, when you need it.

  • Share access with relevant parties, allowing for seamless collaboration and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

  • Assist your compliance with current regulations, as having all your information in one place makes it easier to check and maintain records according to legal requirements (like the “Golden Thread” of safety information required for High Risk Buildings by the Building Safety Act).


Recent statistics indicate that leveraging technologies like Building Passport can reduce the time spent on information management by up to 30% (according to a study by BuildTech Magazine, 2022), highlighting the importance of digital centralisation in today's building management practices.


2.3 Benefits of Consolidating Information on a Single Platform


Consolidating building information on a single platform like Building Passport presents numerous benefits, streamlining processes, enhancing communication, reducing points of security exposure and improving overall efficiency.


When information is scattered across different systems or stored physically, accessing, updating, and sharing becomes time-consuming and prone to errors. By centralising this information, stakeholders can enjoy real-time updates, easy accessibility, and better security measures, ensuring that the data is not only up-to-date but also protected.


Advantages of consolidating information on one platform:


  • Streamlined Processes: With all information in one place, processes that rely on up-to-date data, such as maintenance scheduling and compliance checks, become more efficient.

  • Enhanced Communication: It provides a common ground for all stakeholders to collaborate, reducing misunderstandings and conflicting information.

  • Better Decision Making: Access to accurate and comprehensive information facilitates informed decision-making, crucial for the strategic management of the building.


Pro-tip: When choosing a platform for consolidating your building information, ensure it allows for easy integration with other systems and tools you currently use. This will enable a smoother transition and ensure that you can leverage the full benefits of centralisation.


By understanding these strategies and incorporating them into your daily management routine, you can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your building information management.


Implementing Your Organisational Plan


3.1 Step-by-Step Guide to Curating Your Building's Information


Starting with curating your building's information might seem daunting, but remember, every large project begins with a single step. Initiate by gathering all existing documents, blueprints, compliance certificates, and maintenance records.


Categorise these into digital folders on your computer or a cloud storage service by their relevance—legal documents, architectural plans, operational manuals, etc. This not only simplifies retrieval but also makes it easier to understand what you currently have and what might be missing.


Pro-tip: Use a document management system like Building Passport to securely store and organise your data in the cloud. This ensures that your information is not only well-organised but also accessible from anywhere, at any time. You can also ask Building Passport to upload all of your files on your behalf - saving you the headache!


Following this, create a structured digital library within your chosen platform. It should reflect the physical realities of your building, with folders or categories for each major system or component, such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. 


Building Passport has a standardised file structure for you to follow but you can ‘tag’ any file you upload as you wish, making it easy to create your own file structure ‘on top’ of the standard set up, and subsequently super fast to select an entire category or set of files as you need them.


You can also determine what version a file is, and upload any updated files as a new version of an existing file  (whilst retaining the original file).


Pro-tip: For every new document or piece of information you receive, make it a habit to immediately file it in the correct location in your digital library, or have it written into tenders/contracts for your chosen professionals to use Building Passport as the information exchange, rather than email or file transfer services.


This ongoing discipline will save you countless hours and prevent information loss over time.


3.2 Streamlining Collaboration Amongst Stakeholders


Effective collaboration is the backbone of any successful building management strategy. It begins with clear communication about the importance of shared information and standards for how it is to be organised. Next, identify key stakeholders—owners, facility managers, contractors, and even tenants. Each has a unique role and may possess critical information that can add value to your overall knowledge base.


Implement a common platform like Building Passport for all stakeholders to contribute to and access necessary information. This transparency ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing the chances of miscommunication and errors. Regular meetings or digital catch-ups can further enhance collaboration, giving everyone a chance to update the group on new developments or changes.


Pro-tip: Enable permissions and access controls to ensure that sensitive information is only accessible to authorised personnel. This not only secures your data but also fosters trust among the stakeholders by showing them that their contributions are valued and protected.


3.3 Long-Term Advantages of Efficient Information Organisation


The benefits of an efficiently organised information system extend far beyond simple tidiness.


Firstly, it significantly reduces the time and effort required to locate specific documents or data, thereby enhancing operational efficiency. In an emergency, having immediate access to building layouts, safety manuals, and contact lists can literally save lives.


Secondly, compliance with regulations and standards becomes much simpler when you have a well-organised inventory of all your documents. This proactive approach can prevent costly fines and legal issues down the line.


Moreover, when it comes to selling or leasing property, a comprehensive and easily accessible information package can greatly increase its market value and attractiveness to potential buyers or tenants.


According to a recent study by McKinsey, the construction industry can boost productivity by 50% through real-time document sharing and collaboration. This statistic highlights the potential of efficient information organisation to not only streamline operations but also to contribute significantly to the bottom line.


Looking to simplify the management and sharing of your building information? Discover how Building Passport can streamline this process for you.


In conclusion, efficiently organising your building information is not just about digitising your documents; it's about creating a coherent system that enhances the accessibility, usability, and security of critical data.


Whether it's through using digital tools for data storage, leveraging platforms like Building Passport to centralise information, or fostering collaborative practices among stakeholders, the goal is clear - to save time, reduce costs, and enhance safety and compliance.


With the right approach and tools, you can ensure that your building's information is not just stored, but actively contributes to its value and longevity.

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