Arkansas Children’s Hospital: Using Construction Data to Build Operations From Day One

September 17, 2019 Lauren Ginsberg

In February 2018, Arkansas Children’s Hospital opened a new freestanding children’s hospital in Springdale, Arkansas to provide state-of-the-art pediatric care for the over 200,000 children in the region. The new building, Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), has 233,000 square feet of inpatient beds, emergency care, diagnostic and surgical services, and clinical space. The campus includes nature trails and gardens for patients and their families, as well as a helipad and refueling station for intensive care transports.

To ensure a smooth transition from construction to handoff, the hospital wanted to have a fully-populated computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) on day one, ready to empower the facilities management team with the tools they needed to start building operations immediately.


Photo courtesy of Arkansas Children's Northwest


Step 1: Choosing a CMMS

A computerized maintenance management system is the core tool of modern maintenance management, helping facilities management (FM) teams manage assets and track work. Choosing a CMMS would be the first step in preparing for building operations.  

“We initially planned to use the CMMS we use in Little Rock. ACNW would be an extension of that system. We had concerns about getting the asset data into the system, though,” says Chet Howard, Facilities Operations Director for Arkansas Children’s Hospitals.

Autodesk BIM 360 Ops is a mobile-first, easy-to-use CMMS designed to receive asset data from Autodesk Design and Construction products. During the design and construction phases of this project, Autodesk products, including Revit, BIM 360 Glue, and BIM 360 Field, were used respectively for design, project coordination, collaboration, and field management.

By using Autodesk tools throughout the entire project, the team could capture asset data at every stage and then publish that data to BIM 360 Ops before the hospital opening. The hospital facilities team chose to take advantage of this process and selected BIM 360 Ops as their CMMS. They set a goal to have all building asset data in BIM 360 Ops by substantial completion in the fall of 2017, with critical maintenance processes in place before the admission of patients.

“Bernhard TME [our engineering contractor] was aiding us in our efforts to stretch BIM 360 Field and the final BIM deliverable into the operations arena after construction. Our goal was to create a central data collection point for the building information so that data could be easily pushed into our CMMS later,” says Howard.

“The Autodesk tools enabled us to design a process to collect asset data throughout design and construction and publish it to BIM 360 Ops. The process, with the support of the software tools, helped us to achieve our goal of a fully-populated CMMS before patients walked in the door.”

Chet Howard, Facilities Operations Director, Arkansas Children’s Hospitals


Step 2: Defining and Getting Buy-In for the FM Data Specification

Achieving this goal required a plan from the outset of the project. With the CMMS chosen, the next step to success was to create a Facilities Management (FM) data specification as part of the project specifications. The FM data specification was written to be compliant with The Joint Commission standards and would become the backbone of the asset data collection. The specification included assets, attributes, collection procedures, delivery dates and who was to collect every piece of data. Close-out documentation was due before substantial completion.

A year before the facility was expected to open, a BIM 360 Ops kickoff meeting was held with the design, construction, commissioning, and facilities teams. This meeting laid the groundwork for implementing the FM data specification and set expectations for the delivery of BIM 360 Ops to the ACNW Facilities team. Achieving buy-in from the entire project team and making sure everyone understood the end goal for this project deliverable was critical for success.


Step 3: Tracking and Collecting Asset Data

The architectural and engineering teams needed a way to track the assets throughout the project to connect the data accurately. They added codes, defined in the FM data specification, to the Revit families and incorporated these into the barcoding/QR system for the assets. Assets carried these codes with them from Revit through BIM 360 Glue, BIM 360 Field, to BIM 360 Ops, connecting the elements in a simplified way, so that the asset data could transition from design to construction and then into operations.

BIM 360 Field served as the central asset data collection point. It contained the master list of assets, as created from the Revit models. The construction and building commissioning teams collected the asset details using various tools, depending on the preferences of the different parties. Importing and exporting data with spreadsheets enabled the entire team to participate throughout the process. The engineering contractor published the complete asset data from BIM 360 Field to BIM 360 Ops.


Photo courtesy of Arkansas Children's Northwest


Step 4: Transitioning from Construction to Operations

BIM 360 Ops was used by the hospital departmental managers to assist with transitioning the hospital from construction to operation. During the five-month transition to operations period, the ACNW leadership team used BIM 360 Ops to identify issues in their spaces. They created tickets with photographs and assigned them to the general contractor. The general contractor could then fix these punch list items in the unoccupied space. Identifying punch list items before patients were present made it easier to get the crews in to fix the defects, which in turn helped the schedule. The hospital staff created more than 1,700 work orders during the transition to operations phase. Opening day was much smoother due to the nurses and doctors identifying problems early and the general contractor resolving them before patients entered the space.

Training the facilities technicians on BIM 360 Ops was also accomplished during the transition to operations. Technicians labeled the assets with barcodes and added locations, confirmed make, model, and serial numbers, and in some instances, identified punch list items that were fixed by the contractor. This process helped the facility team gain knowledge of the campus and learn the new CMMS. As BIM 360 Ops is a mobile-first solution, the team was impressed with how easy the software was to use on their mobile devices.


Photo courtesy of Arkansas Children's Northwest


Ready on Day One with BIM 360 Ops

On opening day, ACNW had over 2,700 assets in BIM 360 Ops, with make, model, location and area served. Systematically collecting asset data from the beginning allowed the facilities team to focus on maintaining the building, rather than spending months trying to gather information into a CMMS program. Maintenance history was already in place from the contractors, and the preventive maintenance plan was in effect from day one. ACNW estimates that having the asset data in BIM 360 Ops saved them almost 2,100 staff-hours during the first year of operation.

The populated CMMS and active preventive maintenance program helped the team to be ready for the Joint Commission survey. With BIM 360 Ops, the facilities team at ACNW was survey-ready on day one when the state health department arrived, leading to a successful Life Safety Tour. With access to the 3D model, history and training videos, the facilities team was able to pull up the history on a piece of equipment in BIM 360 Ops when the Joint Commission Life Safety Surveyor asked a question. 

BIM 360 Ops keeps the team up-to-date on the progress of tickets, preventative maintenance data, and technician productivity. They can easily assign or reassign a ticket. Charts and graphs are a perfect visual glance on the state of operations.


Mobile Access and Notifications Save Staff-Hours on Work Orders


Photo courtesy of Arkansas Children's Northwest

One year after opening, the facilities team has also realized time savings in their day-to-day processes due to the implementation of BIM 360 Ops. Based on prior experience, the team budgeted 30 min to resolve an average work order. With BIM 360 Ops, the facilities team found their work order response times decreased 15 minutes per ticket from what they had projected. The ability to have all of the data on their mobile devices has saved the facilities team a great amount of staff-hours over the last year. This includes punch list items from the transition to operations phase, the team has closed over 13,000 tickets, or 1,000 tickets per technician, in the first year.

Automated notifications reduce follow-up inquiries from the nurses and staff. The hospital opens approximately 230 tickets a week. With BIM 360 Ops, they have reduced half of the follow-up calls regarding open tickets. At 5 minutes a call, this saves 9.5 hours per week, or about 500 hours per year, on calls asking for ticket updates.

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