As World Facilities Management Day comes around on 11 May, you could ask what is happening in facilities management (FM) and how it is affecting property developers?

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Reid Cunningham

The big deal right now is thinking backwards – backwards and forwards, because how facilities are managed is becoming a central part of a whole-life asset management approach to making a development truly carbon net zero.

It is all about outputs. Occupiers want to be in smart buildings that are sustainable in design and also provide a solution to manage energy and carbon in operation. But you cannot manage a building before it is occupied or design it afterwards. Even recent advances using ‘digital twins’ require designs advanced enough to provide analysis.

It comes down to integrating knowledge of how buildings should work in operation into their design and construction, so that managing energy, achieving zero carbon emissions and establishing social value are part of its conception.

This requires more than well-meaning design; it demands informed, data-led, digitally enabled development. So how are we, and others like us, doing it?

Energy meter data provides the information from which energy and decarbonisation decisions can be prioritised and implemented. We have invested in a cloud-based energy system that collects data from remote fiscal and sub meters to monitor individual building performance. It is configured to work in new and existing buildings and processes more than five million pieces of energy data a year, allowing detailed analysis of energy performance and identifying areas for improvement.

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This allows savings in consumption and setting targets for net zero. For example, it monitors unusual energy profiles, triggering customised alarms for our FM teams and customers. This built-in housekeeping typically saves between 5% and 10% of energy consumption.

Implementing indoor air-quality monitors within occupied spaces and intelligent lighting controls can be integrated with FM management systems to optimise comfort and health and improve efficiency. This is particularly relevant where hybrid working has disrupted normal working patterns.

We have also teamed up with the Sustainable FM Index to develop industry guidance for the FM sector on reporting Scope 3 carbon emissions.

Scope 3 emissions include those produced from an organisation’s supply chain, upstream and downstream, creating a framework for understanding the indirect emissions of an organisation. The inputs, outputs and activities that take place in an organisation’s property play a significant part in Scope 3 emissions.

Knitting all this together for a developer at the outset requires a very good nexus between FM, design and construction intelligence, and that comes back to smart, digital tools that enable the data to inform design.

By working backwards from an FM-led perspective, property development can take enormous steps forward.

Reid Cunningham is strategic development director at BAM FM and BAM Energy