Property & Asset Management – IT TWO WAYS: Susan Feltaous & Carolyn Trickett [PART I]

IT Two Ways was by far the most interesting area visited over the past few weeks. For clarity sake, this post will comprise of two parts;

  • Part I – Systems That Make Buildings Work, and
  • Part II – What We Do With The Data From Those Systems.

If you can’t be bothered reading any further, I will summarise this for you; the building scene has changed dramatically over the past decade.

Week4_Susan_Blog_4Previously, we would construct say for instance, a high rise in the CBD and after construction, walk away quite literally (maybe there are some obligations in the form of statutory/contractual warranties). No strings attached, unless you screwed up of course!

Nowadays, we no longer see buildings as an inanimate object but as a breathing, living, energy consuming, waste excreting organism. Because let’s face it, it does what any living organism would do, which brings us to the question as to why don’t we monitor it for its different attributes and behaviours and see how we can make it better.

Week4_Susan_Blog_5This view on buildings isn’t new, so no I’m not the genius that came up with this idea. The reason why I think it’s taken so long for us to seriously pursue this road really boils down to one thing; lack of profit incentives. Think about it, wind back 10 years how much were electricity & water prices? How much are they now? 10 years ago, sure we could have implemented just as many strategies which would similarly improve building performance but so what? The up-front costs Landlords needed to fork out could not be justified by the energy savings.

‘Nothing changes for the better unless it has to’ (You can quote me on that)

Times Are Changing

The typical office building/high-rise was all about functionality and skimping as much as possible on construction costs. It made sense, why would a tenant want to rent your office space for ‘X’ amount when another office space, which offers the same functionality but only at a fraction of ‘X’. By function I mean air-conditioning, BMS, fire protection, lifts etc…just building components you will find in any office construction.

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The office building/high-rise we are aiming for now must be high performance and no longer purely about functionality. It’s about energy efficiency, vernacular design and streamlining building components to perform at its absolute maximum whilst expending the least amount of energy.

Why this sudden change? Because it’s a win, win, win, and win. With electricity & water bills rising rapidly, and the government recognising the need for us to slow down on our consumption of our already depleted non-renewable resources, it suddenly became the best interests for landlords, tenants, and the environment.

Note: I think it’s more in the best interests for landlords because the only way to increase profit margins in an environment where utility prices are always rising is the find more energy efficient ways to operate their assets.

The increased demand by tenants, landlords as well as government regulations have pushed IT into the driving seat with developing and implementing high performance buildings. This in turn pushes IT to further develop itself so it can monitor and control these ever improving building performance strategies.

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In a bid to force more building system upgrades, the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 was created so that commercial office spaces over 2000m2 requires energy efficient information to be disclosed to potential buyers and tenants. The office space also had to be 75% full to be eligible for assessment, which begs the questions; What if the office space is quite energy efficient but does not have 75% occupancy? Does that mean they are ineligible for assessment and therefore sale or lease? Susan stated that this issue is still under negotiation, so nothing definitive at the moment. 


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