What role should a facility manager play in the adoption of new technologies?
This isn't just a point of discussion; it's a challenge, a calling-out... a pulse check!
Are we out there?
Do we care about reducing cost?
Do we care about sustainability?
In the first FM presentation I saw at AU 2004, it was stated that building cost for a facility is approximately $200 sq ft, but, annual maintenance cost is approximately $40 sq ft.
We're not just building and maintaining these facilities though, are we? We're renovating them. We have to keep up with times and changing technologies for the services we provide. Approximately 15-20% of my campus is under renovation at any one time. Can you imagine how much time is spent documenting/surveying/rechecking existing conditions?
How much nicer would it be to have a single intelligent building model in place that our designers, engineers, etc could access? Less rework in the field. Less cost overruns because of unforeseen, undocumented systems running through spaces?
Are we just sitting back and taking whatever our contractors choose to turn over to us?
If so, why? Is it because we lack experienced in-house staff to understand and dictate specifications? Is it because we're held back politically or socially ('we can't tell them what to do, they've been doing work for us for 50 years' or 'they're a small shop and couldn't keep up if we dictated a change')?
Is it because we don't have the budget or desire to instigate changes within our own departments?
After all of our contractors have switched to BIM programs, will we still have our standard of R14 DWG files???
I'm not saying that we should go out tomorrow and insist that all of our deliverables take the shape of an intelligent building model. I AM saying, however, that we as facility owners, need to look to the future.
We know that this change is coming. We know organizations are setting standards about the form these models and their data will take.
What can we, as facility owners, do to prepare for the future?
Talk to your contractors about the programs they're using. Discuss any plans they've got on their horizons.
Send your staff to training so they are prepared for what's coming.
Encourage education. Host some presentations or classes in your facility for your employees and the employees of your contractors.
Evaluate your documentation and processes.
How organized are your archives? Are they optimized for moving to electronic formats?
Are you ensuring today that you're getting usable data as as-builts?
Be involved. Be proactive. Be vocal about your needs to those who are making these decisions right now.
Ensure that you've got the contracts/standards/specifications/oversight in place to ensure that you're getting the documentation that you're paying for, so that you don't have to pay for it 5x over the next time you renovate that space.
I welcome any comments/questions/suggestions... any sort of feedback at all to indicate that someone out there managing a large facility is giving thought to the future.