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Why the design-build process needs reform: enabling digital infrastructures to support new FM outcomes - by Schneider Electric

Stacy Van Dolah-Evan

The term ‘smart buildings’ is thrown around a lot these days. Unfortunately, what ends up in the final build is often inadequate for what facility management teams need to meet today’s challenges.

In this post, I introduce a crucial white paper from Schneider Electric that questions the status quo of how digital infrastructures are being designed and constructed into new buildings. Drawing from the proven methods of industry-leading contributors from around the globe, this white paper provides recommendations for each stakeholder – from buildings investor-owners to design consultants, contractors, integrators, technology offers, and others – which will help to improve the design-build process to deliver the tools that support new facility management (FM) outcomes.

Digital transformation needed to support greater FM challenges

Global design firm Arup recently released their ‘FM 2.0’ report, in which they define as:

“The benefits of a digital vision for facility management range from user experience to environmental impact, while also optimizing building operating costs. As a result, systems operate more efficiently, contractors can work more effectively, and facilities managers can focus on adding long-term value.”

In terms of value, investors, tenants, and prospective employees are now expecting buildings to demonstrate how continuously efficient, sustainable, healthy, safe, engaging, and productive they are. And many newer standards, regulations, and certifications have emerged that rate these points of facility performance differentiation.

The Arup report emphasizes how digitalization is crucial to help meet the growing number of requirements facing building owners and FM teams today. This is especially important as FM resources are increasingly limited, with fewer people with less experience responsible for even more buildings.

In this respect, our white paper explains why simply complying with established building codes and standards is not enough, as they do not address the newest FM and business outcomes. As noted above, some more recent standards are thankfully focusing on some of these outcomes, but they don’t define the technology needed to support them.

Reforming the design-build process for greater stakeholder success

The traditional design-build approach largely neglects new FM outcomes. The paper explains how a shift to a new model of greater engagement and collaboration will help deliver the right smart building technology while benefitting every stakeholder group.

For example, by better understanding the required use cases, design firms will ensure that the right digital solution is specified earlier. Guided by a more detailed and vetted specification enables construction contractors to do more purposeful value engineering that preserves the digital solution while still optimizing costs. Both contractors and integrators will deliver more accurate bids while reducing risks, rework, and delays.

Technology providers working closely with the client and designer will reveal additional goals, well-matched digital solutions, and savings. And having the right digital infrastructure in place will simply installation/operation validation for construction inspectors, while insurance companies gain the operational data to help their clients better manage risk.

This new collaboration model will ultimately allow every participant to act as an advocate for the building owner and operator. This image will help strengthen competitive positions for new opportunities as smart buildings become the norm from now on.

In my next post, I will give a brief preview of the structured recommendations for design-build process reform that resulted from our extensive consultation with our group of leading industry experts.

To learn more

Download the white paper “Designing for Facility Management 2.0: Changing how digital systems are specified to achieve smart building outcomes.”

We also invite you to register for the Innovation Summit World Tour 2021 and watch the expert session ‘Reforming the Design-Build Process Can Improve Smart Building Outcomes.’ The process of reforming the design-build process shouldn’t be done alone. We believe that increased collaboration is possible through open partnerships. To learn more about the benefits of partnering with us, please visit the Partnerships of the Future page.

And to learn more about smart mechanical and electrical technologies, visit our EcoStruxure Building™ and EcoStruxure Power solution pages.

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