Building-as-a-service – what does it mean and how

What is building-as-a-service?

Building-as-a-service (BaaS) is a concept that is gaining a lot of traction in the built asset industry. BaaS involves a shift in the concept of how we perceive traditional services. This new concept allows users to become a lot more interactive with buildings by utilizing data available. A building will therefore be providing services directly to users because buildings become platforms and information providers.

This year the winner of the buildingSMART International Award Asset Management Category “ChorusLife: Creation and maintenance of an openBIM Digital Twin for asset management” from Engisis Srl, Rome, Italy, built a smart district which is aligned to the BaaS. Chorus Life’s project was based on the idea to offer BaaS, through an integrated digital platform that will enable users to fully interact with the district itself. You can read their submission here.

Building-as-a-Service: Theoretical Foundations and Conceptual Framework

A recent publication from by Adrian Wildenauer, Alex Mbabu, Jason Underwood and Josef Basl titled “Building-as-a-Service: Theoretical Foundations and Conceptual Framework”, proposes an approach for implementing the “as-a-service” component in the construction industry to transform buildings into platforms as information providers and consumers, shifting from service(s) in a building to viewing the building as a service-dominant, logic-based asset. This approach focuses on end-users, facility management, and the information data that is collated using the building to inform and develop a digital twin (or digital replica of the building). This paper shows the interdependencies between the various concepts that make up ‘as-a-service’ approaches and suggests a possible framework for enabling a digital twin based on Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Where does BIM fit into building-as-a-service?

BIM is currently a static data structure and information database, mostly used for the construction and planning of an asset. There have been significant difficulties with the use of BIM in Facilities Management and building operations as BIM has not yet provided consistent, complete, or accurate data from the planning, design, and construction phases of the building lifecycle. This paper explores the idea that if holistically applied, BIM could improve data quality for a digital twin. An approach that could be used to meaningful transition to the BaaS model.

How can building-as-a-service enable Digital Twins?

While BIM provides the data necessary to start creating a digital twin, other aspects of the built asset industry are required for this goal to be reached. Incorporating live data from other environmental assets is essential to create a meaningful digital twin, for example. This paper discusses these different themes that go into building a digital rwin in-depth and from these considerations they offer the Baas framework. This approach is formed by combining Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the use of collaboration and communication platforms in terms of a Common Data Environment in Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) functionality to provide BaaS services implementation, deployment, maintenance, and usage.

Read the full paper here to learn more about the proposed framework for BaaS, how the research was carried out and what is needed next to further progress this concept. The research opens the floor to further study and offers a new outlook on the use of data going forward.