Alastair Reynolds – Property Week
Commonplace Operational Control
Cognitive buildings are increasingly commonplace thanks to the development of technologies that are delivering greater levels of operational control. For example, Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity can help to anticipate workplace conditions and reduce a building’s carbon footprint by cutting its energy consumption.
This approach started with automation, which removed the need for human involvement in simple tasks such as turning on lights and temperature adjustments. This freed up facility managers to spend more time on problem solving. Cognitive buildings take technology beyond automation using a more complex and integrated approach that analyses building procedures to provide actionable insights.
This is achieved through a combination of detailed facilities management capabilities and cognitive computing, which can deliver energy savings, optimise the use of space and improve security and safety.
One of the biggest challenges facing facility managers is ensuring that a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are operated in an efficient manner, reducing their carbon footprint and saving on costs.
An ACEEE study shows that smart buildings can realise up to 30–50% savings compared with other ‘regular’ buildings.
Space optimisation is also crucial if offices are to be used effectively. Here technology can monitor and track high volume areas, helping facility managers understand where to make meaningful changes. This could even extend to the use of car parks as sensor technology expands.
The implementation of AI (artificial intelligence) is expected to move beyond the systems currently in place, with preventative maintenance and fault detection tools analysing data to better diagnose anomalies and inconsistencies, before formulating a remedy. AI will also optimise building operations to improve tenant comfort through the integration of mobile apps and wearables to help occupants interact directly with their surroundings.
Enhancing the customer experience continues to be key in helping businesses thrive, with personalisation being an important piece of the smart buildings puzzle. Features such as voice-enabled commands, using IoT connectivity, could become a commonplace solution to help optimise businesses’ processes.
Looking at the ways cognitive buildings communicate with their occupants also provides insights for assembling Cognitive Districts and Cognitive Cities. For example, enhanced usage data from buildings can help to develop district plans that support long-term sustainability.
Further technology advances will make cognitive buildings even more adaptive to the needs of their occupants. They will also provide facility managers with even greater insight that can positively influence their operations. Building managers looking to upgrade their existing portfolio should work with experienced suppliers to ensure business continuity.
Alastair Reynolds is General Manager for Services at Honeywell Building Solutions, Europe.
Intelligent Timber Buildings
Part of creating sustainable, energy efficient, sustainable environments involves keeping pace with the IoT. Incorporating this into design detail is an important part of what we offer. SIP & Timber Frame structures provide excellent flexibility to do this. We work with architects, planners and environmentalists to satisfy all types of design, so that we can help you, your buyers or tenants. Additionally, ‘Volumetric’ and ‘flat pack’ modular building solutions can ‘tread lightly on the earth’ and we adapt our business innovations and developments to your environmental needs.
For example, standard designs from our very low rise ‘SolidLox’ brand enable us to provide buildings that do not require massive foundations and which can avoid harming tree roots while delivering on time and within budget. Such projects require a systematic, solution driven approach which brings discipline to the process, sharing information and communications. Applying DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) defines the process of taking these to the next level; a welcome change in the overall approach to project management and development – and to those who just ‘talk about it’!
Partnering for Modular Progress
All of this entails a shift in thinking to that already practiced by established ‘Off-Site’ MMC manufacturers. It can be quickly and easily incorporated into procedures and processes of building and development. Better still, you can make partnering arrangements with such manufacturers to gain all round benefits.
Greater Speed, Accuracy, Quality and Lower Costs
Greater collaborative ‘partnering’ between architects, builders and manufacturers will deliver these. The greater speed, accuracy and quality that can result from manufacturing components in a dry, controlled factory environment, together with the ability tom incorporate (yet to be invented) ‘Smart Ware’ gives home builders perhaps the only way of achieving this, together with improved on-site build quality AND controlling costs.
While resistance to the change to DfMA has been the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Off-Site for their developments. Also, as ‘OffSite Hub” note, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something we have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process.
Easy Timber Frame
To assist them in doing so our “Easy Timber Frame “ now offers standard size modular timber frame elements for them to use as a design base, cutting down on technical design and engineering to produce win-win results. This virtually provides any housebuilder or architect with their own bespoke design factory facility.