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Software-led building management enables increased ROI and value

There is tremendous value & ROI potential in buildings, if managed efficiently. A software-led approach could lead the way in capturing this potential. By Prabhu Ramachandran.

Prabhu Ramachandran, Facilio.
Prabhu Ramachandran, Facilio.

Facilio builds a unified suite of facilities and sustainability management software, harnessing IoT and Machine Learning to manage buildings efficiently and sustainably.

Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio Inc. Prabhu’s career spans over 18 years of product, business and customer experience focusing on enterprise-scale software for IoT-based connected services, sustainable building solutions, and telecom network management. He believes that technology can be leveraged to drive environmentally responsible facilities that create a positive impact in the world.

Aesthetics, design and glamour have ruled the world of construction investments, with builders spending millions during the planning phase, to woo investors and buyers. Unfortunately, the post-construction maintenance of buildings, and how the occupants experience the facilities, continues to be seen as a cumbersome ‘cost-centre’. With research indicating that nearly 20%-25% of the expenses of a building arise during the usage and maintenance phase of its lifecycle, building owners would benefit greatly from a proactive and integrated approach to managing buildings, which can positively impact the value, and thereby, the revenue, from buildings.

Building construction is no longer limited to creating a rectangular concrete block lined with rows of windows and balconies. Instead, the pre-construction phase, involves substantial amounts of financial resources and time being spent on the design, look and feel of the building. However, buildings owners view post-construction maintenance of the building aesthetics and equipment as a cumbersome cost.

This leads to sub-optimally serviced properties, offering a not-so-great facilities experience to occupants, directly affecting its market value.

A 2014 Accenture reports indicate that for every $100 million in real estate expenditures, ongoing operating costs account for $40 million annually. This implies that the yearly maintenance spend (including energy, water, facilities, compliance, maintenance etc.) is 20-25% of construction cost, which provides a tremendous scope for savings. These findings clearly underscore the importance of pre-emptive and integrated systems for optimizing building management efficiencies.

Efficient and proactive maintenance has a profound impact on the real estate value of the building. It minimises operating expenses and increases return on investment. A well-serviced building has a crucial effect on not just the environment but also on business continuity, impacting end-user perceptions, attracting premium clientele, and thereby eventually augmenting the real and perceived value of the property.

Equipping Facilities Management with Smart Technologies for Efficient Maintenance

Rapid urbanization has led to an influx of newer buildings, communities and high-rises raising sustainability constraints over the long run. With the increasing strain on resources, building owners and FM’s are finding it progressively challenging to manage post construction ROI’s and costs. 

While Technology has provided solutions in the form of building management systems, the myriad automation options have brought along their own set of challenges. With FM’s heavy reliance on multiple vendors and providers to keep track of the different aspects of maintenance, the pockets of siloed information due to entities and systems working independent of each other has been ever increasing. CRE’s and building owners need to look at technology that can help them manage their portfolio of buildings, even in scenarios where multiple FM vendors and different vendor BAS systems exist. This will eventually help them to have better aging buildings and also provide superior customer experience. 

FM teams play a crucial role in the lifetime of buildings. Its important to equip FMs with best tech and look at them as “value” players, which in turn can help CREs in retaining or even augmenting the value of buildings. For F.M.’s to transcend into value-players, and for building owners to generate ROI from their existing assets, this highly fragmented building environment, with several systems working in parallel and rarely in tandem, demands integration.

The solution lies in ascertaining how software technology can be used to efficiently run the three crucial aspects of buildings - People, Assets and Sustainability. 

Take the example of Henry Ford’s assembly line automation for cars. It not only revolutionized the industry, but also greatly reduced costs and time of production. How can we bring in something similar for buildings, to deliver multi fold value to CREs over a period of time?

A software-led solution like Facilio is bringing in a assembly-line equivalent for buildings, by providing a centralized system for a continued flow of efficiency and by optimally integrating all systems without the need for massive investments or requiring an overhaul of existing building management systems.

IoT led integrated building management helps bridge the physical and digital building space

Clubbing IoT with existing building management software has bred a digital innovation, which could fill in the gaps of the older systems by combining asset management with the technical analysis of key indicators of the health of a building. With efficient use of resources FM’s can become more proactive, cost optimised, reliable and sustainable. 

IoT based facility management systems are able to generate unified maintenance silos across several portfolios, producing real-time actionable insights and providing real-time task collaboration with stakeholders. The technology can create an efficient and collaborative work environment which is beneficial for both building owners and facilities managers resulting in a reduction of up to 15% on per foot service charges. 

Solutions like Facilio are taking charge in this field.  By providing a state of the art hub to centrally manage all aspects of building maintenance, including but not limited to, work order requests, preventive and predictive maintenance, fire safety, LEED assessment, performance and condition monitoring, water management and energy analytics, under one umbrella, they are able to empower facility teams to think out of the box and proactively manage maintenance.

This level of transparency encourages and enables all stakeholders – Property Owners, FM’s, CRE’s to remain informed and motivated to work towards a more efficient and sustainable future, with respect to ROI’s, occupant experience, and the environment.

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Construction Week - Issue 764
May 31, 2020