10 January 2015
Earlier this month I attended Future Build 2012 in Melbourne with a keen interest in discovering where the realms of design and construction are heading in the future. Amongst the plethora of solar PV panels, LED lights, and innovative building products, the key theme that stood out for me was the future opportunities that new technology was now enabling in the area of facilities management (FM).
Traditional design processes of the past have focussed most of their energy on the procurement and construction stages of a project which occur over a 12 to 18 month period. Compare this to the typical lifespan of a food manufacturing facility, which is between 25 and 40 years, and it would appear that designers need to refocus their efforts. To provide clients with the best long-term value, design processes need to account for the entire operational life cycle of a facility; well beyond the current emphasis on the early stages of a project. By injecting crucial FM information in the design processes of a project, Wiley can provide this long-term value.
The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facility management as 'a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, processes and technology.' This definition resonates with me personally and Wiley as a whole as the first sentence of our company purpose statement affirms: Wiley is the harmony between complex processes and the buildings that house them.
Three days and 18 Futurebuild seminars later, I am buzzing with all the latest on building design and management technology which gets me thinking: how can Wiley support facilities management and add more value to the long term needs of our clients?
User-friendly and Effective Building Management Systems (BMS)
Traditional design processes result in each building service being discussed and designed individually with metering and BMS left to the end of the project, or for the client to handle when they’re busiest with commissioning and operations.
This approach often leads to a duplication of controls and data wiring by the various trades contracted on the project, for example: lighting control via a C-Bus system, fire, security and production monitoring all on separate systems, refrigeration and mechanical control via a SCADA system, hydraulic pumps, trade waste and water metering at multiple control panel locations and electrical loads only being monitored at the main and sub-main board meters.
Often the case is we have an abundance of data and good metering practices but the information is not easily accessible to, or at the fingertips of, the group engineer or facility manager. More crucially, the data is not presented in real time and therefore can never be fully utilised to identify isssues ( faults, leaks etc.) to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Historically, we see a trend of organisations putting a lot of time and money into reducing energy and water consumption as a whole with the next big step being to address and iron out peak demands.
The BMS software and your data can be ‘cloud’ based so it is easily shared and always up to date, showing real time peaks and faults.
At the facility manager’s fingertips lies the ability to coordinate maintenance procedures, assess equipment performance and energy consumption, manage quality controls, and micro-manage both isolated and integrated systems.
This presents a world class level of transparency for the group engineer or facility manager, who is often travelling while managing multiple sites.
Full utilisation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for Facility Management
At Wiley, we utilise Revit to produce our building and food processing designs. It is a 3D modelling software package that enables us to draw up and model the building fabric, structure, processing equipment and services as they would appear upon project completion.
This BIM technology gives us the capability to design and build complete structures integrated with all Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) services as part of the planning stage of the project. We use design and construction processes which provide complex clash detection and co-ordinate busy ceiling spaces and the related services long before any sub-contractors have stepped onto the construction site.
But it is important to see these models as more than simply 3D drawings with a one-off use. A substantial investment of man hours goes into drafting these models and it seems that BIM may be too ambiguous a term for defining the true potential of this software when applied as a whole project tool, or, an Integrated Project Delivery tool. Wiley can utilise this labour investment to provide our clients with an invaluable facility management model.
By integrating our 3D BIM models with a BMS software solution we could provide a powerful ongoing tool to our clients. Linking the model to regular maintenance scheduling provides immediate location and identification of items such as pumps, compressors, valves and meters that would normally take infinitely longer to identify via hard copy 2D manuals and plans.
With the use of unique identifiers, our clients can monitor all the building and processing elements of the model to display extensive, real time support information including: energy usage, utility consumption, product flow rates, and operation and service procedure manuals.
Revit is a foundational first step in any project and is the strongest tool to create the most advanced models in terms of design, construction, and facility management. In delivering the highest standard and quality designs to our clients it is imperative that these models are utilised in every aspect of project delivery and lifecycle management of assets long after construction is completed.
The Future Build event highlighted that all the elements we need are available now; the technology, the software, and Wiley’s awareness and willingness to evolve the entire project delivery process to the next level. Future Build has shifted the focus of the industry on to supporting owners, operators and facility managers long after the design and construction of a facility is complete.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roger Ludlow is a Design Manager at Wiley and can be contacted on 1300 385 988 or email email@example.com.
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