Carnegie Mellon University
April 28, 2011

Press Release: Gannett Fleming Inc. Joins Carnegie Mellon's New Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator To Develop Approaches To Help Facility Managers

Outstanding Research Supports Work To Improve Decision Making For Facility Management Professionals

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Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University and Gannett Fleming Inc. are developing an approach by which integrated information about a facility and its surroundings will ultimately improve the way facility managers monitor, assess, maintain and operate individual buildings and campuses of buildings.

"The goal of this research project is to develop an approach for integrating building information models (BIM), geographic information systems (GIS), computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and other sources of information about the performance of a facility to better support facilities management decision makers," said James H. Garrett, Jr., the Thomas Lord Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon and the faculty co-director of the Pennsylvania Smarter Infrastructure Incubator (PSII). "We greatly look forward to working with our colleagues at Gannett Fleming, a new partner in the PSII to develop this approach to integrating all of this facility management information. Their experience in the field will be extremely valuable."

Industry analysts report that a lack of information integration about facilities is costing U.S.  facility operators more than $15 billion a year in lost manpower time and equipment shortages.

"Facility managers would benefit from integrated solutions," said William M. Stout, P.E., board chairman and chief executive officer of Gannett Fleming, a global infrastructure design firm. "For example, 3-D views of a particular facility can be generated to support a variety of tasks, including asset management, space planning and mandatory inspections. Having all the data integrated and accessible through an easy-to-use-3-D interface would save facility managers considerable time in accessing the information needed to operate and maintain facilities," Stout said.

Carnegie Mellon researchers have been conducting research to be able to organize, access and analyze the spatial and temporal trends of large work orders that are created when managing facilities. This approach to integrating BIM, GIS and CMMS, to be done with Gannett Fleming, will build off research related to integrating work orders with BIM that is being studied and worked on by Asli Akcamete, a Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering who is co-advised by Garrett and Burcu Akinci, a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

"This new collaboration will combine synergistically several research and development activities being conducted at Gannett Fleming and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon, and would enable us to break new ground in facilities management," said Akinci, faculty director of the Facility/Infrastructure Information Modeling and Visualization Lab in the PSII.

Carnegie Mellon's PSII brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts committed to creating sensor data-driven decision support systems that help to manage our infrastructures more cost effectively by using data collected from the infrastructure, managing, modeling and visualizing that data, and then mining it for trends and using those trends to provide decision support to infrastructure managers.

"The new collaboration with Gannett Fleming will enable us to explore this important need to integrate different sources of facility information within a model and then develop approaches to analyze that data to support critical facility management tasks," Akinci said. "We think this is an excellent team that brings facility management experience and information modeling expertise to the table."