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Marc Watkins, Business Development Director at SWG, is featured in Facilitate March-April Edition to outline why forecasting systems, retrofitting existing buildings and integrating systems are necessary to manage public sector building compliance changes.

Where are we now?

As new compliance protocols are introduced across the built environment, many existing methods of demonstrating compliance, such as Excel data sets, are not good enough.

There are regular updates to sustainability targets, ISO, government and healthcare standards. There have also been issues with materials that have triggered the speedy introduction of new requirements. The RAAC crisis affecting many public sector buildings is a prime example.

Current systems used by many building managers are often not agile enough to adapt to new compliance requirements, which results in panic, and often leads to rushed purchases of new tools and systems to achieve compliance without much consideration of improving long-term strategies. Understanding the data you have, where it is from, and what it is telling you, is so important.

Where do we go next?

To prevent these issues from occurring and, therefore, reducing downtime costs and fines for non-compliance, building and facilities managers need to implement long-term planning for compliance updates. Having the correct processes in place to forecast changes, act on them, and demonstrate compliance without needing to pay out for new software each time will mitigate these issues and future-proof the business.

Being more proactive when considering compliance standards, managers can make sustainable choices. This means changes to data collection or conversion are more efficient and reused where necessary to keep costs down and improve efficiency further.

How do we get there?

Retrofitting existing spaces is the first place to start. A decade ago, it was cheaper to knock everything down and start again, but now the playing field has levelled and implementing older buildings with the right BIM and CAFM technology is more affordable with better results that save money and time.

Integrating these two technologies gives access to better data across every aspect of a building, further improving the FM function. A modular CAFM system allows you to build up your software as your requirements develop. This prevents panic spending on complicated software that you’re only buying for access to one or two functions. Carrying out initial and follow-up audits to establish that your data is up to date is vital. If these audits reveal that data is out of date or of poor quality, relevant steps can be taken to provide a more solid foundation for reporting and operations. CAFM can be Integrated with software such as SFG20 to ensure the right data is collected and the compliance measures implemented onsite meet current standards. Schedules can be automated but it’s more prudent to use these tools to highlight, suggest and allow for the configuration of your data where and when it is necessary.

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