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The digital twin in existing buildings – new expertise from the ForeSight research project

7. December 2022

A lot has happened in the interdisciplinary research project “ForeSight: Platform for context-sensitive, intelligent and predictive smart living services” in 2022. The BIM method plays a central role for the project team in the areas of sustainability, resilience and digitalisation. In 2022, the team from Keßler Solutions built the digital twin into the existing structure.

ForeSight Logo - 1920x640

The ForeSight project was launched in spring 2020 as part of the innovation competition “Artificial intelligence as a driver for economically relevant ecosystems” organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and grew out of the partner network around the smart city district Future Living® Berlin in 2019 [Find out more: News from 17.12.2019].

The digital twin thanks to CAFM and the BIM method

In order to be able to offer context-sensitive, intelligent and forward-looking smart living services in facility management, up-to-date and networked data and information systems are required. One such system is the CAFM solution FAMOS. As a control centre, FAMOS connects, for example, rental spaces with ERP software and thus enables numerous rental management processes. The integration of IoT and smart services into CAFM is one of the defining topics in modern building management.

Grafik: links "BIM in der Bewirtschaftung", rechts "ERP, IoT, GLT, DMS" und in der Mitte CAFM-System FAMOS als Schaltzentrale, die beides bidirektional miteinander verbindet

In order to integrate the BIM method into building operations in a practical way, it is essential to network the 3D model with existing information, a CAFM system, sensor technology and IoT. This is the only way to create the digital twin, which creates a direct, virtual image and can fulfil many of the promises made by BIM. In 2022, the corresponding product and service area of FAMOS and Keßler Solutions will be strengthened: with the help of BIM models, the Keßler Solutions team can create a digital twin and synchronise it bidirectionally with FAMOS.

Enabling BIM in existing buildings.

BIM practice in a smart urban neighbourhood

The blueprint for the research and development approach was the newly created Future Living® Berlin neighbourhood of GSW (a housing association based in Baden-Württemberg) with its 90 residential units and 10 commercial units and a total area of approx. 7,600 m2. After the tenants moved in in January 2020, Keßler Solutions began digitising the structural and technical facilities and recording all the installed IoT sensors, furniture and outdoor facilities.

3D-Ansicht des smart city Quartier Future Living Berlin mit Verkehrsanbindung

3D view of the smart city neighbourhood Future Living® Berlin with transport links

Digitaler Zwilling Future Living® Berlin: §D-Animation über mehrere Etagen: Lüftungsanlage (links) und Sanitäranlage (rechts)
Digital twin Future Living® Berlin: 3D animation over several floors: ventilation (left) and sanitary facilities (right)

3D model of the existing building

After collecting the inventory data, a new 3D model of the neighbourhood was created in Revit® based on old CAD plans and orders and all trades (such as electricity, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, IoT) were integrated as an example for building 10. The model serves the research partners in the ForeSight project as a blueprint for a digital twin and also provides GSW with the basis for subsequent maintenance.

New expertise with the BIM model

What is exciting in this context is that the team at Keßler Solutions was able to recreate the digital twin on the basis of CAD plans, order documents and as-built data. Based on this expertise, customers can also have a BIM model created from their as-built data and thus be effectively supported in the digitalisation of building information. Together with the service areas of CAD processing and on-site surveying, modelling approaches or using laser scanning or other methods are also conceivable in order to enrich models with even more information. The new expertise can also be applied to modernisation projects and conversions.


Digitaler Zwilling Future Living® Berlin: 3D-Detail der Heiz- und Wasseranlage
Digital twin Future Living® Berlin: 3D detail of the heating and water system
Digitaler Zwilling Future Living® Berlin: Küche mit Sonnenlicht
Digital twin Future Living® Berlin: Kitchen with sunlight

Benefits of the BIM method in existing properties

Another advantage for operators and investors is that such models can be used as the basis for a virtual inspection before construction begins and/or digital exposés to initialise sales at an early stage. Simulations, for example of the path of the sun, help with the orientation of the flat. Material catalogues support the design of the flat furnishings and help future owners/tenants to get a better impression of their future flat.

The ForeSight research project will come to a successful end for all partners in March 2023. Keßler Solutions is looking forward to shaping the next ideas with GSW and the partners from Future Living® Berlin.

Further information on the project:

Find out more about BIM at Keßler Solutions (currently only in German):