Improve Your Building Data Strategy

Access, ownership, and hidden costs. In this article we identify a few points that your building data strategy should address right now.

When installing or working on a jigsaw piece, a strong building data strategy should include some forward planning and help put measures in place to guarantee that it is connected, functioning, and ready for future integration.

Naturally, there are several types of buildings with various resources and systems, ranging from A-grade premium commercial in a metro area to a B- or C-grade with basic amenities and smaller footprints. Data strategy may include anything from data collection to making sure everything is tagged and has meaningful naming or relational conventions, otherwise known as ontologies, and that everything can talk to each other and seamlessly integrate to create an outcome for building owners. The needs of all these different buildings and portfolio types will differ.

Additionally, there are frequently significant differences in data awareness and literacy among managers working in various types of facilities. The large trusts that own real estate all over Australia, which are premium building owners, will have employees who are trained, acquainted with the available options, and knowledgeable about BMS (Building Management Systems) and analytics. When they apply something, they know what to look for and what’s valuable to them because they are knowledgeable enough to evaluate providers. However, in other areas, you might not yet be an expert in building data as a facilities manager. It’s possible that you didn’t have the time or resources to develop a long-term strategy to realise the advantages of merging building data into an integrated platform, which might then enable you to examine trends across your assets or portfolio. So how can you put your own excellent data strategy into practice?

The advancements in HVAC during the past ten years demonstrate what is feasible. Most areas of the city have been dominated by HVAC analytics, which is practically a daily activity; most FMs are now integrating additional services like fire systems and vertical transport.

Therefore, my first piece of advice for facility managers and owners is to make sure you have a basic awareness of the services offered by the facility inside your property. Afterward, consider what it would mean for you to have excellent data at your fingertips, what advantages you could truly provide the building owner if you had access to that data, and how much time you could save if you didn’t have to look for it.

Access and Ownership

It’s a good idea to be a little more stringent about making sure that, no matter what you decide or specify with a service provider, there won’t be any additional fees down the road. We’ve recently learnt from a professional acquaintance that their building is incorporating vertical transport as part of the expansion of HVAC analytics (lifts). The seller informed them they would still be charged an additional ongoing cost for access to the data, even though they had already purchased the system, after installing something that was accurate to specs and required interface with a central management system.

As a result, you must be extremely picky about how a product or service is specified and implemented. It may be integrable, but the building owner must own and have access to it. There is an issue that needs to be resolved.

How will I get access to my building data so that it may be used, you might ask? If so, can you be sure that the building data you use is accurate, validated, and wholly yours?

Checklist

Make sure you’re using it effectively, too. Are you using technology, such as analytics, efficiently to work with your provider to produce a result that can utilise the data and close maintenance loops? Or are you just adding technology to the list to confirm that you have it?

Is the service enabling you to solve problems in your building if data and analytics are assisting you in doing so, or is it just adding to your workload?

Some service providers have a proprietary set of services that are connected to their own technology platform. Then there are companies that only offer SaaS (software as a service), which offer high-end data that needs to be managed. Then there is the trifecta, which consists of the building analytics, the technology, and the actual knowledge of how to use it to produce an output. They have the power to use the tech to actually get desired results, they can help you close loops, and they can send a specialist out if necessary. The trickiest part of the challenge is making sure that the entire loop is closed.

People are another poignant element.

Almost all that remains now is to make sure the technology is prepared and capable of communicating with analytics. Finding problems, however, and really producing a final result by controlling field workers, consumers, and setting expectations, is where it gets challenging. This is due to the fact that you now have to interact with people; a system does not shut the loop by itself. I believe that most professionals in the field still find it difficult to put their hands on their hearts and declare, “I’m delivering a 100% data-driven maintenance and I’m generating a concrete consequence for these customers.” But that is the objective, and we are making progress.

You can start to implement centralised aggregated control if you have a completely smart building (or portfolio) with centralised control over all services. You’ll experience financial savings, be able to automate workflows or processes, and have access to more intelligent, cutting-edge energy management over the load consumers inside a facility. Additionally, you can actually start taking part in government-based nett zero outcomes from a sustainability perspective.

Leave a Comment