Getting to know your building's tech stack
*This post is an excerpt from New School: Becoming a Next Gen Facility Manager
You may be asking yourself, what the heck is a tech stack? For facilities, a tech stack is the technology infrastructure or eco-system used to run a building. It can be anything from building automation, to security systems to electronic facility records. In this section, we examine the categories of technology that are important for buildings and what the Next Generation Facility Managers view as critical in the stack.
Building Automation Systems
The automatic centralized control of a building’s core systems. The objective is improved comfort, efficient operation of systems, reduction in energy consumption, reduced operating costs, historical performance documentation, remote access/ control/operation, and improved lifecycle of equipment and utilities.
Core systems include:
System Management Platforms
These are systems that are critical to building’s day to day functioning, but are not automatic or on timers. Instead these help with inter-building communication and monitoring. Next-Gen Facility Managers need to be aware of (if not familiar with) industry trends towards using the IP network to connect and manage more and more systems.
A NGFM will need to have a working knowledge/familiarity with IT Networks. They also need to have a good working relationship with the staff members who provide these services. The NGFM is technically a customer of this service and should manage their relationship with the IT team through this lens. The analogy being, you don’t need to know how to fix the car to drive it, but you do need to know some basic things like when to change the oil and rotate the tires. It’s critical for the NGFM to become comfortable with accessing information on their network. In addition, they need to be able to organize digital information and understand how to search what they are looking for. The use of tags and keywords, for example, are more important than a strict filing convention of old.
The two primary systems of the IT Network are:
Planning and Management Software
Software helps NGFM’s centralize all of their building information, to-do lists, routine preventative maintenance and future planning. Historically referred to as CMMS (computerized maintenance management system), the software systems available today go far beyond what a CMMS system can do. Software will allow you to see a virtual view of your buildings, allow for others to collaborate and share information, track depreciation and replacement costs of assets, plan for future investments and keep you focused on the key tasks at any given time. There is software to help you manage:
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