Most of the users have questions and are afraid of new technologies. For many reasons we get typical questions that we have to answer with confidence, so we’ve made a list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers.

What is an Operational BIM?

It’s about money and supporting workflows, and being furthest away from the “beauty contest”. The key point of Operational BIM is the graphical asset inventory inside a building – obviously also including the floor plans, 3D models of them. These assets can be equipped with unique identifiers such as barcodes or RFID chips that can be used to build up controllable maintenance workflows (e.g. requiring the worker to read them once doing the work). In addition additional properties can be recorded to any BIM element e.g. photos of the machine when it is taken apart to support future maintenance or condition data to help planning and tendering renovations.
In case of Operational BIM it is essential to collect the already existing building data with high speed, high accuracy and using simple and rugged tools that you can give into the hands of e.g. a technician. No engineering skills required.
One more key benefit of Operational BIM is that the model is maintained by the already existing maintenance crew onsite, where changes happen. This means all building data will be stored in a central digital BIM database instead of storing them in the heads of the maintenance people.

How is OrthoGraph Operational BIM different from CAFM?

OrthoGraph is not a CAFM or CMMS system, but probably the most comprehensive data provider of such systems. Operational BIM brings in real-life building data into any system that needs building and asset data. OrthoGraph doesn’t cover workflows, or handle contracts but handles all building details graphically to support them. This data is accessible in the everyday workflows and can be maintained by the regular maintenance crew. All changes will be provided to external systems like CAFM, CMMS, BMS and anything that needs building data via its integration API.

In addition to all this OrthoGraph supports unique identifiers such as barcodes or RFID chips placed on the assets. These identifiers can later be used by the CAFM / CMMS systems to control if and when the particular assets has been physically accessed or control cleaning workflows.

When do I need OrthoGraph?

My building was designed in BIM? I already have a digital twin!

IFC files, digital twins differ a lot from each-other. The ones created to support construction might be great for that purpose, but it’s really rare that they meet the requirements of operation. Typically they are lack of room polygons, many times walls don’t connect to each other to define closed rooms and also typically they don’t contain the basic assets, such as walls, doors and windows, even though they look like so.

There are even contents, that cannot be provided by the architects, such as unique identifiers on all assets to support workflows and attached photos of dismantled machines at their final location to support the future maintenance of them.

Still, existing IFC files can be imported into OrthoGraph as main data source by us as a service, which needs preparation of the models. Please take a look at the requirements that should be fulfilled by such BIM models to be used for operation: Knowledge base (orthograph.net) IFC requirements

Last but key important is the accuracy of the model. If there is only a 2% deviation e.g. in the rental area, then during the 30-50 years of usage period it will sum up to an amount, that is comparable with the total construction cost of the building. What we also experience when selling a commercial building if the documentation is not accurate / detailed enough, then it’s an instant 1.5-2.5% loss on the sales price.

Can you import my existing building documentation?

Existing IFC models can be imported (see the FAQ of My building was designed in BIM? I already have a digital twin!) with some processing and also if there are existing blueprints of the building, then they can also be used in OrthoGraph as a scaled background to draw on. What we experience is that the best result comes out of a fresh survey, that you only need to do for the last time. The regular maintenance crew can keep it updated so there is no need to survey the building anymore in its total.

How long does it take to implement OrthoGraph for an existing building?

Days, maybe some weeks depending on how difficult and how large the building is. Typically the key factor of slowing down an OrthoGraph survey is the access availability to locations. Once the survey has started (and not finished), at the end of each day the fresh data becomes available for analysis, export, viewing and sharing. OrthoGraph doesn’t need post processing.

To benefit the most from Operational BIM, we recommend integrating it to other systems, such as CAFM, CMMS, BMS, ERP and anything that needs building data. This might also take some time, but due to having an open API typically not the OrthoGraph part consumes the most time in such projects.

Is it available in my country?

OrthoGraph Enterprise is a global solution. It is implemented directly on-site by our experts. As of today we have implemented projects within the EU and USA, and we have also implementations in progress in other places like the UAE. Please contact us with your direct request at info@orthograph.net

Where will be my data stored? What about data security?

OrthoGraph data can be stored at 3 locations:

• Central OrthoGraph Cloud located within the EU
• On a Microsoft Azure or AWS dedicated cloud hosting service
• At your own premise controlled by your own ICT department.

We support any of the above, just let us know your preference. This also means that the level of data protection is up to you, though even when everything is hosted by OrthoGraph means still a very strong level of data protection including an Enterprise level of user management.

What is the usual Return on Investment?

It very much depends on how much you use from the data produced by OrthoGraph. If you are using it well then somewhere about 6 times in the first year, and 40 times of annual total cost in the following years. Try out and play with our ROI calculator with you own numbers: https://www.orthograph.net/microsite/operational_bim_roi_calculator.html

We already run a helpdesk, and a CAFM, it would be simply too much to add another system.

OrthoGraph can be easily integrated with most CAFM/CMMS/ERP/BMS and any third-party system that needs building data, graphical functionality via open API. Such systems are great for workflow and contract management, maybe even some asset management too, but relying on real-life data, building up workflows on them is essential for effective building operations. The achievable savings might sum up to a level that is comparable to the total construction cost of the building.

Can I use the data of OrthoGraph in my existing systems?

OrthoGraph can be easily integrated with most CAFM/CMMS/ERP/BMS and any third-party system that needs building data, graphical functionality via open API. Contact us for more details.

Can I use the data of my existing systems in OrthoGraph?

OrthoGraph is working as the major data source of building data. It can be integrated to any external system such as CAFM, CMMS, BMS or any enterprise system that needs building data. Such systems are responsible for operational workflows, so your existing data should be connected to the OrthoGraph data at those systems and OrthoGraph should be kept as the graphical asset inventory source of the same systems.

It’s expensive!!!

Did you check out the ROI? Please compare the price of a system implementation to the real savings you can achieve with using OrthoGraph. And it’s not necessary to take all savings item, just start with the first, easiest to achievable one. Once we have implemented it on the first pilot, then you can continue with further benefiting from the data.
Can you also involve other departments that could benefit from accessing the same Operational BIM we have made for you? Maybe you can also involve them to the financing part.

It needs too much learning, development, education.

Less then you think, make the first step. The deepest technical training we have is 3 days for those users who really want to make modifications on the floor plans: walls, doors, windows. For those users, who just regularly update maintenance points – both with their parameters or graphically – it’s enough to learn the basics in 90 minutes. Everything is simple and digitally controlled.

Our people are too old for such changes.

Aren’t you afraid that they are leaving the company? This means all their knowledge about the buildings and the company will also be lost. If they have smart phones, then OrthoGraph will only be a simple peace of cake for them. OrthoGraph is super user-friendly and easy to learn, moreover NO special hardware is needed!

We worked well till today, why would we make any changes?

Aren’t you afraid that they are leaving the company? This means all their knowledge about the buildings and the company will also be lost. If they have smart phones, then OrthoGraph will only be a simple peace of cake for them. You surely feel the changing environment. First the COVID changed how people use offices, not the energy crisis brings a competition to reduce energy costs while keeping service levels as high as possible to keep tenants, departments up and running. The labor cost is increasing, there is a high fluctuation in the business. Sooner or later you will need to follow up your competition, or be ahead of them.

Someone else should try it, maybe then I’ll think about it.

It’s OK to be a follower, but why not to get advance of your competition? In today’s current situation this can mean win against loosing.

It costs too much for the whole portfolio.

Why don’t you start with 1 pilot and try to get the most out of it? Focus on the ROI and start using your data!!! Once you have tried it, we are sure you will scale it up to the whole portfolio already because of the great results.

I won’t step up to my boss because I don’t dare to show the big numbers, the high costs…

Bring me with you and let me do the job for you.

It cannot handle sloped and curtain, walls, where are the slabs?

Is it that so critical? At least 80% of your building is covered by the existing functionality, start making money out of it. As development of OrthoGraph goes on, once you will get those missing functions too. OrthoGraph is not about the beauty contest but about focusing on the most expensive, most critical parts of the buildings, that change regularly.

It’s done very badly today, we all know it. How can you imagine to make a change on it?

That’s the main point. We made the change into the reach, it’s up to you to get it utilized. Start you pilot today and benefit from the results already tomorrow.

I was told it’s not possible…

We have also heard it, but now you have it in your hands. Right?

We can’t afford the engineering capacity to keep such data up-to-date, our engineers need to focus on more important topics.

To keep data updated in OrthoGraph is fairly simple and no engineering knowledge neither special software skills or hardware is required. Keeping the data updated is that simple that it’s hard to recognize the additional load on your employees. Thus time savings by using the BIM for navigating to the assets, to help collecting the proper tools and materials on the way to the work-site and providing electronic data that support the maintenance work is a different, high dimension compared to the additional load of data maintenance.

What data will I get? What is the everyday purpose?

OrthoGraph provides you as level of detail and information (LOD and LOI) as much is needed for your facility operation. In any case you’ll get full as-built information on all of your walls, doors, windows, surface areas, technical assets, and an inventory, all individually identified.

It costs money!

Sure, there is no free lunch. Did you check out the ROI of such data in your hands? Let’s choose the simplest achievable ROI element and measure the results.

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OrthoGraph GmbH
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+ 41 (41) 5510150

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USA: +1 760 933 1550
UK : + 44 (20) 34119438

Other pages


Rapid Survey Concept

Orthograph for Constructions

Historical Building Survey