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About the Author: Sasha Reed has 10 years of experience working directly in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) market, with over 15 years of experience in Customer Relations. As the Director of Strategic Alliances at Bluebeam Software, Sasha interacts with AEC industry leaders to better understand the long range goals of the industry and to help guide Bluebeam’s technology development. Drawing on this real world experience, Sasha has spoken at numerous industry events including the American Institute of Architects’ DesignDC Conference, American Institute of Architects California Council’s Monterey Design Conference, Construct Canada, NTI Danish BIM Conference and the Associated Builders & Contractors EdCon & Expo, the International Highway Engineering Exchange Program and the International Facilities Maintenance Association Conference.  Before Bluebeam, Sasha was a Project Manager for M3, a Herman Miller dealer, where she learned firsthand the everyday challenges that the AEC industry faces, from project conception to completion.

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Fluor defines the future 7D deliverable without losing sight of real results today

Photo: courtesy National Institute of Building Sciences
Photo: courtesy National Institute of Building Sciences
March 20, 2014

In order to keep my finger on the pulse of the needs of AECO leaders, I attend a good deal of conferences. Many of these conferences cover a variety of topics focused on evolving the design and building process. Topics typically cover technical solutions, process implementations, and standardization means and methods.

Oftentimes, the presenter’s goals are a bit lofty and demand multi-phase approaches to bring about tangible change. That’s why a recent keynote given by Robert Prieto, Senior Vice President of Fluor, was rather refreshing. 

Presenting at the Building Innovation 2014 – The National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference, Prieto introduced a rather challenging topic, “Life-Cycle Analysis – A 7D Future.” Based on the title alone, it was quite clear that we were in for a mind-expanding keynote, and I was ready to take copious notes. 

However, he surprised all of us by starting out his presentation with a simple story. This story illustrated a concept that seemed almost counterintuitive to the event itself. It reminded us that sometimes it’s the simplest details that can bring about real results today—and we shouldn’t overlook them, even as we push to change the future state of project facilitation. As Prieto told this story, I knew I had to blog about it and share it with you. 

A few years ago, IBM awarded Fluor with a facilities management contract for a small portion of its data centers. The contract required Fluor to provide ongoing operations and maintenance, space management, health and safety, landscape and grounds, janitorial, and other facility management services. 

After the first year or two of the contract, IBM reached out to Fluor to share some impressive results. Turns out, the data centers that Fluor managed had reported a fairly significant savings in overall energy costs. IBM, of course, wanted to understand what Fluor was specifically doing to create these savings. The answer from Fluor was a candid, "We’re not sure."  

Fluor quickly launched an investigation into their processes to better understand the drivers behind these cost savings. They evaluated all of their processes and systems and then analyzed the results. What they came to discover was that the answer was not found in their sophisticated FM system, but rather in a simple maintenance list. When they compared their maintenance list against IBM’s, there was one item Fluor had that IBM did not. 

Each of the data centers had a white roof, designed to deflect sunlight off of the roof and keep out the heat. Fluor had a line item on their maintenance list to wash the roofs once a month; IBM’s did not. 

This seemingly simple task list item had a measurable effect on the energy costs of the building. IBM went on to award them 150 other data centers, then 300 more in 2010. 

His point in telling us this story was to remind all of us that there may be simple solutions we can implement today to achieve the results we’re focused on for tomorrow. 

Which leads me to ask you: Are there similar experiences you’ve had, implementing a simple change that was the driver for real results outside of the greater objective for large-scale change?

Editor's note: This is sponsored content. The text and image were provided by the sponsor company. 


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