Logo - CCME
Digital Issue - CCME

Communication gaps can lead to inefficiencies in the construction industry

Stakeholders stress the value of involving Facilities Management companies in the design stage of a building

| | Sep 27, 2018 | 12:30 pm
Share this story

Dubai, UAE, 27 September 2018: Facilities Management (FM) providers play a vital role in optimising building operations, yet as they enter a development after hand-over, there often is a communication gap between the stakeholders, who design and install the equipment in a building, and those who inherit and operate it.

The gap can lead to inefficiencies, especially when it comes to equipment that requires technical knowledge, such as those in the field of HVACR. This was the perspective Saad Ali, General Manager (Middle East and Africa), SPX Cooling Technologies, which specialises in cooling towers, shared, stressing that not all FM companies are equal, especially when it comes to cultivating the necessary skill and technical knowledge for specialised products.

“There are good companies that work well and come to manufacturers to ask how they can improve the systems and meet performance standards,” he said. “However, some FM companies accept projects without looking carefully at the product portfolio to be managed and what they are skilled at handling. It’s a recipe for disaster and can get them in trouble.”

Ali added that there have been instances, where the facility manager approaches the company and buys parts to rectify certain performance issues in order to meet the responsibilities. “But that’s backward,” he said. “You build something new; you discover it’s not doing the right job. I can’t blame the FM company. They should have the capability to assess the facility before they accept the project.” Ali stressed that FM managers should be given the opportunity to review facility equipment lists and performance reports in advance before accepting the documents of a newly constructed building.

Darren Farrell, Regional Sales Director, ME, Africa and ASEAN, Greenheck, which manufactures air movement, air conditioning and air control equipment, spoke on the value of involving FM companies even sooner, by highlighting the financial payback of a collaborative approach from the very beginning. “It’s all going to come down to the cost of the building,” he said. “If something is installed incorrectly and FM come in and do their measurements and redo the piping, for example, that’s a huge cost. If they’re involved sooner, you can check and ensure it doesn’t happen, which will have potential cost implications.” Farrell added that FM companies can share key insights based on their experience in operating buildings, which could be especially valuable in conjunction with third-party bodies, which he believes should be involved in stricter guidelines and practices to provide a level playing field. “As a manufacturer, who abides by all the rules and ethical practices, it’s difficult for us to compete in markets, where that is not there,” he said. “As for FM’s role maybe, by law, the building has to be passed by FM, as well. That is, for us, the ideal situation.”

Providing an FM company’s perspective, Mahmood Rasheed, Chief Operating Officer, Imdaad, echoed the value of a collaborative approach. “There is always a conflict between the commercial needs of the client and the operational needs of the facility end-user,” he said. “To ensure value for money, the project or construction team must clearly define the needs of the client and end-user for optimum balance. This is possible by connecting all involved parties and bridging the gap in the design stage itself. The involvement of FM companies in the design stage will eliminate unnecessary expenditure for any design modifications or alterations at a later stage and maximise the performance of facilities.” FM companies, Rasheed said, eventually have to respond to the needs of the end-user, and thus, their initial involvement in any project will make it easy to run, maintain, control and manage.

Rasheed said emerging technologies, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Additive Manufacturing, will further underpin the importance of a collaborative approach. Citing an example of the Dubai government’s move to improve productivity by mandating the use of BIM in construction projects of more than 20 floors, as well as those with areas larger than 200,000 square feet, Rasheed also pointed to plans of using 3D-printing to build a skyscraper. “We believe this technology is a harbinger of a new future for the FM industry,” he said. “BIM and 3D-printing, along with additional building construction innovations in laser scanning, drone technology and machine control, all have the potential to boost construction productivity.” Ultimately, Rasheed said, integrating FM providers into the project team at the beginning of the process can be seen as a safety mechanism to eliminate the emergence of problems at a later stage.


Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com

Share this story

Feedback for this story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *