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Energy


Shaping the future T


Much has been said in recent years about the ‘performance gap’ found in so many buildings. But we need to think more broadly about the causes if we are to solve the problem, says Geoff Prudence


o a large extent, performance gap criticism has been aimed at the design energy performance in comparison to that which is evident in practice once the building is in use. I believe that this gap also applies to the wider design and ‘operation in practice’ issues that continue to be evident in completed projects. The FM industry has now evolved into a multi-billion pound sector and has matured both as a support/maintenance function and a key discipline within the design function and through the project ‘Plan of Work’. On that basis, it is no longer a complaining, after-the-event voice, but now much more of a valued expertise that can bring a real contribution to the design and commissioning process – or at least it should be. Real estate and wider business support services strive for optimum management of portfolios and floor space, with the goal of making buildings operate effectively to support organisational core business. So reduction of the performance gap continues to provide opportunities for FMs and building services engineers to really drive practical aspects of the design of buildings. After all, we are all here to make buildings work effectively, aren’t we?


The role of the building services engineer


Whilst always recognised as part of the project design function, it is now


firmly established that there must be ‘systems thinking’ operational & maintenance awareness in the design process. Acknowledging that the move for collaboration and effectiveness through the new Plan of Work, Soft Landings, BIM and other drivers, it is the reality of making it happen in practice that is now gaining traction in our industry. Building services engineers must have technical design/operational skills and ability, coupled with leadership and influencing skills, in the marketplace of the future. CIBSE Guide M: Maintenance Engineering Management brings together everything designers and FMs need to know in order to operate buildings efficiently and effectively – not only covering technical aspects, but concepts of engineering management that is important and links both designers and operators of buildings. Key areas here include: maintenance strategy, business risk assessments, maintenance contracts, condition surveys and maintenance audits.


The continuing FM opportunity Over a number of years now, the continuing focus on energy and sustainability has brought operational excellence to the fore, via awards and reputational value of good or bad performing buildings. This has also highlighted a growing need for excellent facilities management in buildings and, across portfolios, for input into effective capital and retrofit projects. There is a continued commercial drive to challenge the need for property: successful businesses are not only driving out unnecessary costs and utilisation through efficiencies, but also maximising the benefits of effective workplace regimes and practices to enhance their business performance, and attract, develop and retain the best people in their chosen field. And so the link between building design and operational lifecycle via effective maintenance is key and clearly regarded as an added value. Whilst construction continues at a pace, focus is increasing on retrofitting and


12 FACILITIES


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