Integrated Building Information Systems

With IBIS technologies, clients learn from the past, operate more effectively and efficiently in the present, and can plan and visualize the future

The idea of Integrated Building Information Systems (IBIS) was created by Group Goetz Architects (GGA) to describe a group of services the firm introduced to its clients to support their real estate and asset management needs. Read more about it to see what you can learn from the technology they offer to their clients.


What is IBIS and why is it good for you? 

Information and knowledge are king in just about any endeavor. Accessibility and accuracy of information is critical to the success of business. In the case of most organizations today, information and data have a limited shelf life. In many cases, it’s not current and it’s housed and managed in business silos (not accessible to everyone). Information is exponentially increasing, making it more and more difficult keep up with its complexity. These challenges require enterprise information to be managed as a strategic asset – from the way it’s acquired, created, and maintained to how it’s integrated, stored, accessed, and distributed. The need to present data in intelligible forms to management or others lacking specialized data extraction skills has never been greater.


With IBIS technologies, clients learn from the past, operate more effectively and efficiently in the present, and can plan and visualize the future. 


In the past, large organizations had to go to several different databases to cull together the data they needed. IBIS harnesses the power of several distinct technologies to integrate building data in one easy-to-use interface. Data is accessible from multiple platforms, including personal computers and smart phones. It’s a bridge between the data housed in BIM and those who manage it. It links model-based drafting technology with a database of project information to create a virtual model that can be passed from designer to contractor to building owner.


IBIS is a suite of services delivered through an ensemble of IT tools that allows easy access to myriad information and data related to building infrastructure, workplace, building assets or assets within the building, security, building operations and maintenance, and even people. It helps clients plan, design, and manage real estate and assets in areas of asset management, move and migration management, emergency/disaster recovery, facility master planning, energy management, and facilities maintenance.  To do this, IBIS integrates the following tools:

  • Computer-aided facilities management (CAFM)
  • Integrated workplace management system (IWMS)
  • Building information modeling (BIM)
  • Geographic information system (GIS)
  • Building automation


With these sophisticated tools, alone or in combination, output can be as simple as a data-filled spreadsheet or as sophisticated as 3-D and real-time visualizations, animated walkthroughs, or augmented reality. BIM provides a whole new level of visual expectations, with everyone from designers to users expecting a higher level of visual realism. Layer on top of that GIS and augmented reality, and you have tools that not only provide important data and information, but do it in a way that makes it realistic and far easier to understand in a visually realistic format on almost any electronic device, whether it be a computer monitor, PDA, or smart phone. The world of real estate management is becoming a futuristic world that looks and operates more like Minority Report and Avatar.


In plain speak, IBIS services and tools allow organizations and their management teams to get the answers to these questions:


  • Where is my stuff? (asset management)
  • Where are my people? (churn and move management)
  • How can I lower my energy costs? (sustainability and compliance to executive orders)
  • How can I better control my energy costs? (building automation systems)
  • What happens in a disaster? (emergency preparedness/disaster recovery)
  • How do I plan for new facilities? (facility master planning)


To manage real estate and assets effectively, IBIS tools put management in control the information needed to make informed and intelligent decisions. In many organizations, if the information is already available, it’s from different corporate silos (i.e. HR, IT, real estate, etc.) and probably not easily accessible. Having the information integrated and available to stakeholders is critical to successful real estate and asset management.


Space Management

Basic and most common to IBIS is space management (effectively monitoring and controlling space allocations to optimize space use and rent charge-back). How many times have your clients wanted to know how many offices were available for a new growth service or anticipated employees? How quickly that question can be answered could have a huge effect on timing, decisions, and, ultimately, the bottom line. With a quality space-management system, these questions can be answered instantly and, if provided in an online format, can be viewed at all levels of management. Typical space management functions include:

  • Analysis of space areas and dimensions
  • Utilization of space of departments or other organizational breakdowns
  • Blocking and stacking of departments or special-use areas
  • Space attributes, including cost data, contract and warranty data, telephone number, data drops, construction data, life expectancy
  • Location of hazardous materials
  • Evacuation routes
  • Fire equipment locations


Move Management

With space management implemented, an easy add-on is move management, which provides the ability to accurately track employees (understand where they are, where they’re going, and how to get them there most efficiently). The system ideally should (and can) be linked to the HR database so the information in one system is the same information used system-wide, providing a consistent basis of data. With IBIS, the same database can be utilized and, at a minimum, ensures consistency of information. Move management data can be used to:


  • Plan move scenarios and provide options and timelines.
  • Maintain a move history of employees and the assets connected to them.
  • Create move reports that track move, cost, department, and location.
  • Forecast future move costs by analyzing previous churn rates and average move costs.


This type of information is invaluable in planning for organization changes, whether growing or reducing staff and space.


Asset Management

Asset management provides management with the ability to track anything owned. Organizations typically track equipment, furniture, and technology assets because those are the items that get moved around, are connected to an employee, and need to be depreciated. Asset management allows organizations to:


  • Increase accuracy of depreciation of assets.
  • Assign and manage asset ownership and accountability.
  • Facilitate move or relocation of items.
  • Allow for planning and move options before executing.


Building Automation Systems

IBIS services allow for the convenient monitoring and controlling of various functions of the building that ultimately provide for better environmental and energy control of a facility. Enormous savings can be had with quality building automation systems through optimization of systems to having items not on when not needed.


Maintenance Management

Once the building is operating efficiently, it’s equally important for clients to effectively monitor and control planned and requested maintenance operations to further optimize performance. How that is effectuated can make for better and more efficient maintenance ultimately reducing costs. The system can help with:

  • Tracking work orders
  • Maintaining a preventive maintenance schedule
  • Keeping inventory control of maintenance items (filters, lamps)
  • Safety


Facility Master Planning

Lastly (and maybe most important) is the ability to plan. Planning is at the beginning and end in the circle of life for a building. You plan to institute the building’s creation and you plan again to renew it and make it more effective. IBIS is at the heart of development of short- and long-term design planning, whether it’s a single space or building, a campus, or multiple buildings in various geographic locations. It:


  • Demonstrates flexibility to accommodate change and growth
  • Allows for blocking and stacking
  • Gives space plan and efficiency alternatives
  • Allows plans for current and future space needs
  • Supports a strategic plan


IBIS are the services and tools that will provide building owners, users, and managers with what they need to plan, manage, and implement real estate strategies more effectively, providing them with a strategic advantage.

Lewis Goetz is president/CEO of Group Goetz Architects.