Tim is the President of Stark Tech Group. The Stark Tech Group is a Master-level BMS EcoXpert™.
Building owners face unique challenges when managing their physical infrastructure assets. Much like a new automobile loses its value the moment it leaves the dealer’s lot, the building’s infrastructure deteriorates over time, beginning a slow descent into inefficiency, disrepair, and obsolescence. Issues also tend to multiply when buildings are pushed to run beyond their original design capacity. Managers defer building maintenance, and apply band-aids at less cost today, but in reality cost more over time. A deferred maintenance approach makes the building run less efficiently and are more prone to failure. The value of the property in turn declines, making it less desirable for current and future tenants.
Why is Deferred Maintenance a Common Practice?
A reduction in maintenance resources is an ongoing challenge facing building owners.
Over the last 10 years, educational trends have deterred young workers from joining the skilled trades. Today, nearly 45% of the current facilities workforce is over the age of 45, with 30% age 55 or older, according to the Addeco Group, a global staffing leader. As these technicians near retirement age, coupled with the decline of young professionals entering the skilled trade workforce, a talent gap exists where qualified facilities maintenance personnel are needed.
Technology can be infused into buildings through automation tools to overcome the talent gap of qualified workers. Through efficiency gain, analytics, and fault detection, technology helps contain costs and limit downtime in critical equipment.
Long-term Planning is Required to Lower Downtime Risk
When navigating such an environment, it becomes more important than ever for building owners to devote resources to strategic maintenance planning. Technology is used to determine the proper time needed for infrastructure maintenance in order to lower the risk of costly downtime.
Whenever Stark Tech Group, a master-level EcoXpert partner, performs a walk-through analysis on a facility, the results are unique to the building and the business needs. The engineering report typically focuses not only on immediate solutions to pressing problems but also as a holistic strategy for how the facility can better optimize long-term performance and efficiencies.
Conditions in the Field Will Differ Based on Business Challenges
In one use case, a large national client, had trouble in quickly funding capital expenditures. Their typical timeline between submitting a request for funding and securing that funding has been historically two years. Knowing that, a recommendation for a strategic plan was made to build a technology roadmap for upgrades to the chiller plant that fit that timeline and minimized downtime risks as the infrastructure was upgraded over time and without incident.
Another client hosts a very large and contentious union labor force. In the past, when their chiller plant failed in the middle of a hot summer, many grievances and complaints regarding working conditions were filed. Costs due to both emergency repairs and workplace-related litigation were high. By applying predictive algorithms to their core chiller plant components and subsystems, they were able to implement a better plan that worked with their capital expenditure budgets. Such an approach creates a pool of immediately available solutions for redirecting equipment and monies to keep the risk of unanticipated failures to a minimum.
When working with clients, the Schneider Electric EcoStruxure™ platform can be integrated as the building physical infrastructure backbone. This open architecture facilitates a better maintained facility through predictive maintenance of infrastructure assets, regardless of brand, thereby helping to future proof the building.