this capability merely speeds up response time; but for a critical piece of equipment that goes wrong after-hours, real-time monitoring can save a facility significant costs. Take the example of a company we

worked with that provides meals to schools. One weekend, when no one was in the facility, a circuit breaker tripped and cut power to the refrigerator room. The problem was not discovered until workers arrived the following Monday, only to find that they had to throw out 18,000 thawed and ruined meals. This costly waste could easily have

Graeme Rees

such as predictive maintenance – are critical for enabling significant savings and operational improvements. Emerging tools, including those that can

be controlled from a simple smart phone app, enable managers to get instant alerts whenever a problem arises, along with actionable data on the likely cause. Facilities managers can then analyse the problem remotely and decide whether they need to attend the site, assign a task to a field operative, or whether the issue can wait until the next scheduled maintenance visit.

Facilities managers to the rescue

Modern building management systems can help facilities managers play a starring role in an organisation’s success by preventing potential disasters before they occur. Instead of merely spotting faults and

outages when they are reported, sensor- based monitoring technologies enable facilities managers to identify faults in real- time – or even before. In the case of routine faults such as a malfunctioning lift,

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been avoided through a system that automatically alerted the building supervisor or contractors. The same technology can also be used to enhance security and access control, including reducing energy consumption by switching off lighting and heating when the premises are unoccupied, and cancelling false alarms. Furthermore, the Internet of Things (IoT)

and the almost limitless range of applications and services enables facilities managers to

“mix and match” the functions they need for their specific premises – and also to suggest specific solutions to the problems faced by the people and the organisations who use them.

Becoming the building expert

There is an additional benefit of building management technology – the huge volume of facility-related data that these systems generate. Having precise figures for everything from energy usage to asset longevity is critical for benchmarking and reporting. It also enables facilities managers to become the fount of all knowledge about a building or premises. This means that they become the go-to expert for more or less any query about the facility, and to become even more indispensable for the building’s owner. Whether or not facilities managers are

comfortable with taking a more public role, these technologies are increasingly crucial for their day-to-day jobs – enabling them to create better, healthier and more reliable spaces for all who inhabit them.

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