By Nick Stefanidakis
Bridging the building lifecycle gap has never been more crucial. As remote and hybrid working take hold, building owners and facility managers are under increasing pressure to right-size their property portfolios and rethink how their building operations can support occupier or employee experience.
With demand for net zero commitments growing and economic volatility expected to become more frequent, they also need to prioritize sustainability, save costs, and build resilience.
These objectives will be made easier if different stakeholders involved throughout the building lifecycle work collaboratively. But how do you connect the dots in a notoriously fragmented and disjointed built environment landscape?
The answer lies in building information modeling (BIM), the holistic process of creating and managing the information for a built asset from design and construction to operation. BIM can help bridge the knowledge gap between Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) by capturing data throughout the facility’s lifecycle and ensuring complete transparency at every stage of the process.
A Solution For Facility Managers
The lack of cohesion and communication within a building’s lifecycle is a common bone of contention for facility managers. Often, the handover at the end of construction projects is insufficient. Building owners either receive no information or stacks of physical documents they must then convert back to digital files. What’s more, operations teams have to re-inventory a building before operations can begin, adding another layer of costs for the building owner. Today, the end-to-end digitization of BIM solutions ensures that data that might otherwise get lost is captured and hours of manual paper documentation entry is eliminated.
In turn, the building lifecycle gap denies AEC the opportunity to gain from facility management’s operational expertise. Often, the result is costly refurbishments and repairs when the designer’s or architect’s vision doesn’t quite match the reality of operations, especially when it comes to future refurbishments or construction projects on-site.
Solving Facility Management’s Demographic Problem
Broad adoption of BIM can help building owners and operators wrestling with labor shortages in facility management and engineering services. According to IFMA, nearly 40 percent of facility management professionals will retire by 2026. At the same time, the industry is struggling to attract younger people who will help fill that void, meaning lots of in-depth facility management knowledge could disappear quickly. Although technology and digitization are slowly transforming the perception of the industry, building owners and operators still need a way to capture existing knowledge and ensure younger cohorts don’t start from scratch. BIM can make that happen.
Getting More Value
Last year, a survey by independent smart technology researcher Verdantix revealed that 48% viewed getting value from their existing facility management contracts as the highest priority over the next 12 months. BIM can deliver insights into the historical cost of maintenance activities to better allocate budgets for contractors while ensuring facility managers only pay for the services and time necessary to get the job done. This capability also enables for the development of proactive maintenance plans that keep overall costs at a minimum and reduce workplace disruptions.
Digital Twins Are The Future
The next stage of BIM is the digital twin, which combines BIM, IoT sensors and analytics to create a detailed, interactive virtual 3D model of a building and its assets and systems to optimize building performance and occupant comfort. NASA coined the term “digital twin” in 2002 after putting the technology to use in preparation for the Apollo 13 mission.
Since then, as the technology has advanced and become more accessible, the application of digital twins has increased across many different industries. Not a replacement for BIM but an advanced function of it, a digital twin renders a virtual 3D map for facility managers to view performance, identify trends, and detect errors in a physical space to meticulous detail and in real time.
Digital twin technology can help make maintenance more efficient by displaying the location and condition of an asset before a technician has been dispatched to a job. These insights enable the engineering team to determine the tools required for the task, even for something as simple yet crucial as a ladder, saving the building owner time and money.
What’s more, digital twins will provide facility operators the tools to monitor, analyze and predict the operating conditions of their facilities and the impact on the employees and guests that occupy the spaces. By bridging the lifecycle gap from design and construction to operations, we reduce the effort required to build a real digital twin for operations that can be used to flag potential issues early, avoid costly and disruptive unplanned downtime and maximize asset lifecycle costs in the long term.
Why It Matters
Looking ahead at the challenges that building owners and operators face, there’s undeniable need to capture better building data. Implementing a technology-driven approach significantly limits the risk of data loss over the course of the lifecycle of a building and ensures that the knowledge and know-how of every stakeholder is captured forever.
iOffice + SpaceIQ, Condeco Merger Creates Eptura
Newly-formed Eptura provides software solutions to power the modern workplace.
Software investment firm Thoma Bravo recently announced the creation of Eptura, a global worktech leader that provides software solutions to power the modern workplace. The new company is the result of a merger of workspace scheduling software provider Condeco and workplace and asset management company iOffice + SpaceIQ.
With the rapid evolution of the modern workplace, businesses are demanding new worktech solutions that make adapting to the future of work easier for everyone. With a total addressable market of $25 billion, Eptura’s combined solutions bring collective knowledge, depth of experience, and a comprehensive portfolio of more than nine products together to meet the challenges of the global workplace with a unified technology experience. Eptura’s solutions can be easily integrated into any workplace and offer an extended ecosystem of partnerships.
The combined company’s new brand reflects its ability to respond to the dynamic needs of the modern employer and hybrid workplace. Eptura stands for “the epicenter of the future at work,” underscoring the company’s ability to accelerate the development of new worktech solutions and enhance the user experience.
Brandon Holden, CEO of iOffice + SpaceIQ, will serve as CEO of Eptura. Paul Statham, Founder and CEO of Condeco, joins Eptura’s board of directors and will continue working with Thoma Bravo. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, and with large regional offices in London and Melbourne, Australia, Eptura has over 1,000 employees across the globe, 16.3 million users, and a customer base spanning more than 16,000 of the world’s leading companies.
“With the proliferation of hybrid work, there is an unmet need for technology solutions that enable businesses to adapt to the changing needs of the workplace,” commented Holden. “By combining the power of our expertise and products, Eptura provides a comprehensive solution for business leaders who recognize the importance of keeping people at the center of the workplace of the future. I couldn’t be more excited to lead Eptura as we deliver on our mission to empower the workplace of tomorrow.”
For facility managers it improves operations but also gives them a greater stake in the entire building lifecycle, potentially growing their influence – which can only be a good thing for the profession and the future design, construction, and operation of buildings.
Nick Stefanidakis is SVP, Strategic Alliances & Channel, Eptura. He has more than 20 years of progressive experience in the fields of real estate and facility management, mechanical and application engineering, and enterprise software deployments. In his current role, he leads business process design, technology consulting, and project management for IWMS, BIM, and IoT at Eptura, a global worktech company.