Building confidence in Facilities Management Are ‘smart buildings’ threatening to make the facilities manager redundant? Far from it,

says Graeme Rees, UK & Ireland EcoBuilding Marketing manager from Schneider Electric. New building management technologies enable them to play a leading role in improving premises for all who inhabit them.

Maintaining a building or a campus, and ensuring that everything from lifts to lighting is functioning perfectly, can be a 24/7 job. It should also be an invisible one, where prevention is always preferred to repair. This task has become much more

complicated in recent years as a result of the increasing complexity of facilities and the advent of ‘smart building’ technologies. Not only has this multiplied the number of things that can go wrong, but it also requires facilities managers to master a much wider range of technical skills compared to just a few years ago. Modern connected and automated technologies, complex as they are, should also make life that much easier for facilities managers. They can give them prior warning of many problems – not only to the new

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technology systems themselves, but to many other parts of the premises. It does not matter how large or old the

facility is: connected devices coupled with building management systems now enable facilities managers to monitor premises more effectively – and in real time – ensuring that they can identify faults before they come to the attention of the occupiers.

Smarter, healthier facilities

Nowadays, we are much more aware of the impact buildings have on the health of their occupants. It is no longer enough to ensure that health and safety criteria are met: organisations increasingly understand how issues such as air quality and ambient temperature can affect both productivity and general wellbeing.

In older buildings, this trend presents

a particularly salient challenge. Premises are often built to different standards, with little or no consideration given to their occupants’ health and wellbeing. This is just one of the reasons why building

control systems are so valuable in smaller and older premises. They enable owners and operators to monitor, manage, control and operate the building’s environment centrally and automatically, rather than through manual operation as before. Facilities managers are generally not held

responsible for the wellbeing of a building’s occupants, but rather with the health of the premises themselves. Since older facilities are also more likely to have more complex maintenance needs, central monitoring capabilities – together with technologies

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