During the autumn of 2014 the Norwegian Building Authorities, the commonhold Stensgata 1 w/me, Tor Hojem, Sweco BIM lab and Rendra AS got together to investigate how one could create a BIM of an existing residential building. This blog post is the first in a series of blog posts portraying how one commonhold goes from happy amateurs to critical users of BIM.
This old courtyard apartment complex constructed in 1890 has endured through good times and bad. Photographs taken one hundred years ago show that the façades have remained almost unchanged since the time it was built. The building was reorganised from a private limited company to a commonhold, following a bankruptcy in the early 1990s. Today the property is managed by the unit holders, who meet in their free time with the aim of safeguarding the value of the building in the best interests of the owners. Managing a property of this type is based on respect for its history.
It may be assumed that the property has been maintained by people who cared about it – the building contractor, freeholder, caretaker, private limited company and today’s unit holders. Someone has examined and recorded any damage, faults and defects and ensured that something was done about them. As of today, the property should be managed in such a way that it will remain standing for another hundred years.
As newly elected board chairman in autumn 2014, I take this as my starting point. The initial sources of information about the daily running are accounting data ‒ invoices, statements of accounts, an overview of suppliers and financial status. I am retrieving information from The Norwegian Mapping Authority about the sectioning history and I can retrieve copies of drawings, some of them showing the property’s former history, from the Agency for Planning and Building Services. The Oslo Fire Department has carried out an inspection and made a report with official orders and recommendations for the building owner. These are some of the sources of information about the property, and based on these, an overview will be prepared which takes us as the building management into the future.
Matters to be addressed as I assume my position as chairman of the board are the following: ongoing matters related to sectioning, concluding open agenda items following the Fire Department inspection, ongoing building matters regarding the extension of one of the sections, upgrading of the electrical installation, etc. The outgoing board had worked solidly to safeguard the interests of the unit holders and the property appears to be well run.
In my view, what is lacking is a good tool to pull the threads together to ensure focus and planning for the further running of the property. One-third of the housing in Norway is managed through commonholds, housing cooperatives and housing associations ‒ managed with good sense, and in line with old traditions, generally known as “community spirit”. Many people are proud of this tradition, and few question whether this is a good way to manage property.
New times have brought new requirements from homeowners for how they want to live. Residential property is an important capital asset, and owners take the maintenance and management of their asset seriously. New times call for new measures. There is neither the time nor the resources to piece together the history of the property every time a new chairman is elected. We need a tool that helps to record and take care of maintenance data, and these must be linked to the individual unit and to the property’s building components. There is a clear delineation of responsibility between the community of residents and the individual unit holders, regulated by statutes and legislation on individually owned units. The tools available on the market have been devised for professionals working in property management organisations. Good software programs exist for facilities management, among them software for management, operation and maintenance (MOM), health, environment and safety (HES), project management and so on, but it appears that no software exists that enables the whole property and its residents to be viewed as one entity.
Based on the above, we think it a good idea to create a building information model (BIM) for the property. Unfortunately no examples exist of how others have done this, and a BIM for the property at Stensgate 1 is therefore a “pilot project” managed by what I would term “enthusiastic amateurs”. I will later attempt to present this little organisation, and how it works. In these blog posts I will explain some of the options we have looked at, the challenges we have encountered along the way, and the issues that we, the board of the commonhold, have discussed.
To get a preview of the project you can read the whole report on how we made the BIM for the property here (only in Norwegian).