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Facilities Management Journal March 2017

FOCUS MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL NEW SKILLS REQUIRED Of course, this has created a requirement for the FM to acquire diff erent skills. Although management of the maintenance contractor is still important, it has taken on a more collaborative approach where the engineer and FM work together to analyse the data and agree actions. The FM who has embraced condition-based maintenance needs to have a deeper understanding of plant performance and how this impacts on the core business – what plant is critical and what could be allowed to fail. An appreciation of data analytics is also essential as the FM needs to be able to both sell the concept to senior management and also present maintenance data on an ongoing basis. All this change has led to an adjustment in career paths and job roles for both FM and engineer. Back in the 1970s a typical building services role would be a drawing off ice manager, a draughtsman or a borough engineer. Now job specs such as digital engineer, energy manager or IES modeller are common, reflecting the increasing digitisation of building services. Engineers need more electronic and controls-based experience, not just the training to know what to do with a spanner. 36 MARCH 2017 They also need to have a broader set of skills than in the past, so they can look at a building holistically and create the most eff icient and eff ective place to work. It’s not just about tinkering with the equipment. This has increased the need for engineers to be multiskilled and qualified. Where once engineers would typically be trained in a key specialism such as electricity or gas, that has changed. Soft er skills are also becoming an important part of the mix. No longer does the engineer disappear into the plant room for hours on end. Instead, they are required to discuss plant and equipment performance with the FM and possibly explain performance or usage issues to end users. Communication skills and the ability to present data in an easilyunderstandable way is essential, and most engineering training programmes now focus on people skills. CHANGING THE GAME The use of technology to improve the delivery of facilities services will be a key game changer over the next five years. Phrases such as the internet of things and building information management are being bandied around with increasing frequency – but not always with the greatest level of knowledge. There are already examples of facilities where diff erent assets constantly talk to one another and adjust their performance and operation based on set parameters as well as human intervention. The concept of personal comfort, where diff erent teams and departments control environmental factors such as ambient temperature, lighting and oxygen levels, is spreading. However, while these are still the exception rather than the rule, they are an indication of where M&E maintenance is going. Big data and analytics are here, but the key is how organisations interpret and act on that data. Only then will the organisation benefit from the work of today’s increasingly technology-savvy engineers. Glen Cardinal is managing director of Platinum Facilities and Maintenance Services. The use of technology to improve the delivery of facilities services will be a key game changer over < &


Facilities Management Journal March 2017
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