It is high time for the FM industry to integrate maintainability and sustainability with Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD), equipping Smart Buildings with the ecosystem needed to remain productive and in good shape. IDD was introduced by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) through its IDD Implementation Plan to create a better environment for all stakeholders and ensure that work processes are streamlined through digital technology innovatively. The plan envisions a highly integrated and technologically advanced construction sector by 2020, as part of realising Singapore’s dream to become the world’s first Smart Nation.
Being a consolidated system for all members of the built environment community, IDD builds on BIM to enhance asset delivery and management through real-time monitoring for operations and maintenance (O&M). The time-exhaustive practice of referring to as-built drawings and O&M manuals is counter-productive to FM management, and can no longer support the interminable revisions and updates to today’s smart buildings. BIM digitalises and consolidates both geometrical and non-geometrical data on building elements, thus providing a one-stop database for facilities managers and technicians, improving their efficiency and productivity. Thus, the local FM industry should prioritise adopting BIM in asset management to facilitate seamless smart building solutions, heralding the establishment of a Predictive Maintenance (PdM) regime.
However, the usage of BIM in asset management would be flawed without the direct involvement of FM providers in upstream planning and design. FM practitioners have to take the initiative to get involved in defining and specifying asset information requirements into BIM. This secures real-time access to precise data on key assets for O&M, and will enhance labour productivity and cost controls for FM. Combined with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors and digitalised work management (DWM) software, BIM-powered asset management will not only digitalise, but also automate PdM through the condition-based monitoring of assets and facilities. This structured, reliable approach serves to avoid downtime and minimise maintenance expenses, ameliorating the comfort and security of tenants.
IDD will become an essential part of the FM toolbox in the foreseeable future. The emerging trend of PdM is a hint to FM firms to start fostering trust between all stakeholders of the built environment. In this spirit, information related to PdM, its expected service downtime and inconvenience, and reliability-centered maintenance strategies should be made available to everyone digitally. This keeps the building’s users, owners and service providers in the loop and enables them to plan ahead. This will potentially revolutionise the built environment scene to accommodate well-rounded, forward-looking attitudes in design and construction, awarding the FM community a greater platform for their concerns on maintainability and sustainability.
Active assurance of a holistically sustainable built environment is vital for FM. The BCA’s promotion of a sustainable approach to FM will help cut costs and save the environment. With climate change and limitation of energy resources, the FM industry is not only faced with embedding sustainability within new developments from the onset, but also with the Herculean challenge of greening older buildings to adhere to the Singapore Green Building Masterplan (SGBMP). Despite logistical issues, older buildings can have an effective makeover if IDD is utilised. Stakeholders, including the FM community, will be able to plan, set and meet targets for sustainability with IDD’s enhanced lifecycle management. Sustainable FM practices will eventually lead to the reduction of energy, water and waste in the effective maintenance and operation of buildings.
Taking maintainability and sustainability to the next level with IDD will revitalise the FM scene, making it more innovative, entrepreneurial, creative, and competitive. Collaboration – both within the FM community and across the entire value chain, including the Government, banking industry, and businesses – is the key to meeting future demands, legislations and regulations. Thus, consolidating and streamlining all work processes with IDD will leverage data and digital technologies, leading to profit improvement through cost reduction efforts, revamping the FM ecosystem to support their core business even better. Sustainable and smart buildings are now at the forefront of Singapore’s built environment, and with an equally competent FM, we can collectively play our part in building a smart nation.