Buildings that last forever – is it possible?

By intouch posted 24-07-2017 17:24


Fewer things are more important to communities than the buildings within which they dwell. We naturally have an expectation that these buildings will serve us well in to the future, but how do we ensure they’re being built with that long-term view?

In a paper to be presented at the IPWEA International Public Works Conference in August, SPM Assets CEO Steve Lyons will explain why buildings require a different approach than other asset types and how some forward-thinking councils are using IPWEA’s Buildings.PLUS software to help them plan buildings that will ‘last forever’.

buildingsplusimage.png“Buildings are different to other types of infrastructure assets and they need to be treated differently,” says Lyons, whose company has been providing asset management planning solutions to local governments for 16 years. “From an asset management perspective, there might be 200 different components making up one small building, from electrical to mechanical to painting to fabric – some complex, some simple.”

When creating this asset, Lyons explains, going in with a mindset that you can make this building last forever will help to dictate the way you assess, analyse and plan for the works

“It's about strategy,” he says. “If you're thinking longer-term, then you're thinking of multiple cycles of maintenance or works. For example, if you've got an air-conditioner that might only have a 10-year life, if you're thinking only five years out then you might not even identify that as a component of the asset register. If you're thinking 30 years out, all of a sudden you're thinking of replacing that three times and [considering if] is there a way to optimise it or maintain it at a different level so you can reduce the amount of replacements from three cycles to two and, as a result of that, save a lot of money.”

Enabling councils to do this more simply and effectively than ever before, is IPWEA’s Buildings.PLUS software.

“IPWEA have about 30 councils around the country using Buildings.PLUS to assess, identify and describe the components that make up their buildings,” says Lyons. “Buildings.PLUS software goes out to a 50 or even 100 year profile, so it gives you the ability to see how many times you might need to replace that component and lets you think, is there a better way that we can maintain and operate it so it pushes it out to 15 years rather than 10? It allows councils and asset managers to work out programs or forecasts to better understand the long-term financial requirements to make their buildings more sustainable.”

One case study that Lyons will highlight is that of Ku-ring-gai Council, and he will demonstrate exactly how the council's building asset manager has been using Buildings.PLUS to better understand their buildings and to produce reports that inform their council and are making a difference in their programming and works.

“It’s great,” Lyons says. “We’re doing away with paper and spreadsheets – now we've got tablets with applications that lead them easily through the process with fully populated templates that make it so easy for them to build.”

To find out more about how Buildings.PLUS helps to create buildings that last forever, don’t miss Steve Lyons’ presentation at the IPWEA International Public Works Conference, to be held at the Perth Exhibition and Conference Centre from August 20-23



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