The Digitization of Facility Management

person covering the reflection of sunlight on curtain wall building at daytime

More than ever, buildings and cities are digitally transforming, unlike ever before.

So how are your buildings doing? How are you doing?  Are you ready? Are your facilities ready? How about your customers, how might they benefit through the digitization of FM?
As you start to ponder the next steps, the following are some initial points to consider. 

Master Asset Registry 

Buildings can literally contain thousands of assets. Have you identified all of your assets within the facility? Are they maintained both in terms of actual maintenance and in the accuracy of the facility asset list, i.e. updating your Asset Registry when the end of life assets are disposed of and new assets added? Are they in a digital format like Excel? This will make it easier to export into FM databases and to make changes when required. 


Many facilities will contain the paper drawings used in the design, construction, and building handover process. Perhaps rolled up and sitting in the corner of a mechanical room. Do the drawings reflect As-Built conditions? Are they in a digital format? If they aren’t, they will need to be. To save a few dollars, try containing the firm which generated the drawings and ask if they will send them to you in digitally CAD format. Paper drawings can be transformed into digital drawings; be sure the paper drawings are accurate BEFORE you transform them into digital. 

Do your facility drawings, reflect as-built conditions? Spot check your drawings to confirm the asset on the drawing is actually located in the facility.  Also, look for issues in architectural, electrical, mechanical, and landscaping. These could be a great exercise for summer interns or as an orientation process for new employees.
By now you get the picture… no pun intended :-). Digitization requires that Facility Manager takes stock of Facility Management processes and data structure.


Called many things, and can mean different things, but at a minimum are you maintaining your assets within a computerized software program? Have you explored ways to maximize it’s potential? For example, companies will continue introducing product enhancements; is your version of CMMS software the most recent version? 


If you think of a building, like the human body, the BAS or Building Automation System, is the central nervous system. The centralized system gathers actionable data from various areas of the facility. This technology has significantly changed over the years.  Companies now offer agile, SaaS (Software as a Service) options where similar technology can be offered at a fraction of the traditional legacy tech systems’ price.

If you think of a building like the human body, the BAS (Building Automation System) is the central nervous system.

John ringness, SFP, MRICS


Energy Management Software is sometimes abbreviated to EnMS not to be confused with EMS (Emergency Medical Services). This software typically monitors energy consumption and often has various levels of application and sophistication. 

Are you able to monitor, react, improve, and report to changes in energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and costs? 


Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, construction, and facility management professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure. It increases the likelihood of asset life cycle success through improved processes and focused data management. 

For greenfield sites, the above process should flow smoother if correctly scoped in the tender documents. For existing buildings, it will require more effort, but so worth the effort. 
Finally, there is much more to consider as we enter the digitization of Facility Management.  The IoT and digital twin are already in play. Be sure your basics are in place and run to completion.