Condition-Based Maintenance for Commercial Buildings: Unlock High Performance and Occupant Experience

Published on 20 Jul, 2023
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Commercial buildings and facilities make up a sizeable portion of the world's built environment, comprising countless offices, hotels, retail stores, restaurants, warehouses, and more. 

  • According to a survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 5.9 million commercial buildings in the U.S. contained 97 billion square feet of floor space in 2018—an increase of 56% in number of buildings and 89% in floor space since 1979.
  • By 2050, commercial building floor space is expected to reach 124.6 billion square feet, a 35% increase from 2021, according to U.S. EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2022.

Ensuring the smooth operation and longevity of commercial buildings is already a challenging task that requires proactive maintenance, asset optimization and performance management. Traditional maintenance strategies often rely on scheduled inspections or reactive repairs, which can be costly, time-consuming, and often inefficient. A rapidly growing commercial real estate industry along with the already existing stock of buildings will put further pressure on asset managers and maintenance teams.

What if there was a smarter and more efficient way to keep commercial buildings in optimal condition?

Enter condition-based maintenance (CBM), a groundbreaking approach that leverages advanced technologies and real-time data analysis to transform the way we manage and maintain assets in commercial buildings. With its increasing adoption and remarkable growth in recent years, condition-based maintenance is revolutionizing the industry and providing numerous benefits to building owners, facility managers, and tenants alike.

In this article, we'll explore the relevance of condition-based maintenance in commercial buildings, key technologies used, and how to ensure its successful implementation, starting with its definition and benefits.

What is Condition-Based Maintenance?

Condition-based maintenance is a proactive approach to maintenance that relies on real-time data and analysis to determine the condition of assets and perform maintenance activities accordingly. Instead of adhering to fixed schedules, CBM monitors the actual performance and health of assets, allowing for targeted maintenance interventions when needed. By leveraging data-driven insights, CRE property owners and managers can optimize maintenance efforts, reduce costs, and enhance overall asset performance.

What are the Benefits of Condition-Based Maintenance for Commercial Buildings?

Condition-based maintenance offers several benefits for commercial buildings, ensuring better outcomes for both property owners and tenants.

Increased Asset Lifespan: 

By identifying and addressing maintenance needs promptly, CBM helps prolong the lifespan of critical assets, such as HVAC systems, elevators, and electrical components. Regular monitoring and targeted interventions minimize wear and tear, reducing the likelihood of major breakdowns or premature asset replacement.

Cost Savings: 

Traditional maintenance approaches often result in unnecessary or premature maintenance activities. With CBM, maintenance efforts are focused on assets that actually require attention, optimizing resource allocation and reducing overall maintenance costs. Additionally, by addressing issues proactively, CBM helps prevent costly emergency repairs and downtime.

Enhanced Efficiency: 

CBM enables more efficient resource utilization by identifying maintenance needs precisely. This reduces the time and effort spent on routine inspections and maintenance tasks for assets that are operating optimally. By focusing on assets with real issues, maintenance teams can prioritize their efforts, maximizing efficiency and productivity.

Improved Tenant Satisfaction: 

Well-maintained properties contribute to tenant satisfaction and retention. CBM ensures that assets crucial to tenant comfort and operational efficiency, such as heating, ventilation, and lighting systems, are functioning at their best. Minimizing disruptions, optimizing performance, and addressing maintenance issues promptly result in happier tenants and stronger tenant relationships.

Minimized Downtime:

Addressing maintenance needs promptly reduces the chances of unexpected breakdowns and minimizes asset downtime. Tenants benefit from uninterrupted operations, leading to higher satisfaction and tenant retention.

Implementing Condition-Based Maintenance in Commercial Buildings

To implement CBM successfully in CRE properties, a structured approach is essential. The following steps outline the key components of a CBM implementation strategy:

Data Collection and Monitoring

CBM relies on the collection of accurate and reliable data about asset conditions. This data can be collected through various means, such as sensors, monitoring devices, or building management systems. The data collected should be comprehensive and cover relevant parameters to enable effective analysis and decision-making.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

The collected data needs to be analyzed and interpreted to gain actionable insights. Advanced analytics and machine learning techniques can help identify patterns, anomalies, or early warning signs of potential asset failures. This analysis enables informed decision-making regarding maintenance interventions and resource allocation.

Predictive Maintenance Strategies

Based on the analysis of data, predictive maintenance strategies can be developed. These strategies involve scheduling maintenance activities based on asset conditions and predicted failure probabilities. By addressing maintenance needs proactively, CRE property owners can optimize resource allocation, reduce costs, and minimize disruptions.

Key Technologies Used in Condition-Based Maintenance

Several technologies play a vital role in enabling effective CBM implementation in CRE properties. These technologies include:

Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT enables the connectivity and communication of devices and sensors in CRE properties. IoT devices can collect and transmit real-time data on asset conditions, enabling continuous monitoring and analysis. This data provides the foundation for CBM strategies, helping CRE property owners make informed maintenance decisions.

Sensors and Monitoring Devices

Sensors and monitoring devices are integral components of CBM systems. They can be installed on assets to collect data on various parameters such as temperature, vibration, humidity, or energy consumption. These devices provide real-time insights into asset conditions, enabling timely maintenance interventions.

Data Analytics and Machine Learning

Data analytics and machine learning techniques are crucial for processing and analyzing the vast amounts of data collected in CBM systems. These technologies help identify patterns, anomalies, and correlations in data, enabling predictive maintenance strategies. Advanced analytics also facilitate continuous improvement by learning from historical data and refining maintenance algorithms.

Challenges and Considerations in Implementing Condition-Based Maintenance

While CBM offers numerous benefits, there are challenges and considerations that need to be addressed for successful implementation:

Initial Investment and Integration

Implementing CBM requires an initial investment in technologies, infrastructure, and training. CRE property owners need to carefully assess the costs and benefits associated with CBM and develop a realistic implementation plan. Integration of CBM systems with existing infrastructure and building management systems may also pose technical challenges that need to be overcome.

Data Security and Privacy

CBM involves the collection and analysis of sensitive data related to asset conditions and performance. CRE property owners need to prioritize data security and privacy to ensure compliance with regulations and protect the interests of tenants. Robust cybersecurity measures, data encryption, and access controls should be implemented to safeguard the integrity and confidentiality of the data.

Staff Training and Skill Development

Implementing CBM requires a workforce equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to operate and maintain the system effectively. Staff members need to be trained on the operation of monitoring devices, data analysis techniques, and maintenance strategies. Investing in ongoing training and skill development programs ensures that the CBM system is utilized to its full potential.

Case Studies: Successful Implementation of CBM in CRE Properties

Energy Management Systems

Implementing CBM in energy management systems has helped CRE property owners optimize energy consumption, reduce costs, and enhance sustainability. Real-time data on energy usage, temperature, and humidity can be used to identify energy inefficiencies, detect faults, and optimize system performance.

HVAC Systems

CBM has proven to be highly beneficial for HVAC systems in CRE properties. Continuous monitoring of key parameters such as temperature, airflow, and refrigerant levels enables proactive maintenance interventions. This approach ensures optimal system performance, energy efficiency, and tenant comfort.

Elevators and Escalators

Elevators and escalators are critical assets in CRE properties, and their reliable operation is crucial for tenant satisfaction and safety. CBM allows for real-time monitoring of key parameters such as speed, vibrations, and door operations. Early detection of anomalies or potential failures enables timely maintenance actions, minimizing downtime and disruptions.

Condition-Based Maintenance: Future Trends and Opportunities

CBM for CRE properties is an evolving field with several trends and opportunities arising now and into the future:

Advancements in Predictive Analytics

Advancements in predictive analytics will further enhance the accuracy and reliability of CBM systems. Machine learning algorithms will continue to improve, enabling more precise predictions of asset failures and performance degradation. This will help optimize maintenance strategies and resource allocation.

Integration with Building Management Systems

The integration of CBM systems with building management systems will become more seamless. Data collected from CBM systems can be integrated with other building data, such as occupancy patterns, energy consumption, and tenant feedback. This holistic view will enable more comprehensive maintenance strategies and improve overall building performance.

Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

CBM can play a significant role in enhancing sustainability and energy efficiency in CRE properties. By continuously monitoring asset conditions and performance, energy wastage can be minimized, and energy-efficient practices can be implemented. This will contribute to reducing carbon footprints and aligning with sustainable building practices.

Power your CBM Strategy with Xempla to Minimize Cost and Deliver Enhanced Occupant Experience

Start fast and make the most of your existing systems

With Xempla, you can leverage operational data from your existing building management systems and discover new ways to unlock efficiency, starting with a CBM strategy focused on your non-critical assets.

Assess asset conditions with increased accuracy

Connect IoT data from mission-critical assets with Xempla and gather real-time information on asset conditions like pressure, temperature and vibration for better health assessment and increased accuracy of maintenance activity.

Set customized workflows to best suit your CBM strategy

You can either select existing workflows from Xempla’s in-built library or create unique workflows tailored to your needs with zero coding-dependency to begin your CBM programs with minimum hassle and maximum efficiency.

Get proactive and save valuable time

Connect with Slack, Teams, WhatsApp or Email to receive notifications the way you want and save valuable time using platforms you’re already familiar with. No need to switch to an entirely new way of working.

Improve decision making and deliver lasting impact

Bring your teams, tools and resources together to investigate, drill down to the bottom of problems and understand what needs to be done. Make an impact with each intervention and drive better decisions with Xempla’s on-demand assistance features.

Frequently Asked Questions About Condition-Based Maintenance

1. What is the difference between preventive maintenance and condition-based maintenance?

Preventive maintenance involves performing routine maintenance activities based on predetermined schedules, regardless of asset conditions. Condition-based maintenance, on the other hand, relies on real-time data and analytics to determine maintenance needs based on asset conditions. CBM is a more proactive approach that optimizes maintenance interventions and reduces costs.

2. How often should condition monitoring be performed?

The frequency of condition monitoring depends on several factors, such as the criticality of the asset, its operating conditions, and historical performance data. Generally, condition monitoring should be performed regularly, with intervals determined based on asset-specific requirements and industry best practices.

3. What are some common challenges in implementing CBM for CRE properties?

Common challenges in implementing CBM for CRE properties include the initial investment required, integration with existing infrastructure, ensuring data security and privacy, and staff training and skill development. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, effective change management, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

4. Can CBM be applied to older buildings?

Yes, CBM can be applied to older buildings. While retrofitting older buildings with monitoring devices and sensors may present some challenges, it is still possible to implement CBM effectively. The key is to assess the specific needs and constraints of the building and tailor the CBM approach accordingly.

5. How can I get started with implementing CBM for my CRE property?

To get started with implementing CBM for your CRE property, it is important to first assess your maintenance needs, evaluate the potential benefits, and develop an implementation plan. Identify key assets that would benefit from CBM and consider the necessary technologies, data collection methods, and analytics tools. Engage with experts and vendors who specialize in CBM to guide you through the process and ensure a successful implementation.