Has the facilities industry ignored the storage and management of building documents for too long?
Images like this are all too common in document storage rooms in large building complexes. Surveys show 65% of the facilities across the United States store documents in hard copy format or in complex facility management software like CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software). Trying to find a shut off valve on a drawing is like looking for a needle in a haystack. And what about finding critical building information during an emergency? Will managers swipe through countless files during a state of panic?
In the absence of a tenured facility engineer any accident or emergency could turn in to a catastrophe.
Building information in facilities is an age-old problem.
1 in 3 buildings in the US are over 50 years old. 74% of commercial buildings are over 20+ years old.
As buildings age, documentation reflecting renovations and remodels increases. Buildings go through hundreds if not thousands of changes. Extensions and tenant improvements generate additional documents and information which must all be stored and accessed when necessary. Simply put, over the years you gather a mountain of information.
Imagine this. When the IRS requests us to hold financial information for 7 years, we think it’s a long time. You could only imagine the amount of information which gets accumulated in buildings over 15 or 20 years. It’s no surprise that document storage rooms look the way they do.
Does Digitization of Documents help?
A few building owners have scanned and stored documents on desk top servers. While digitizing information helps save space, it won’t help you find building information in a hurry in case of an accident or an emergency. Searching for a specific drawing amongst thousands of drawings stored in folders on a desktop is arduous and time consuming.
Again, it’s no surprise that 65% of the facilities teams have building information in paper format.
What is the real problem?
Why does this happen? The real problem lies elsewhere.
There has never been a solid technology solution to store, manage and access building information until now. The key word here is ACCESS! Finding a relevant building plan was in itself considered to be a challenge. However, even if you do eventually find what you’re seeking, you still must read the plan physically to draw any information such as a shut off valve or an emergency exit location. Technology available to us today can completely make this problem go away. Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, one can extract building intelligence from building plans and deliver it through an easy-to-use facility management App on a mobile device. This is a game changer which will facilitate:
- Instant access to building information from a mobile device
- Anyone can access this information – not just facilities engineers
- Prevent small accidents or emergencies from becoming disasters
- Information can be shared with first responders instantly
- Save endless trips back and forth to plan rooms searching for information
Wasting time fruitlessly searching for information takes large chunks of time out of your days, your weeks, your months and your years. Instead, use your time wisely to plan and prepare your building for the next 5-20 years. Invest in a facility management app that will enhance your team’s resources, build your building intelligence and put the power of information you need right now onto your mobile device with the ARC Facilities mobile-first platform and App!