True Analytics™ - Energy Savings, Comfort, and Operational Efficiency
| Integrated Collaborative Facilities
Management Systems (ICFM)
A collaboration platform where people can work together to improve operational and energy efficiencies in buildings.
CEO and Founder
BuiltSpace Technologies Corporation
The FM Sweet Spot – Merging BMS, FM and Collaboration
In 1982, David
Armstrong described facilities management as the
of People, Process and Place.
It is the
integration of these three worlds, where operational efficiencies can
be found. Today, many FM processes, including
building automation, fall outside of this integration sweet spot.
In The Future Building Management System, (August
2012) Jim Sinopoli
described his vision of integration capabilities of a future building
management system: “The integration
capabilities of the FBMS must be
extensive. It has to go beyond the typical fire, HVAC, access control
and elevator integration domain, and progressively integrate any
building system, facility management systems (work orders, preventive
maintenance, inventory, etc.), business systems, the smart grid and
external data such as weather and energy markets.”
Jim sees BMS
functionality (currently within the intersection of
Process and Place), shifting toward this sweet spot. With
the progressive integration envisioned by Jim, each progression will
enlarge the audience of users within the system, and increase the need
for these stakeholders to collaborate.
systems such as CAFM and CMMS computerize traditional FM
accounting and recordkeeping processes, but lack the building-centric
object orientation and end-points that will allows users to navigate
through the virtual building in a manner similar to the
In other words they lack any
connection to the physical world.
activities, including many occupant interactions and casual
O&M processes, occur in the physical world (at the Place-People
intersection), without formal process to document these
Collaborative Facilities Management creates a simple
building information model that provides the framework to manage
building information from multiple sources in an object oriented
web-based model, with the potential to integrate building automation,
energy management, and facilities management processes within the
physical building, and across building stakeholders.
Integrated Collaborative FM
The idea of collaborative facilities management is not new. In 2006, authors Jason Morris and Stephen Ballesty described their vision of a future facilities management system, at the world famous Sydney Opera House (SOH). These authors noted some best practices already in place at SOH, and described an integrated, collaborative approach to facilities management that they felt could lead to improved processes at this unique facility. Read An Integrated Collaborative Approach for FM – Sydney Opera House FM Exemplar. Seven years ago, the technology required to implement their vision really didn’t exist. Today it does.
Let’s start with collaboration. Business processes touch a
large number of people in buildings from occupants and operators to
service contractors and corporate stakeholders providing governance
oversight to an entire portfolio. Traditional FM
excludes external (to the facility management organization),
stakeholders, and deals with them by manual data entry.
Collaborative FM includes all stakeholders within the system,
integrating work processes to capture and document activity within the
system, tying them to a specific asset or location within the
building. Collaborative FM internalizes
communications between stakeholders, capturing building issues, actions
and events like inspections, audits, operations and service events as
part of the business process.
Each building is
unique, and each individual building engages a unique
stakeholder community. Collaborative FM should be
building centric, allowing individuals to participate in any or all the
buildings with access to information based on their role in
each. Participation, like a social network, is based
Building-centric information management, already common in BMS systems,
is a new concept in facilities management software.
Integration in the built environment can mean many things. Jim Sinopoli has identified many of the potential business process integration targets which, like building systems integration, will be unique to each individual building. An ICFM system must provide the underlying architecture and building information model to create endpoints for integration. For example, energy data integrated into the platform needs to relate to specific energy meters, which may be sub-meters monitoring consumption of specific equipment, spaces or the entire building.
Integration and interoperability across stakeholder systems are dependent on unique identification of buildings, assets, spaces, and stakeholders. Systems and people will interact with the system based on these identifiers, through direct query or machine readable barcodes which directly connect people and systems to the real world buildings they represent.
The path to integrated, collaborative FM
Changing processes can be challenging, but following are five easy actions
you can take now to start to see the benefits of ICFM, without
disrupting your current FM processes.
1) Create a portfolio of virtual buildings
Virtual buildings are simple information models which provide structure for building information you want to maintain about your real world buildings. Within each virtual building you can identify the major spaces, assets, and occupants, then add service history, energy, tasks and documentation relating to the real world buildings they represent.
2) Connect the virtual and the real world building
with QID tags
Connect the real world buildings to your information system using machine readable QR codes called QID (or Quick ID). Assets and Spaces can be tagged as needed and related to the information system simply by scanning the unassigned code, and selected the asset from a drop down list.
These unique identifiers allow stakeholders to manage and share information, while referring to specific building locations. The Sydney Opera House found that labeling each piece of the building allowed tracking of work done across multiple systems. QR codes take this one step further, allowing access and interaction on-site, using any Smart Phone.
If you have a BIM for your building, ensure that the BIM asset and space ID becomes the core identifier for your FM system.
3) Begin to store all your building information in
Gather paper plans, specifications, user manuals and other key documents, send them to your local reprographics shop and have them upload them to the appropriate virtual building. Once uploaded, documents can be associated with specific assets or space, available in the field by scanning the asset or space identifier.
Service histories, inspections, audits and other forms can be converted
to electronic forms, and launched from scanning posted
4) Share your virtual buildings with your stakeholders
Invite building stakeholders to the buildings that they service. Give them permissions appropriate to their role in the building. This can include building occupants, tenants, facilities staff, service contractors, architects, engineers, consultants and corporate management.
Collaboration around a building is common practice during the design
and construction of buildings. Now the same functionality
is available to facilities management.
5) Integrate information, people and the physical
building into your processes with mobile technology
Create inspection, audit, service request, maintenance logging, and work order forms and processes which use the QID barcode to interact with your FM system and other stakeholders, on-site and in real time.
About the Author
Rick Rolston is CEO and Founder of BuiltSpace Technologies Corporation,
Vancouver BC, Canada. He has over 20 years of experience in
building information management, and in 1998 launched one of the first
successful building related Software-as-a-Service applications on the
internet. Find him on LinkedIN at
BuiltSpace provides building information management, integration and
related services to the facilities and construction
industry. The company launched the industry’s first
integrated, collaboration FM platform in 2012. For more
information please visit our web site at http://www.builtspace.com or
blog at http://blog.builtspace.com.
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