Creating good construction data that can be extended out across the full lifecycle of a facility continues to be among the hottest trends in the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) market today. Companies looking to integrate data throughout this process are finding more options at their disposal thanks to technology companies becoming more involved in the FM (facilities management) process.

The latest comes via an acquisition, as Idox plc, www.idoxgroup.com, London, England, the parent company of McLaren Software, www.mclarensoftware.com, Houston, Texas, announces a merger with FMx Ltd., which provides CAFM (computer-aided facilities management) software. Ideally suited for companies that own and manage corporate, public, and commercial real estate, FMx Ltd., provides a solution targeted at all aspects of an operational facility. This includes building maintenance, asset tracking, space planning, room and resource booking, estates management, and cost control.

McLaren Software, which provides engineering document control and project collaboration technology, has been making some significant moves in the U.S., construction market as of late. Already a strong player on a worldwide scale, McLaren Software is building a strong portfolio of products and services designed to extend the capabilities of building and managing a facility. By incorporating facilities management into the mix, McLaren Software is addressing a key area in which many large contractors and owners are looking to get their arms around these days.

By adding the product CAFM Explorer it enables McLaren Software to extend the project collaboration solutions in order to help support the operational lifecycle of many different facility types. As pointed out by Paul Muir, CEO, McLaren Software, these can include corporate offices, retail chains, educational campuses, health, and public sector facilities, among others.

Looking at the overall trend of tying FM data to other aspects of the building process, we have seen many developments and product announcements targeted in this area as of late. For example, FM:Systems,www.fmsystems.com, Raleigh, N.C., and Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., announced further integration between their products set with the intent of bridging the gap between BIM (building information modeling) and FM.

With the release of FM:BIM, which is a cloud-based system, users are able to capture and share data and documents via the Web. This product will allow architects, engineers, and contractors to distribute building information to the owner throughout the lifecycle of the building, while also freeing Revit users to focus on modeling as opposed to data entry. The companies point to something like being able to manage renovations and retrofits, as well the possibility of creating new revenue streams by providing data-commissioning services, as being among the opportunities that are created as a result of this integration.

Overall, FM is an acronym that has become more commonplace in the AEC market these days. Looking for that full integration of data from first concept of a design throughout the entire lifecycle of a facility, construction professionals have many more options at their disposal these days.