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26 May 2020
Look to the Long Term with Pandemic Response
Underneath my college campus was a labyrinth of tunnels. Late one night I joined a group of friends to explore this mysterious subterranean world. We walked through an unlocked door in the basement of an old building and surfaced, in the wee hours of the morning, in the university’s central plant building. It was a claustrophobic journey into the past. Probably 20 years earlier, the tunnels had been pressed into...
26 May 2020
fnPrime Gives FMs New Option for In-Depth Facilities Information
The “new normal” is the bland phrase we use to describe our adjusted expectations after a disruption to the way we live or work. It emerges gradually as we take small steps from the old ways into the unknown. Even before COVID-19 hit, the facility management profession had been moving toward a new normal for years. So had media companies. For both facility managers and content developers, the pandemic has...
26 Mar 2020
Platforms Are Emerging as Useful Facility Management Tools
Platforms are turning up all over the place in facilities. There are platforms for single products and platforms for the entire building, off-the-shelf platforms and custom platforms. Some platforms are based in the cloud, and some are located on devices in facilities. Familiar products like building automation systems and integrated workplace management systems can be platforms and so can the emerging generation of Building...
26 Mar 2020
In an Emergency, Take Care of People
In the past two decades, facility managers have had to deal with hurricanes, floods, fires, and pandemics. Many of those have had devastating local or regional consequences. But none has matched the global impact of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Still, a look back at the way that facility leaders have responded to disasters of the recent past shows a common thread: a keen awareness of the human cost of the disaster and...
29 Jan 2020
Building Occupants: People, People, People
There are two ways to read the headline. One is with a sigh and a shake of the head. “People, people, people.” Facility managers have plenty of reasons to use that tone. After all, employees, visitors, patients, students, shoppers, guests — you name it — are often not shy about expressing their displeasure when a building doesn’t meet their expectations. And the way they treat the building...
26 Nov 2019
Smart Building Certification: Work Continues in Europe
Would you know a smart building if you walked into one? I’m not sure I would. There is no shortage of tools to make buildings smarter. Sophisticated, interoperable building automation systems. Increasingly advanced controls for a wide range of equipment. Intelligent sensors to capture data about the way the building is operating and the way it is being used. Platforms to integrate multiple building systems. Powerful...
24 Oct 2019
Rebranding Facility Management Could Help Attract Young Talent
When experienced facility managers talk about the need to attract new talent to the field, it’s young people like Nicole Meyers that they have in mind. Meyers is a facilities specialist at Enterprise Holdings. Her goal is to make employees more productive. She’s excited to work with new technology. Her focus is on preventing problems rather than putting out fires. And she’s eager to market facility management...
24 Oct 2019
Listening Can Help Facility Managers Improve Occupant Experience
One section of the local newspaper has an advice column on the first page. I can’t resist it. Most of the advice has to do with fixing relationships. So ... if your department’s relationship with building occupants is on the rocks, or even a little rocky, let me the offer the usual advice: Listen to the other person. Like it or not, as a facility manager, you have to deal with occupant perceptions. With the...
24 Oct 2019
Use an Inclusive Approach to Build a Diverse, Productive FM Team
I first heard about “inclusion” when my son with Down syndrome started going to school. The inclusion program at his school meant he was included in a “regular education” class with appropriate support. Although my son couldn’t do all the same work as other students in the class, inclusion had many benefits for him — and for the students without disabilities as well. It turns out...
24 Oct 2019
Time to Catch Up with the Science on Climate Change
The 2020 election is likely to present a very clear choice on climate change. Several announced Democratic candidates for president have signed on as cosponsors of a non-binding resolution that aims to create a Green New Deal; that resolution calls for a 10-year national mobilization based on a range of economic and environmental measures that include upgrading all U.S. buildings for energy efficiency and meeting 100...
24 Oct 2019
How Technology Is Disrupting Facility Management
“Is This the Future?” asked the headline. The Apple Watch can be used to help identify people with atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm irregularity, according to a major study described in the article I was reading. Here’s another case of digital technology reducing the need for a bricks and mortar setting to deliver services, I thought at first. But the reality is more complex, and the example highlights...
24 Oct 2019
Investments in Resilience Pay Off Better for Tenants than Developers
Common sense says that constructing more resilient buildings will reduce the costs of disasters for building owners and tenants. But common sense is often not a strong enough argument to justify spending money on an admittedly worthwhile goal. Now, the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) has released a study that examines the costs and benefits of hazard mitigation. Researchers looked at that question in...
30 May 2019
Finding the right path to big energy savings
I have a lot of opportunities to learn from experts on the topic of planning energy upgrades. Lately, I’ve been listening for ideas about making deep cuts in energy use. It’s clear the best route to the greatest savings varies from one organization to the next. But there are some common themes for finding the right path. One is that there are plenty of easy opportunities for small energy gains. Switch to...
26 Feb 2019
Don't Let Facility Cost-Cutting Backfire — Keep an Eye on Long Term Costs
You have no doubt heard the old knock on value engineering — that it’s a way of engineering the value out of a project. And you have likely seen more than one case where cost-cutting reduced the price tag of a construction or retrofit project but added years, even decades, of higher operating expenses. So you can relate to this horror story: The initial price of a flooring project in a medical facility was...
29 Jan 2019
These Four Myths Increase Risk that a BAS Will Be Hacked
Talk to any cybersecurity expert, and you’ll hear the same thing: almost all building automation systems have vulnerabilities a hacker could exploit to gain access to the system. The good news is that facility managers themselves can address many of those vulnerabilities. Part of the solution is adopting good practices, like changing passwords regularly. But before you can do the right thing, you have to know what...
2 Jan 2019
Spirit of Improvement Guides FMs, BOM Editors
For the past few years, Building Operating Management has surveyed facility managers about changes in capital budgets and staffing levels. Step by small step, those numbers have improved. While the changes from year to year have not been dramatic, the cumulative shift is noteworthy. In 2012, the first year we asked about capital budgets, 30 percent of respondents reported increases in the previous year, and 30 percent...
29 Nov 2018
Progress made, more needed, on carbon emissions
As many facility managers know by now, the Energy Star scores for most buildings dropped when the program plugged in newly available national data on average facility energy performance. Although Energy Star is reviewing the mathematical models on which the 1 to 100 ratings are based, the underlying facility energy consumption numbers haven’t changed. And those numbers offer good news: The new national performance...
26 Sep 2018
FM Actions to Address Climate Change Bring Bottom-Line Benefits
With retreat at the federal level, the role of facility managers in tackling the challenge of climate change has never been greater, as Greg Zimmerman’s cover story makes clear. Fortunately, the actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions also bring other significant benefits that can help facility managers win funding for steps to reduce those emission. The most familiar benefit is also the most important...
11 Sep 2018
Speed Becoming a Strategic Tool for FMs
The concept of just-in-time manufacturing — revolutionary when it began to spread across U.S. factories in the 1980s — sought to reduce inventory to a very low level. The idea was to save money and reduce waste by making inventory more timely. A just-in-time philosophy has now taken hold across the real estate and facilities industry. It was once taken for granted that corporations would hold enough inventory...
24 Jul 2018
Study offers flood warnings
The disastrous series of major hurricanes that hit last year — Harvey, Irma, and Maria — gave facility managers good reason to revisit their emergency response plans, with a particular eye on preparations for floods. A recent study from the University of Bristol in England offers more reason for concern: The risk of serious flooding across the United States is significantly greater than generally realized...
26 Jun 2018
Why FMs Are Taking the Lead in Building Product Selection
Facility management is full of pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later quandaries, and the product selection process offers a couple of great examples. The one most facility managers probably think of first is initial cost vs. life cycle cost. But there’s an equally good example involving an investment of hours, not dollars. It’s the question of what role the facility management team should play in the product selection...
23 May 2018
Get Ready: New Energy Star Scores Are Coming
Ever since new market data on building energy performance became available in 2016, staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program have been working to update the rating system. It’s no small task, but the end is in sight: On August 26, recalibrated statistical models that determine Energy Star scores are scheduled to be released. Most buildings will get new scores, even though their...
30 Apr 2018
Big FM Data: Help Wanted
Whether the numbers involve energy consumption, equipment performance or occupancy patterns, buildings are a rich source of data. But getting the value from Big Data, like mining gold from a lode buried deep in the earth, takes some doing. One person whose help you’ll need is a data scientist. That’s the person who can figure out how to crunch the stream of data available from sensors and building systems...
3 Apr 2018
Six Technologies for Tomorrow - Or Today
Facility managers have always been consumers of technology. More and more, I think, facility managers should become students of technology as well. As technology consumers who are selecting products that may be in place for decades and that can help or hinder the organization to achieve its mission, facility managers have to scrutinize new offerings with very critical eyes. It’s essential to cut through the sometimes...
27 Feb 2018
New Owner, New Beginning
Thirty years ago, a new team took control of Trade Press, the company that publishes Building Operating Management , as two top managers bought out the previous owner. The sale began a new era for the company. The goal of our CEO, Bob Wisniewski, was to grow the company, and he succeeded. Under his leadership, Trade Press built itself from being publisher of two magazines into a diverse media company with an array of...