FM on cusp of technological transformation, says Khatib & Alami

Industry expert believes technology is improving costs and supporting sustainability agenda

Emerging technologies are set to transform the facilities management market in the Middle East, helping to save costs and drive up sustainability standards across the buildings sector, according to industry expert Mustafa Herzallah from design and engineering consultancy Khatib & Alami (K&A).

Energy management specialist Herzallah, who will be speaking at FM Expo Saudi in Riyadh (28-30 January), says that the integration of technologies such as smart meters and energy monitoring and control systems, Building Information Modelling (BIM) and geographic information systems (GIS) is equipping facilities management teams with real-time data to optimize levels of performance.

Such technologies, which are fundamental to the creation of smart cities, will play a key role in the growth of the FM market in the GCC over the coming decade. The largest country market for FM services, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is alone expected to more than double in size to $50bn by 2030, compared to $23bn at the end of 2018.

“Buildings are almost 40% of the energy consumption in almost any economy, and the best energy and water efficiency measures typically reduce energy and water bills by 10-30%,” says Senior Project Engineer Herzallah. “In Saudi Arabia, where Vision 2030 is helping to drive improvements in energy and water efficiency, the potential for innovating through the FM market is huge.”

K&A has vast experience in FM consultancy management, sustainability projects and BIM throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and is helping to lead the introduction of new technologies across its markets. In Lebanon, for instance, the ABC Verdun Mall project, for which K&A was the local design consultant, became the first project in the country for which the BIM model is being used not only for the construction phase, but also to support mall operations.

Using BIM for FM means that the effective delivery of a building’s operations and maintenance can be planned in detail from the outset of a project – information stored within the software includes schedules and blueprints, as well as asset information such as cost, location, service life, carbon impact and warranty details. This helps FM teams to take informed decisions throughout the lifecycle of a building around areas such as space use, maintenance, energy consumption and cost efficiencies.

“Conventional FM practice is more reactive, so problems are fixed as they arise. As a pioneer in sustainability and energy management, we challenge the current performance of an asset and aim to improve and optimize that performance, reducing their operational costs and enhancing the overall end-user experience,” says Herzallah. “Through BIM models and FM integrated data, problems can be diagnosed quickly and performance predicted, resulting in fewer equipment and asset failures.”

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) also add an additional layer of benefits to FM. K&A has been at the forefront of GIS in the MENA region for more than 30 years through its partnership with international GIS supplier ESRI, while its own smart solutions platform – Kapcite – is gaining traction in the market through products such as Way+, which incorporates ‘wayfinding’ technology through the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect people, physical assets and data intelligently.

K&A’s Product and Account Manager, Mohammad Hammoud, who will also be speaking at FM Expo Saudi, believes geospatial solutions offer significant benefits to the facilities management sector. He says: “Creating geographically aware buildings can significantly improve decision-making by generating real-time data which can be analysed quickly and efficiently. This can help facilities managers to accurately predict behavioural patterns so that, for instance, air conditioning can be managed at the most appropriate levels in specific zones. It can also support health and safety by informing space and crowd management or emergency response planning.”

Anwar Qureshi, Senior Consultant in K&A’s Facilities Management Department, says greater appreciation of the positive impact that high quality FM can have on businesses will help the market to grow and innovate.

“One of the things organizations often get wrong about facilities management is focusing on being reactive, instead of strategic. We recommend that clients implement a robust facilities management program that gives credence to the efficient operation and maintenance of the asset over its entire lifecycle. Taking a comprehensive and longer term approach can optimize operational performance, reduce costs and also give the opportunity to create spaces that are safe, secure and user-friendly.”

K&A will be supporting the FM market in Saudi Arabia by sharing best practice and showcasing new technologies at this month’s FM Expo Saudi.

Published content was supplied by Khatib & Alami (K&A)

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