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Technology Tools for the Built EnvironmentSeptember 3, 2013
By Raffy Espiritu FMP, President, AFE Silicon Valley
During the past several months, I have interacted with many stakeholders in the built environment and ne thing that is emerging so clearly is the value that owners and their designated representatives assign to the need for effective technology tools to support the way a facility is managed.
General contractors, architects, commissioning agents and the various sub-contractors during the design and construction phase are deep into using BIM (Building Information Modeling) as this technology has proven to be superior application not only in the design of the building but as a foundation for transitioning to the operations and maintenance phase of the life cycle of the facility. It is interesting to watch how prominent general contractors are developing their information packages that they can how to the owners as a plan to warranty their product after construction. It is not uncommon for owners to demand a warranty period of five years, especially for major projects.
The increasing complexity of the built environment has created pressure not only on general contractors and architects, but also on the owner’s designated representatives to better manage the facility under their stewardship.
The days for “hit and miss” handling of facility information is over. It behooves the facility manager and building engineer to be prepared with quick and ready answers as to what assets are in the facility, what mechanical, electrical, fire alarm and suppression systems are in place, what preventative maintenance program has been established, and whether there is a functional work order management system that supports the facility program. Failure to do so can spell disaster for building owners as they are exposing themselves to a higher level of risk, which can result in significant loss of their precious assets.
It is against this increasing demand for accountability in facility management, that software manufacturers are racing to develop various tools that can support the owners and their representatives to collect pertinent data that includes, among others: asset management, preventative maintenance, space planning, energy management, work order management, and more.
While very sophisticated tools have been in place for very large global corporations, the applications for small and medium size companies are very expensive and much too complicated. This brings to the fore the need to develop more flexible and robust applications that are suitable to the needs of the majority of facilities that require technology support for effective facility and property management. The main areas of interest are in the field of Building Management Systems (BMS) where MEP systems are documented and tracked and CMMS (Computer Maintenance Management System) where asset management, work order management, preventative maintenance and related needs are set in place.
The Silicon Valley chapter of the AFE will address this important area of concern in facilities in future education programs so that our members will be provided with the latest developments that are emerging.
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