Operation and Maintenance
Building operation and maintenance is increasingly a hot topic. As building owners begin to think about their buildings as assets, they are starting to understand that the resilience of their buildings impacts on their resilience as a business. And this is where offsite methods can really shine.
There are clear lifecycle benefits. Firstly, offsite manufacture takes place in weather-tight factory conditions using people who are specially trained to do specific jobs, and is rigorously tested. This undoubtedly increases the consistency and quality in comparison to construction work produced on conventional sites open to the elements.
“..with offsite manufacture, we know all there is to know about each element even before it hits the site”
Since the connections that are needed between offsite components are very simple, the built result should be much more resilient and predictable than if it was made using conventional building methods. It really is like fitting together a big Meccano set, whether it’s 6 x 6m ceiling panels with embedded light fittings, lengths of piping up to 12m long, or modularized plant wheeled in on skids.
Secondly, offsite gives increased opportunities for standardization, which has massive advantages for maintenance and operations.
Knowledge is the key. And with offsite manufacture, we know all there is to know about each element even before it hits the site, including crucial information such as expected performance and lifespan. This feeds into the building asset’s information resource to help the maintenance team know exactly how to get the best out of the components or services, and what labour force they will need to look after them.
And importantly, offsite in no way compromises our ability to create smart buildings to assist how the buildings run. This is a great advantage for the maintenance team since they will be able to use this data to anticipate what needs fixing before it has actually failed.
With offsite construction still relatively young, it’s too soon to quantify what impact it will have on building operation or lifespan. But there really is no need for it to shorten the lifecycle of any building system or component. If anything, the effect should be quite the opposite, thanks to the tried and tested manufacturing process.
Some clients and contractors do still need convincing. But this should swiftly change as knowledge improves and building owners really begin to reap the operational benefits of offsite for themselves.
Interested in talking to us about using offsite in your next project?