Towards a BIM-based decision support system for integrating whole life cost estimation into design development

Zanni, Mariangela, Sharpe, Tim, Lammers, Philipp, Arnold, Leo and Pickard, James (2020) Towards a BIM-based decision support system for integrating whole life cost estimation into design development. In: ICCCBE/W78 Virtual Joint Conference : 18th International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering ​& 37th International CIB W78 Conference; 18 - 20 Aug 2020, Sao Paulo, Brazil (held online).


A common barrier to achieving design intent is the absence of information about operational performance during key design stages. This results in uninformed decision-making, which has negative impacts on actual building performance and Whole Life Cost (WLC). It is proposed that Building Information Modelling (BIM) has the potential to assist design decisions at initial stages, if the model can utilize reliable and robust cost and performance data from buildings in use. This paper describes the findings of a research project that has investigated the integration of WLC estimation into BIM processes. Firstly, the research attempts to gather tacit expert knowledge by reverse-engineering unstructured processes to clarify information requirements for WLC assessment. The Integrated DEFinition (IDEF) 3 structured diagramming modelling technique was utilised for process mapping of information flows. As a result, value adding information, and the chain of interdependencies, were determined. The model has informed the development of a decision-support tool that automates prescriptive tasks and stream-lines information exchange procedures. The research findings support the idea that BIM can assist the accurate estimation of WLC of an asset, from the early design stages, through the implementation of a structured information exchange. However, source data is fragmented and in propriety formats and further work is needed to standardise and gather performance data and BIM model structures.

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