What is it about?

Managing information is a challenge for building operators and is the cause of great inefficiency in the built environment. We interview facilities experts from a broad set of real estate sectors and rank their priorities in terms of the drivers, challenges and opportunities around 'information management'. The findings suggest pathways towards improving systemic communication issues which was the leading concern of the cohort, and will guide our future work in life cycle information management.

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Why is it important?

The built environment accounts for around 40% of energy usage globally, a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (UN IEA 2017). The focus in environmental betterment to-date has concentrated on efficiency in design and construction, however, it has become recently apparent that buildings actually consume around 70% of their energy and resources during their operational phase (Geekiyanage & Ramachandra 2018), ie. while the building is being used. This means that 'operating' buildings more effectively is a key strategy for environmental protection.

Perspectives

This thematic encoding methodology I believe to be a very effective exploratory approach and scale for applied sciences such as engineering. Ethnographic analysis is lacking in the domain and can provide great insight and nuance within technical research. For example, this work showed us that practitioners are more concerned about systemic challenges around areas such as; the breadth of their role and scope, misaligned organisational objectives and lacking interdisciplinary communication, rather than technology and software. This insight helps us to guide effective future research endeavours and can suggest possible avenues for further study to others.

Conor Shaw
University College Dublin

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This page is a summary of: Information management in the facilities domain: investigating practitioner priorities, Facilities, August 2022, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/f-02-2022-0033.
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