Study of Possible Applications of Currently Available Building Information Modeling Tools for the Analysis of Initial Costs and Energy Costs for Performing Life Cycle Cost Analysis
Mukherji, Payal Tapandev
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The cost of design, construction and maintenance of facilities is on continual rise. The demand is to construct facilities which have been designed by apply life cycle costing principles. These principles have already given strong decision making power to the manufacturing industry. The need to satisfy the environmental sustainability requirements, improve operational effectiveness of buildings and apply value engineering principles has increased the dependency on life cycle costing analysis. The objective is to obtain economically viable solutions by analyzing the alternatives during the design of a building. Though the LCCA process is able to give the desired results, it does have some problems which have stood as hindrances to the more widespread use of the LCCA concept and method. The literature study has highlighted that the problem areas are the lack of frameworks or mechanisms for collecting and storing data and the complexity of LCCA exercise, which involves the analysis of a thousand of building elements and a number of construction-type options and maintenance activities for each building element at detailed design stages. Building Information Modeling has been able to repeatedly answer the questions raised by the AEC industry. The aim of this study is to identify the areas where BIM can be effectively applied to the LCCA process and become a part of the workflow. In this study, initially four LCCA case studies are read and evaluated from the point of view of understanding the method in which the life cycle costing principles have been applied. The purpose, the type alternatives examined, the process of analysis, the type of software used and the results are understood. An attempt has been carried out to understand the workflow of the LCCA process. There is a confidence that Building Information Modeling is capable of handling changes during the design, construction and maintenance phases of the project. Since applying changes to any kind of information of the building during LCC analysis forms the core, it has become necessary to use computer building models for examining these changes. The building modeling softwares are enumerated. The case studies have highlighted that the evaluation of the alternatives are primarily to achieve energy efficient solutions for the buildings. Applying these solutions involves high initial costs. The return on investment is the means by which these solutions become viable to the owners of the facilities. This is where the LCCA has been applied. Two of the important cost elements of the LCC analysis are initial costs and the operating costs of the building. The collaboration of these modeling tools with other estimating software where the initial costs of the building can be generated is studied. The functions of the quantity take-off tools and estimating tools along with the interoperability between these tools are analyzed. The operating costs are generated from the software that focuses on sustainability. And the currently used tools for performing the calculations of the life cycle costing analysis are also observed. The objective is to identify if the currently available BIM tools and software can help in obtaining LCCA results and are able to offset the hindrances of the process. Therefore, the software are studied from the point of view of ease of handling data and the type of data that can be generated. Possible BIM workflows are suggested depending on the functions of the software and the relationship between them. The study has aimed at taking a snapshot the current tools available which can aid the LCCA process. The research is of significance to the construction industry as it forms a precursor to the application of Building Information Modeling to the LCCA process as it shows that it has the capacity of overcoming the obstacles for life cycle costing. This opens a window to the possibility of applying BIM to LCCA and furthering this study.