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The Importance of Building Science to Ongoing Maintenance

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Jon Schoenfeld

Buildings are continuously influenced by physical factors such as heat, moisture, pollutants, and sound. Building science is the scientific analysis of how these phenomena affect buildings to better predict and improve building systems performance. This includes enhancing comfort, health, and durability while reducing energy use.

Today, many of the most valuable applications of building science knowledge lie in the day-to-day maintenance of interconnected building systems. By understanding the importance of building science and allowing advanced data analytics to guide ongoing maintenance, you can optimize operations throughout your facilities.    

The Importance of Building Science: Transforming Maintenance

Building science can be invaluable throughout the life of a structure, from initial architectural design to retrofitting an existing property. With the emergence of new technologies and more advanced building information modeling, it is also becoming an increasingly important part of ongoing maintenance. For maintenance contractors, an intelligent analytics platform designed by building science experts can have significant benefits, including:

Facilitating a preventive approach to maintenance

Using an analytics platform to monitor equipment lets you move toward a preventive approach to maintenance, rather than a reactive one. Analytics and rules written by data scientists can continuously organize and prioritize data from an interconnected network of building equipment and automatically alert you to system and equipment performance characteristics and failures by identifying anomalies in the data patterns. By detecting and predicting faults as early as possible and recommending solutions, maintenance contractors and building system service professionals can resolve issues before they impact building occupants. 

Reducing waste in service contracts

Equipment maintenance in commercial buildings is typically directed by an arbitrary schedule set at the beginning of the service contract. These scheduled maintenance visits are often unnecessary and can lead to significant waste; if you’ve ever been called to look at malfunctioning equipment right after you completed your regular maintenance visit, you know this well. When maintenance is directed by data rather than an arbitrary schedule, the time and resources spent on service calls are greatly reduced. Minimizing waste also improves the customer experience by adding value to service contracts. 

Increasing transparency

Historically, transparency between contractors and customers has been challenging. An intelligent analytics platform that models and standardizes data can help you increase transparency and give your customers a better understanding of how your work has contributed to improvements across their building operations. Active reporting of work completed and issues resolved eliminates the need for manual write-ups, strengthens trust, allows customers to see value in the service contract. With a platform that tracks historical data for all connected equipment, you can also produce reports that validate your work and show performance over time to correlate fixes with long-term performance improvements. 

These benefits of data analytics demonstrate the importance of building science in the day-to-day life of a building. As a maintenance contractor, the right building analytics product will help you work more effectively and efficiently.

What to Look for in a Data Analytics Platform

Selecting a data analytics platform can seem overwhelming if you don’t have a background in data or building science. But choosing—and using—a platform doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what to look for:

  • Advanced fault detection and diagnostics: In an interconnected network of building systems, equipment downtime can diminish the performance and efficiency of the entire building. An analytics platform with machine learning capabilities can offer advanced fault detection and diagnostics to help you address maintenance issues proactively. One of the most valuable benefits of this technology is the ability to isolate problems. In a complex equipment network, one malfunctioning part often triggers multiple alerts in related units, causing false alarms and obfuscating the root cause of the issue. An intelligent analytics platform can quickly pinpoint the reason for equipment malfunction and suggest solutions. 
  • Automation and customization: Relying on technicians to manually document maintenance issues and track equipment performance can take up valuable time and increase costs. So can employing specialists to write custom analytics rules according to the specific needs of each building automation system you service. The best analytics platforms offer robust reporting capabilities that allow you to generate and share reports automatically and on demand. They also give you the ability to benefit from machine learning, create tailored rule sets, and add custom services without hiring computer programmers or building scientists.
  • User-friendly, mobile-accessible interface: A user-friendly interface allows stakeholders to access and understand information without the help of an expert. For maintenance contractors, this should include the ability to navigate directly to malfunctioning equipment for troubleshooting. Additionally, mobile access to the interface offers contractors critical insights on operational efficiency from anywhere, reducing the need for site visits.

onPoint Analytics incorporates these key features to help contractors realize the benefits of intelligent data analytics. This easy addition to your services not only enhances the efficiency and quality of your work, it adds value for your customers. 

The importance of building science for contractors lies in not only resolving day-to-day maintenance issues, but in supporting the overall needs of your customers. With the right analytics platform, you can help them achieve their performance goals while improving your own operations.

To learn more about how onPoint can transform ongoing maintenance, register for our monthly webinars or contact our analytics team

 

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