Facilities Management : The Global & Local Picture

Facilities management in India has come a long way since it started. However, it is still in a pretty nascent stage. Most of the sector is still being run by the unorganized players. As per techsciresearch, a premier online research portal. Indian facility management market to cross $ 100 billion by 2023. Anticipated growth in the market can be attributed to an increase in construction activities across commercial as well as residential sector.

Moreover, various initiatives by Government to provide housing for all citizens and development of smart cities in India are further expected to positively influence India facility management market in the coming years. Furthermore, rising population across tier 1 cities and continuing growth in IT/ITeS and banking sectors would further steer India facility management market during the forecast period. The market is dominated by unorganized players.

India facility management market has been segmented into the following categories :

  • The market, By Service:
    • Property Services
    • Cleaning Services
    • Security Services
    • Catering Services
    • Support Services
    • Other Services
  • The market, By Application:
    • Commercial
    • Industrial
    • Residential
  • The market, By Region:
    • North
    • East
    • West
    • South
    • Central
  • The market, By Spending Pattern:
    • Outsource
    • Insource
  • Market, Market Penetration:
    • Organized

o    Unorganized

A survey of HR departments of 300 companies across India revealed the expectations from manpower employed in facilities management. 87 percent of the respondents expect knowledge of basic English and dress code, 73 percent expect tidiness and basic etiquettes and almost 93 percent are concerned about the police verification of the people deployed at sites. Presently, 80 percent of the services offered by facilities management companies are on a sub-contractual basis, but as organized players are entering the market, it is expected that the trend will shift towards integrated facility management in future.

This future is just around the corner and many young and budding startups like us are working hard to change the playing field of this great industry. Today by the means of this blog post we would be further exploring the national and the international facilities management

The Disconnect Between Maintenance and Design: The American Perspective: Applicable to India also

Here’s a concept that works: Listen to the people responsible for maintenance of a new institutional or commercial facility during the planning and design process for that facility.

For years, maintenance and engineering managers have preached this message to anyone involved in building design who would listen. Unfortunately, too many architects, engineering firms, and CEOs haven’t listened. The results have been predictable — and costly. Building envelopes crumble, roofs leak and HVAC systems fail to keep occupants comfortable and waste energy and money while doing so.

Managers don’t need a government report to prove a disconnect exists. But they have one. A new U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report documents the impact on 78 federal facilities of failing to account for operations and maintenance (O&M) during facility planning and design. The findings:
The good. Some building design choices — increased natural light, durable and easily maintained materials and finishes, and low-maintenance landscaping, among them — actually decrease O&M costs.
The bad. Many design choices increase O&M costs. They include inefficiently located mechanical systems, hard-to-reach lights, and tough-to-maintain materials and finishes.
The answer. Per the GAO’s recommendations, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) should be required to estimate O&M costs of design choices during planning, get input from building managers on the O&M impact of these choices, and share data on the impact on O&M costs of common design choices.

Plumbing: The IFM Angle

Many institutional and commercial facilities are installing a new generation of water-efficient plumbing fixtures — including flush valves, urinals, and faucets — at an ever-increasing rate. Their goals most often are to curtail water use by plumbing systems, reduce utility costs and improve the organization’s overall sustainability.

But to ensure that these products deliver the desired benefits to the organization and the environment, maintenance and engineering managers who are making product selections need to carefully consider the maintenance impact these products are likely to have.

By understanding the key maintenance considerations for each of these products, managers will be better able to incorporate these considerations into technicians’ regular inspection and repair routines, and technicians will be more efficient in troubleshooting potential problems and stopping small issues before they can become major — and costly — headaches.

Common Problems

As maintenance and water costs rise, managers are increasingly installing pressure gauges and flow meters at strategic locations in their buildings’ plumbing systems to monitor the flow of water. Once managers are certain all of these readings are at normal levels, the next step is to look at individual fixtures and assess their condition.

A manual toilet flush valve contains about 25 parts. The maintenance problems that technicians encounter in working with the valves can include:

  • The valve does not operate.
  • It delivers too little or too much water.
  • The flush time is too long or too short.
  • The handle or inlet connection leaks.
  • The valve makes chattering noises.
  • The battery is low, or the valve inadvertently cycles on and off.

Technicians can solve some problems quickly, by, for example, disassembling and cleaning the flush handle. Other solutions might involve the using repair kits to replace the control portions of the valve or simply replacing O rings that have hardened and no longer provide a good seal.

Chattering noises could indicate wear or abuse or a diaphragm in the wrong position. The low flow of water could result from a low-flow urinal kit installed in a higher-flow toilet valve.

When installing repair kits, it is essential that technicians match the kit with the valve to ensure its proper operation. The manufacturer’s part list shows the correct part numbers managers need to specify when ordering repair parts. Newer toilet flush valves are rated at or below 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), while the older ones still in service might be rated at 4.5 gpf or higher.

Urinal flush valves manufactured after 1992 must meet the maximum flow limit of 1 gallon per flush (GPF). But many valves that deliver higher rates are still in use. Rates as high as 3 gpf and as low as 0.5 gpf are available.

Typical designs for manual urinal flush valves are similar to those of toilet flush valves, with about the same number of parts, functionality, and maintenance requirements. The difference is in the lower flow rate. Since urinals flush only liquids, they need less water.

 

The Who, What, and Why of Replacing Aging Cooling Systems

 

The average age of a commercial building in the United States is 49.83 years. Because cooling equipment lasts up to 25 years, the average building will get a cooling system replacement at least once and probably twice in its lifetime.

A significant capital expense that also affects building occupants and day-to-day operations and performance, a cooling systems upgrade must be well thought out and executed to carry a building for its next quarter-century. Here’s what facility managers need to know for designing successful cooling and other HVAC systems for any commercial space.

Why

Although everyone is busier than ever these days, it’s important to take time at the onset of design to truly understand any cooling system problem. Contrary to popular belief, the biggest performance piece in the building isn’t the equipment, it’s the people. Taking time to understand the HVAC issues from the occupant’s perspective is the way of the project. Going beyond “I want the building to be hot/cold when it’s supposed to be” to “What are the building owners looking to achieve?” is critical to arriving at the best solution for the facility.

There’s a false assumption that every building has the same problems and needs the latest and greatest equipment to perform optimally. This is far from the truth. Consider the following questions when determining just what a facility needs when it comes to the design of cooling and other HVAC systems:

• How do your annual utility/operating costs compare to the market? The answer to this question will inform whether or not the latest and greatest, high-efficiency equipment is necessary. Once the system has met the energy code, look at the latest and greatest from a big picture perspective, including financial. If your annual utility and operating costs are significantly higher than competing buildings, then it is appropriate to invest in additional efficiency to help bring costs down, making the facility more attractive and competitive.

• What are your maintenance/engineering costs, relative to other properties? Are these costs justified with the level of service received? How much time and money are being spent reacting to crises with repair work? Are you receiving an abnormal amount of calls on the HVAC system?

• How many facilities/maintenance staff do you have on board? It’s not uncommon for a large class A building to employ a number of operating engineers. But, as the building ages, and the systems become less reliable those engineering hours and over time begin to add up to more than a full-time equivalent. It’s also important to understand the capability of your team. Some of the outdated technology in today’s buildings is not discussed or taught in vocational training programs. And some newer buildings are run exclusively with digital technology. Match the right people to the right problems.

• Are preventive maintenance costs going up? Are you expending too much on repair work, including outside contractors that are both expensive and disruptive to tenants? If you’re constantly dealing with fire drills and panic alarms, your MEP system design is no longer effective.

• What is the realistic market expectation of quality for your facility? Oftentimes there’s a mismatch between Class A and Class B commercial building tenants and their HVAC systems. Know your building tenants and understand their expectations. Be realistic about your real estate assets. Class A tenants will expect Class A HVAC. Class B tenants will appreciate Class A HVAC, but don’t expect it. It can become a real problem when Class A tenants have a Class B system.

What

There’s no single best way to cool a facility — or to heat or ventilate it, for that matter. Solutions have to be evaluated on a range of factors: how beneficial they are to your needs, how much they cost, how long phasing or installation will take, what building modifications or tenant disruptions will be required, or what operating or maintenance costs are likely to be.

Make sure the what — that is, the ultimate equipment/systems recommendation — is in line with your initial complaints/issues about the current system, responds to the observations uncovered during the analysis phase of the MEP design, and meets your in-house resources and tenants where they are.

Cooling and other HVAC systems follow the law of diminishing returns. You don’t need too expensive, too cheap, highest or lowest performing. Instead, like Goldilocks, looking for what’s just right for you. Something that’s more expensive may only be marginally more efficient. The exception: A highly sophisticated process-driven operation. Otherwise, you generally don’t need the top-of-the-line HVAC equipment to operate at, or better than, market. Consider whether there are less expensive options that will perform equally well for you.

Generally speaking, most building problems aren’t exclusively solved with software. As much as 99 percent of the time, software isn’t the issue. Performance can certainly improve with the right software, but the biggest performance improvement will come from having the right people and the right equipment and controlling it all correctly. Technology plays a role in the high-performance, 21st-century facility, but it’s another tool in the toolbox, not the toolbox itself.

Who

Things never break when it’s convenient. This is a fact of life that typically translates to a lot of pressure on the building owner or asset manager when something goes awry. The old system has to be replaced, or a new one has to be built — and it needs to happen quickly.

But don’t just replace in kind. A building program and current cooling systems analysis can inform the myriad of potential options. Each will have its own benefits and drawbacks specific to the building, its occupants, and facilities personnel.

Before deciding what to do, decide who to do it with. Find a disinterested third party to lay out all the options before spending lots on mechanical and electrical equipment. Exercise caution when engaging a company that sells or installs equipment, as their interest will lie only in new equipment.

A word-of-mouth recommendation is always most valuable. Ask around, find out who has been happy with whom. Talk to the firm’s references before hiring them. Take the time to ask the real questions, as this decision will cost you millions of dollars and the result will hopefully last for the next quarter century.

 

Addressing the Maintenance and Engineering Knowledge Gap

 

Maintenance and engineering managers face a knowledge gap among their technicians, and the gap is growing. But at the same time, managers need to continually meet occupant needs while balancing system operations and resource management.

We are charged with operating facilities well as measured by responsiveness to occupants, energy and water efficiency, limited downtime of critical systems, a reasonable blend of planned vs. unplanned maintenance, and timely completion rates of maintenance tasks. We organize the team, set goals, lead, and most importantly, provide focus.

But in the face of an increasing knowledge gap and too few technicians, what can a manager do? Achieving good building performance is about the way facilities are operated and maintained every day. So we need a workforce focused on carrying out the manager’s plan and has the equipment to do so. To meet that goal, managers need to focus on four areas:

Understand training needs. A good technician training program does not have to be elaborate. It does have to identify the training required for each employee or job type, and it should support organization and department practices already in place. Start with these categories:

• employment practices, such as those related to the work order system and department procedures

• general training, including injury prevention, emergency preparedness, and ladder safety

• regulatory issues, including material handling and storage, asbestos safety, and confined-space entry

• certifications and licenses that are trade-specific.

Mind the gaps. Understand where you need to shore up technician training when on-the-job and in-house training will not suffice. Many excellent programs are available, but here are two resources:

Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow, www.bestctr.org. The center identifies local programs available at institutions across the country. It supports publicly funded two- and four-year colleges with programs in HVAC controls, building automation, and energy and facilities management. The program is a national collaborative promoting state-of-the-art building technician education and dissemination of the latest research, technology, and industry collaborations in energy-efficient buildings.

Building Re-tuning training, https://buildingretuning.pnnl.org. This program from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offers free training online. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed building re-tuning to help identify opportunities for improvement in existing facilities. The focus is on equipping building operators to use data from the building automation system to understand the way a facility operates, identify problems, and address those problems through no- and low-cost solutions.

Emphasize training. Managers need to understand the value of a trained workforce – When finances are tight, training programs are often the first to be cut. But top-performing technicians who understand the intricacies of building systems actually can enact, manage and maintain operational strategies that reduce the cost of operations while still meeting performance requirements. If finances are limited, make use of free resources.

To communicate the value of a training program, benchmark your building, and track your performance. Common metrics to illustrate performance include occupant complaints, work-order response time, uptime and downtime of critical systems, planned maintenance completion rate, and monthly energy consumption.

Focus on the future. Remember high school vocational programs that went away years ago? Recognition is growing that they are valuable and necessary. One option is to communicate the needs of the managers to our educational institutions to help support burgeoning programs that will engage future workers more quickly.

These are challenging times. More than ever, our facilities need to be qualified, training technicians to oversee them. Our needs are increasing, our knowledge levels are decreasing, and we do not have enough skilled technicians. In the face of such challenges, we must invest in and train available workers as we cultivate tomorrow’s workforce. In accomplishing that, we will shrink the knowledge gap and produce safe, reliable, energy-efficient facilities.

Green For Facilities Management Professionals

 

Implementing operating strategies that focus on the health and wellness of building occupants is increasingly critical to keeping occupants happy, safe, and satisfied with their workplace. As more people recognize the importance of health and wellness in the built environment, building rating systems that provide a framework for health and wellness, like The WELL Building Standard  (WELL) and Fitwel, have garnered more interest and support. While these certifications and other health-related programs for employees come at a cost, there are unexpected benefits not only for building occupants but also for the bottom line.

Our overall health is dictated by the surrounding environment and how that environment interacts with personal, genetic, and behavioral factors to affect our well-being. Because much of our time is spent indoors, the places where we live, work and play all have an impact on our health, mental well-being, weight, physical fitness, quality of life, productivity, and sleeping patterns, to name a few. In today’s economy, work looks vastly different than it did a century ago, with rising focus on “knowledge work” (i.e., office professionals) and decreased demand for “industrial work” (i.e., factory workers). According to the Annual Review of Sociology’s The Knowledge Economy, this shift in work demand has made preventable chronic diseases and illnesses — more common to office professionals — a larger cost to employers and the economy compared to health and safety concerns common to industrial workers, like acute workplace injuries and occupational diseases. This overall shift is one of the factors that has led the real estate market to refocus on health and wellness.

Understanding WELL and Fitwel 

There are many rating systems, codes, and standards used in the real estate industry for measuring a building’s performance in sustainability for design and construction and efficiency of operations and maintenance. Many of the sustainability-focused rating systems, codes, and standards — like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Living Building Challenge (LBC), Green Globes (GG), the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), and the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) — incorporate health and wellness into their requirements. Some incorporate small measures of health and wellness like limits for volatile organic compounds, encouraging natural lighting, banning known carcinogens, and improving ventilation; others explicitly have categories for health and happiness, equity, and beauty. But none, until recently, focused solely on health, wellness, and human productivity.

WELL and Fitwel are the first and only rating systems focused holistically on human health and wellness. Like the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED, WELL and Fitwel enable projects to show their health and wellness achievements by meeting prescribed thresholds.

WELL was created in 2014 with the purpose of advancing buildings to help people work, live, perform, and feel their best. It explores how design, operations, and behaviors within the places where we live, work, learn and play can be optimized to advance human health and well-being.

Administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and certified by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), WELL is grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and well-being.

WELL is comprised of seven concepts with 102 possible features known as preconditions and optimizations. The seven concepts of WELL are air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Preconditions and optimizations are applicable based on building type. Project typologies include new and existing buildings, new and existing interiors, and core and shell, with pilot programs in retail multifamily residential, educational facilities, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. Additionally, each feature of the WELL Building Standard is ascribed to the human body systems that are intended to benefit from its implementation. This enables project teams to classify the intended benefits of each WELL feature and develop a comprehensive set of strategies. WELL projects can achieve WELL Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification.

Fitwel is a newer health and wellness rating system, having gone public in 2017, based on the idea that all office facilities can be improved through specific, incremental changes into healthier places to work, regardless of their size, age, and location.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the General Services Administration led the development of Fitwel, garnering input from experts in public health and design and reviewing over 3,000 scientific studies. The Center for Active Design now acts as the operator and certification body for Fitwel, leading its adoption and future development.

The Fitwel rating system is most applicable to existing buildings in five project types: multi-tenant base building, multi-tenant whole building, single-tenant building, commercial interior space, and multi-family residential. Fitwel is broken into 12 sections: location, building access, outdoor spaces, entrances and ground floor, stairwells, indoor environments, workspaces, shared spaces, water supply, cafeterias and prepared food retail, vending machines and snack bars, and emergency procedures. These 12 sections are comprised of 63 evidence-based design and policy strategies addressing a broad range of health behaviors and risks. The strategies are linked to seven distinct health impact categories: impacts community health, reduces morbidity and absenteeism, promotes social equality for vulnerable populations, increases physical activity, promotes occupancy safety, provides healthy food options, and instills feelings of well-being. By achieving the Fitwel strategies, projects can benchmark their progress towards health and wellness or achieve a rating of one, two, or three stars.

Sustainability and wellness

The commercial real estate market has evolved to make green buildings the new norm, and it makes sense that this industry would embrace the next phase of sustainability — human health and wellness — both as a mechanism for differentiation in the market and as a means to improve occupant satisfaction. To help streamline the adoption of this next phase, both WELL and Fitwel have developed crosswalks. Crosswalks help to identify synergies between the human health rating systems and other green building rating systems through streamlined documentation.

WELL has published four crosswalks with other standards including LEED, Green Star (Australia), BREEAM, and the Living Building Challenge. The LEED and WELL crosswalk connects the dots between LEED v4 BD+C, LEED v4 ID+C, LEED v4 O+M, and the WELL Building Standard. The crosswalk shows the extent to which actions needed to achieve a specific LEED credit also meet the requirements of a WELL credit and vice versa. The LEED credits and WELL features can either be equivalent, meaning all requirements are met; partial, meaning some requirements are met; or aligned, meaning intent is the same but none of the requirements are met. For example, the LEED BD+C credit Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses partially fulfills WELL feature 67: Exterior Active Design.

The Living Building Challenge and WELL crosswalk is based on Living Building Challenge v3.1 and WELL v1 (Q2 2017) and is structured similarly to the LEED crosswalk. But unlike the LEED-to-WELL connection, it may take the achievement of several WELL features to equate to one Living Building Challenge imperative.

 

Source: IBEF,Facilitiesnet & Team CLR

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