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5 Building Maintenance Procedures That Benefit from Automation

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Laura Miller

These days, just about anything that happens in a building can be automated. That said, not everything that can be automated should be.

While it’s important to recognize the benefits of automating building maintenance procedures, it’s also best to do a cost-benefit analysis as to whether automating any particular process is worth the expense. Not every building is the same, and not every building will benefit from the same automated processes; what works for one built structure may not work for another. 

At their core, maintenance strategies are put into place to lengthen the life of a building’s systems and to lower operating costs. Maintaining a building involves making difficult decisions as to where to allocate finite resources for building maintenance. Procedures that facility managers automate first should include those that quickly provide a notable return on investment (ROI).

According to U.S. government figures, 4 such a comprehensive operations and maintenance program for energy and water systems, based on proactive, predictive maintenance, and analytics, can save up to 20% per year on maintenance and energy costs, while increasing the projected lifetime of the building by several years. The predictive maintenance approach is gaining ground among facility owners and operators, as experience with this type of approach grows and the cost-justification increasingly becomes understood.

Strategies for Automating Building Maintenance Procedures

Maintenance in smart buildings requires strategic planning. Programming building maintenance procedures into your building automation system (BAS) allows you to take a more efficient and effective approach. 

BAS-based maintenance helps facility managers: 

  • Automate workflows and schedules. 
  • Manage priorities and risk.
  • Track service requests.
  • Validate work.
  • Reduce equipment downtime.
  • Improve asset reliability.
  • Improve uptime metrics.
  • Create a proactive culture that enables fixes before failures.
  • Make accurate, data-driven decisions.

With smart technology, a facility manager can even manage multiple locations through a single user interface. 

1. Support Tickets

Automated building maintenance procedures streamline repairs and replacements. For example, if a vent is failing to supply fresh air to a certain part of the building, occupants or building staff can make a maintenance request. Rather than calling the facility manager, automated processes might instead involve simply opening a mobile application and reporting the problem. This support ticket then goes automatically into a queue that’s accessed by the maintenance manager via a support dashboard. They then dispatch personnel to fix the problem. 

2. Work Orders

Creating a system for automating work orders ensures maintenance occurs quickly and efficiently as possible. When work orders are automated, crews can prioritize the more important repairs, establish workloads, assign tasks, and track maintenance requests from start to finish. For example, repairing a toilet on a floor with multiple restrooms would be of lesser priority than fixing a problem involving the HVAC system, which affects the whole building. 

3. Preventive Maintenance

Implement service plans that use proactive and predictive maintenance based on the actual condition of equipment rather than a predetermined schedule. With this approach, equipment is maintained at a continuously high level of performance rather than waiting for something to fail. In addition, a predictive approach can be used to prioritize repairs and maintenance so that the most important systems (as judged by the building owner/operator) are repaired first, ensuring the most effective ROI.

4. Cleaning 

Building maintenance procedures that keep your property clean protect the health of occupants and optimize ROI. According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, owners of healthy buildings can expect to achieve 4.4-7.7% more rental income per square foot. Healthy buildings also increase productivity among occupants.

Automation makes it easier to maintain cleanliness and ensures equipment and systems last longer. Facility managers who use advanced janitorial tracking software with automatic notifications are also able to allocate resources more strategically.

5. System Monitoring 

One of the more powerful uses for automation is monitoring the performance of building systems. Continuous tracking of equipment function and energy consumption gives you great opportunities to resolve operating issues, eliminate inefficiencies, reduce costs, and create more attractive spaces for occupants. 

Step Into the Future of Building Management

Automation is the future of building management. An intelligent, integrated BAS supported by IoT sensors and smart building software gives you the ability to implement the best automation strategies for your building. A smart buildings solution provider will guide you through your options and design a system that gives you the capabilities you need while maximizing ROI. With the right expertise and technologies, you can make smart decisions about your property and transform your building maintenance procedures.   

Maintenance approach

Pros

Cons

Reactive

  • Minimal staff.
  • Lowest initial investment.
  • Least efficient and cost effective.
  • Increased cost of unplanned downtime, labor, and repair.
  • Inefficient use of staff.

Preventive

  • More effective and cost effective: 12-18% savings over reactive.
  • Less equipment failure.
  • More uptime.
  • Lack of prioritization.
  • Unnecessary maintenance.

Predictive

  • Highly efficient and cost-effective: 8-12% savings over preventive.
  • Least equipment failure.
  • Most uptime.
  • Improved safety, comfort, productivity, and efficiency compliance.
  • Greater prioritization.
  • Highest initial investment (staff, training, diagnostics).
  • Savings potential not immediately seen by management.

Predictive + analytics

  • Most efficient and cost-effective.
  • Greatest prioritization.
  • Streamlined operations.
  • Quantifiable ROI to show management.
  • Requires robust BMS.
  • Special expertise.

 

Buildings IOT offers state-of-the-art solutions to automate building maintenance procedures. Contact our team of experts to learn more about what we can do for you.

 

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