A common barrier to achieving design intent is the absence of comprehensive information about operational performance during design development. This results in uninformed decision-making which impacts on actual building performance, in particular Whole Life Costs (WLC). It is proposed that Building Information Modelling (BIM) has the potential to facilitate a more comprehensive and accurate design approach from the initial stages if the model can utilize reliable and robust cost and performance data from buildings in use. This paper describes the initial findings of a research project that has investigated the integration of WLC estimation into BIM processes. The study focusses specifically on the rapidly emerging Private Rental Sector (PRS) as the build-to-rent market has repeatable tasks and similar workflow patterns, roles and responsibilities, but impacts of WLC can significantly influence the business model. The study adopted a mixed method approach for the development and validation of a structured standardized process for timely WLC estimation through BIM. The research identified a number of barriers. These included varying definitions of WLC calculation methodologies; the availability and standards of data sources, in particular, the misalignment of coding systems for identification and classification of components at various levels of development, proprietary ownership of data, lack of knowledge and skills in team members to produce and/or utilize data sources, and limitations of software. However, the research proposes that these may be addressed by a reverse-engineered systematic process that uses the Integrated DEFinition (IDEF) 3 structured diagramming modelling technique that can be incorporated into a software model and has developed a model for a systematic approach for BIM-enabled WLC assessment based on CE principles which would include access to live data streams from completed buildings. The paper describes this model development which has the potential to enhance BIM lifecycle management through an augmented decision-making approach that is integral to the natural design development process.
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