How well do you know your building? An introduction to the risks in your system

by FM Media
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Engineer in Grosvenor uniform performing an audit

New connectivity introduced by the digitisation of the built environment brings new challenges. Do you have the right information and insight about the assets and systems that occupy your building?

The built environment has changed. Maintenance, engineering, construction – all of it is bound together through systems that are, in turn, connected to the internet. Operational technical assets are linked with IT assets. All this connectivity brings different kinds of challenges.

The buildings of not-very-long-ago were entirely solid entities – bricks and mortar, steel and wood, concrete and glass. You could see and touch most of it. But those are not the buildings we’re dealing with today, even if they appear so to the naked eye.

Behind, above and below the traditional building structure are a host of assets that are out of sight, out of mind. Some may even exist without your knowledge. Hard technical assets are often hidden in out-of-the-way places like plants rooms, alleyways and wall cavities. And virtual services are even less visible. But don’t let the word ‘virtual’ fool you into underestimating just how real those assets are.

Your building management systems are linked to your virtual networks. Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, point-of-sale systems, fire and access control systems, media screens and web applications can all be access points to each other and various parts of your building management systems. Furthermore, they’re often set up, run and maintained by different contractors, each with their own security protocols (or lack thereof) and remote access.

Do you really have the appropriate information and insights about the hard technical and OT assets that occupy your built environment? Who’s responsible for identifying outstanding maintenance and repairs, and proactively identifying critical upgrades? How are they linked, how do humans interact with them, and where are the possible security gaps throughout your asset network?

In order to understand your risk profile and plan for future asset management implementation strategies, you will need a comprehensive audit. This is the first step in the process, arming you with an inventory and baseline data on all your hard technical and virtual assets and services within the built environment. It’s the only way to ensure that your short- and long-term capital and operational expenditure forecasts are based on fact, rather than guesswork. This will allow you to better manage your assets, compliance, safety, risk, and reliability, given that much of what needs to be managed is not visible.

What you don’t know can hurt you

The only way to make efficient expenditure decisions is to be informed: know what risks you are carrying, decide what you are prepared to accept, and mitigate against what you’re not. This is a proactive approach to building management.

In the same way that we regularly update and perform preventative maintenance on visible parts of a building, doing the same behind the scenes has significant demonstrable benefits, enhancing the value of property portfolios by making buildings safer, more productive, more energy efficient, more sustainable and more comfortable for tenants.

There are very strict codes and standards that must be adhered to when it comes to building management systems (BMS), HVAC, fire, electrical, plumbing, transportation systems, solar, safety services, refrigeration and building fabric. The property industry is well versed on these requirements. We understand the consequences when it’s not done well. And we cannot afford to be reactive. Ensuring we know exactly what’s going on requires the kind of expertise and experience that our subject matter experts at Grosvenor Engineering Group apply to their inspection of your built environment.

On top of these traditional systems, there are many more that you may not know you have (for example, surveillance systems and people counters embedded in the ceiling).

Through a detailed audit of the hard technical and OT assets and services within the built environment, an asset risk profile can be applied to all assets. Comprehensively interpreting the information from the completed audit will highlight possible failure points, identify where opportunities may exist to improve productivity, and decrease costs such as maintenance, energy and insurance.

Furthermore, this enhanced knowledge will allow for more accurate capital expenditure replacement forecasting, critical upgrades (outdated/inefficient technology) and reinstatement costs to allow for more accurate budgeting to increase efficiency and productivity.

For more information about Grosvenor Engineering‘s strategic audit and management services, contact 1300 255 247 or visit


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