Major contractors are feeling pressure from clients to deliver more structured data about the building and this is leading to an increased interest in building information modeling (BIM). BIM can deliver to the client the essential information used to plan maintenance activities, maintenance inventories and budget for the entire lifecycle of the building from handover to decommissioning and replacement. Some contractors are keen to play a greater role in the asset lifecycle management process.
Considering that a building’s working life might typically be 30 to 40 times longer than its construction period, with maintenance costs similarly multiplied, the case for an integrated construction and asset management approach is a strong one. Indeed, the trend towards a greater involvement in the full building lifecycle has been talked about for years.
Just as these construction businesses have changed, so the suppliers of their business systems have had to develop new solutions to suit these changing business models. Rather than two distinct processes – construction and asset management – more agile business systems are able to address the entire building lifecycle as a continuum. This includes the design, construction, maintenance and eventual decommissioning of those buildings.
This agile solutions approach makes it easier for construction companies to respond to the changing demands of customers, including making asset and facilities management an integral element of the overall construction process.
The building owners also benefit from the ERP approach to construction and maintenance, with vital data on every element of their buildings being captured and held for reference, possibly years later. Not only can the system record, for example, the dimensions and type of lift motor that has been installed, it can also manage the planned maintenance schedule, recording planned and reactive maintenance carried out and list the spares required for each type of service. Whenever service engineers are called out, they can have at their fingertips, on a tablets if appropriate, the full service history of the motor together with details of where spares might be kept in that building and who to speak to if expenditure needs to be authorized. It makes for a quicker, more efficient service for all concerned and minimizes down time. Having the single system approach to construction and maintenance almost eliminates the traditional rush at the handover of each project as operation and maintenance manuals are written. With agile ERP solutions constructors are increasingly able to link the construction and asset management processes together, which can only mean better accountability, productivity and quality output from the industry as a whole in years to come.