FM Articles

Ensuring Long-Term Smart Building Success With Lifecycle Services


Intelligent, connected buildings are no longer just a futuristic concept. From hospitals to schools to corporate headquarters, organizations around the world are undergoing digital transformations of their facilities to improve outcomes and drive value for building owners and occupants. From supporting technology, operational and sustainability goals to improving patient healing time or student test scores, an intelligent building can offer a variety of benefits across industries.

Connected Buildings Start with Design & Construction
While technology convergence is now possible, it doesn’t happen without deliberate effort. Constructing a smart building that meets energy, technology and operational objectives throughout its lifetime depends on early collaboration between the owner, design and construction teams, sharing informed, data-driven decisions about connectivity and interoperability. With deliberate expert attention applied early during the planning phase, pitfalls can be avoided and the building can be designed, delivered and maintained in a way that achieves the owner’s defined outcome well into the future.

This is why, increasingly, building owners and their team are selecting a single point of responsibility – the technology contractor – for technologies early in the process. A technology contractor will consider the various technology systems and integrations upfront and bring an enterprise-wide perspective to managing the planning, design, installation, integration, commissioning and service of technology systems, business applications and supporting infrastructure. Having someone who can provide critical continuity throughout pre-construction, implementation, installation and service ensures buildings have the necessary equipment and systems uptime and reliability, so that the systems live up to their full potential and support any future innovations while protecting the existing investment. The benefits of engaging a technology contractor extend throughout the building’s lifecycle:

  • A design process that aligns technologies with desired outcomes and works on Day 1.
  • A holistic approach to optimize technology spend with technology lifecycle considered.
  • Integration of individual systems provides a more comprehensive use of technology to support business initiatives while reducing interoperability risk.
  • Provides best practices for identifying gaps between system specifications, IT, security standards and intended use.
  • Remains committed after installation to provide ongoing technical support, training and insight for the lifecycle of the building.

Ongoing operations and maintenance of technology systems is critical to delivering the desired building and business outcomes. Because commissioning benchmarks performance, the identification and repair of systems that have ceased to operate at acceptable performance levels is easy to manage. Effective systems design and monitoring can reduce expenditures on energy, maintenance and upgrade costs. And remote monitoring of connected equipment leads to improved uptime and dramatically reduced time-to-repair.

Through a technology lifecycle approach, building owners and operators can receive service from the same partner who provides the HVAC, building automation, fire protection and security, along with the information technology infrastructure that connects it. Remote support or on-site consolidated service offerings can make maintenance efforts more seamless depending on the urgency. Planned maintenance schedules can offer consistency and help stay ahead of potential issues, which can be particularly useful on a college campus for example, when facilities become quieter during the summer and offer a great chance to address maintenance needs before the next school year begins.

Predictive and diagnostic monitoring services can leverage building data to evaluate equipment condition, comparing it to performance of similar equipment, and make recommendations for performance improvement opportunities that can help pinpoint problems before they go undetected and become a costly interruption for the building.

Partnering for Long-Term Success   
Digital building transformation requires a building lifecycle partner who is capable of understanding and delivering against an organization’s main goals, whether through its own services and/or through a diverse partner ecosystem that can help seamlessly achieve building and operational priorities. The technology contractor can serve as a single point of responsibility for not only installing connected, converged building technologies but also servicing and maintaining them. That maintenance can be tailored toward achieving the agreed-upon priorities and outcomes that building owners put forth in the initial design phases. This continuity translates into a more holistic, long-term building maintenance approach – one that continuously benchmarks against those original goals, as opposed to cobbling together maintenance or service providers along the way.

Digital, connected buildings are an opportunity to deliver an intelligent environment that drives value for those who rely on the facility, and a long-term lifecycle plan can turn buildings into more than just where we do business – they can become intelligent contributors to business success.

Jim Nannini is Vice President of Building Wide Systems Integration at Johnson Controls.