Collaboration in action

By Geoff Prudence, Chairman of CIBSE Facilities Management Group

The task of a Facilities Manager is often a challenging one. Over the last 20 years, the increasing number and complexity of systems in place to operate, control and support systems within buildings has made it necessary for the FM to have a wide range of understanding in more and more areas. The CIBSE Facilities Management Group have long promoted the need for greater understanding and collaboration with the controls industry to improve the operation of buildings.

An added complication is the continuum of flaws within a building’s design or materials that make the FM’s job harder, once buildings are in their operational life. Small changes during the design process will have a greater positive or negative impact (and cost) in the operational life, but is an opportunity that must be taken.

Some buildings have inefficiencies baked into the design
When CIBSE’s President Nick Mead also supported the need for collaboration in his inaugural speech, he was talking about work which will fundamentally alter the way that the disciplines involved in building services work with each other to make buildings better, not just tick boxes.

In line with that theme that Nick highlighted, we were pleased to announce our arrangement with the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA), a strategic partnership that is key to our aims. As I have said previously, building performance is an issue that resonates particularly strongly with FMs, because they are the ones who have to manage a poorly performing building long-term, if it isn’t constructed with effectiveness and efficiency in mind.

It is essential that all professions grasp the opportunity we now have to really take designs and operations of future buildings and existing building retrofits to a new level. From its outline brief through to orientation, shape, services and plant and workspace requirements, experienced FM’s can add real value to any project. The Plan of Work, CIBSE Guides, BIM and all the other Tools are there-We just need to make it happen!

And it’s that emphasis on the long term that makes energy management so important to the Facilities Management Group. For an FM with so many variables to account for when trying to optimise the efficiency of their building, using energy management systems can be vital in keeping track of it all in context and making sure they have the best chance of success. But all this depends on having an energy management system that is installed appropriately, commissioned correctly and operating to the highest standards. CIBSE Certification's recent accreditation to certify energy management systems against ISO 50001 is a great leap forward, but it will require more in the industry to realise the benefits of such systems to affect the UK as a whole.

Energy Management Systems can be vital in keeping track of data
It’s that long term aspiration, operational excellence and energy performance in practice over the life of the building we are thankfully seeing more of. There is opportunity to showcase this through the 2015 CIBSE Energy Performance award which as well as projects has categories for Facilities Management Operations and controls/improvements through energy efficiencies.

Going forward, this will be the first of many such agreements which will see the Facilities Manager make allies with the many different industries who can contribute to the overall goal of managing energy usage down to cut costs and carbon emissions: Lighters to emphasise the importance of energy saving solutions, HVAC engineers to ensure that the installed systems are commissioned properly, renewables engineers to ensure that the building’s potential for green power is maximised.

By working with the BCIA, CIBSE Facilities Management be working to promote awareness and best practice around operations, controls in buildings and input/collaboration to designs for better outcomes.

After all we all want to make buildings work more effectively-Don’t we?


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