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Capture your assets

Even though it's in a building owner's best interests to efficiently maintain their asset(s), it's still not widely practiced in the region according to Nigel Sale, regional director, Faithful+Gould (F+G) Middle East.

Nigel Sale
Nigel Sale

Even though it's in a building owner's best interests to efficiently maintain their asset(s), it's still not widely practiced in the region according to Nigel Sale, regional director, Faithful+Gould (F+G) Middle East.

"Asset owners need to get the best return from their assets and they can do this by firstly properly understanding what it is they want to do with them. Then they can employ a consultant to give them advice on what degree they should maintain the assets to get the best return out of them," he explains.

The problem is, asset owners don't know or understand what they want.

The number of buildings being developed in the Middle East is phenomenal. The heightened tourist boom and expanding business hub has attracted both visitors and professionals alike, both wanting to witness a city being built before their eyes.

But if buildings are not maintained and looked after, in 10 years time many of them could be knocked down or worse still, become derelict, decreasing Dubai's current affluent attraction.

"There are so many assets here that up until now, have not been fully captured. And with the intricacies of a modern city like Dubai, the ability to manage those assets properly is paramount.

"This type of asset management is becoming more and more needed in the modern city environment and the rate at which assets are being created in Dubai means you need some way of capturing and managing them. We see that as being something where there is a definite need in the market," added Sale.

Trend-setting

Faithful+Gould operates in three different consultancy divisions: cost management, project management and facilities and asset management.

Within the facilities and asset management division, there are three sub sections: asset management, which relates to asset capture and IT development related to managing the assets, facilities management, maintenance and replacement programmes for the assets and thirdly, whole life cycle costing.

Sale explains that because F+G is linked to Atkins, it has given it a distinct advantage over competitors.

"We've got some great support through Atkins with the data capturing and then there is the application with GIS for mapping off the assets. We can also go a lot further and geo-spatial the assets."

GIS and geo-spatial technology is 2D and 3D technology that enable the asset's manager to map and pinpoint assets. The geo-spatial is both 3D mapping and linking to remote information.

"In other words, geo-spacing is using databases from different locations to bring them all together in one spot. This allows the user to look at numerous databases. You can link it to satellite mapping and real time observations, so it's an immensely powerful took to monitor building systems," explains Sale.

He sees this type of technology becoming more popular over the coming years, especially with the number of existing buildings that have been handed over without little or no consideration to the building's lifecycle.

"There is a lot of old stock in this town that will need to be reviewed and it's this type of technology that can provide the means to determine what is going to be done with them - refurbish or replace," Sale predicts.

But using software to help maintain assets is only one part of the equation. Employing a successful and efficient facilities management team - in-house or outsourced - is also vital component and one that some developers are still struggling with.

Successful structure

"We are working with one developer where they have an in-house facilities management department and they've asked us to give them high level advice on how the department should be structured and managed," says Sale.

Dependant on what the client requires F+G might devise a methodology for the business aspect that includes commercial and financial KPIs (key performance indicators) and on the operations front, give advice on how the client should manage staff, equipment and plant.

Sale says guidance on helpdesk, customer service, sustainability and health and safety are just some of the other areas F+G might advise on.

But where facilities management in Europe, for example, is more sophisticated and takes a more management and outsourced stance, many building owners in the region have yet to understand the benefits being an outsourced model.

"What has become common overseas over the past 10 to 20 years, is where the facilities management is actually output specified so that the contractors are the ones that determine how the methodology and technology that is at their disposal, is best used to provide facilities management.

"You might ask, why do that? It puts the risk where it can be best managed, which is with the contractors and allows the client and owner to concentrate on their own business," explains Sale.

The problem with this concept is that asset owners don't often know or even understand what it is they want and require. From people and procedures, to maintenance and measurements.

And this is not just the case in existing buildings. If the problem is dealt with at the design phase and a consultancy firm like F+G gets involved from the beginning, the handover should be a lot smoother.

"That's what we're doing with Kaust in Saudi Arabia and this is what we should be doing, getting involved in the beginning. If the facilities management is considered during the design phase, it's the most cost effective solution for the life-cycle costing of the building," Sale adds.

With this in mind, Sale thinks the market is starting to think carefully about asset management, data capture and how their buildings are maintained.

"Whichever way building owners look at it, it's an asset and is must be protected in order to be security for future borrowings, onward selling or just to attract clients," he concludes.

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