skip to Main Content
Digital Facilities Management

Digital Facilities Management

What does the future hold for Facilities Management (FM)?

I don’t know, but I am sure it is going to be digital. Several digital technologies are moving towards mainstream and will impact how buildings are designed, constructed and managed.

Currently, there is little connection between the design & construction team and the FM team. Contractually, all incentives promote, minimum compliance at best and zero involvement following the 12 months defect, liability period. This is a hard truth the property industry does not like to acknowledge.

There are some initiatives trying to address this lack of connection such as the UK Soft Landings framework but, it is really a fantasy, because construction contracts do not extend beyond the defects liability period. However, this is another talk show.

What problems do FM teams confront when taking on a new building? In my experience:

  • Lack of accurate As Built drawings and O&M manuals.
  • Missing equipment & tagging and no asset registers.
  • Low to zero visibility on building and systems performance.

In short, information assets are missing, inaccurate and often analogue, not digital.

What emergent digital technologies are there that will impact FM? How about:

  • Building Digital Twins
  • Blockchain
  • NFT’s
  • IoT & 5G

Building Digital Twins

A digital twin is the process of creating one digital version of a physical asset. This enables the FM team to manage a building via a digital building model populated with digital twins of physical assets (systems, plant & equipment) within the building all connected to sensors and monitoring equipment providing real time operational data.

Source / Credit:

Generally, establishing digital versions of physical assets consists of:

  • Building a digital model of the physical asset.
  • Installing / connecting to digital sensors and controls.
  • Recognizing the physical asset with IoT.
  • Analyzing digital twin data with the blockchain as a trustable protocol.
  • Utilizing a big data approach to store building data.
  • Using machine learning to analyze building data.
  • Developing algorithms based on insights from data analysis to manage and tune building performance.

This approach enables:

  • Real time operational decisions based on actual demand.
  • Rights sized maintenance and capital spending based on data analysis from operations.
  • Reduced latency of response to issues.
  • Accountability via evidence.


Blockchain is a shared, immutable, open source, distributed digital ledger for recording transactions and tracking assets. The innovation of blockchain is that it guarantees in a verifiable way, the fidelity and security of a record and generates trust without the need for a trusted third party.

There is a lot of conflict in contracting due to highly variable competence levels plus a general lack of trust. When blockchain technologies and smart contracts are adopted, competence plus deliverables can be verified and recorded on a distributed ledger and payment via smart contracts initiated. IMHO, this will effectively digitize the quantity surveying and project management professions.

Non Fungible Tokens (NFT’s)

NFTs are cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other. Tokenization of physical assets in digital format is effectively the creation of a non fungible digital twin.

A great example of this would be the tokenization of As Built drawings. Issuing final As Built drawings as NFT”S would ensure the following:

  • Establish the drawing as an immutable record.
  • Provide clear information on ownership and copyright.
  • Enable copies to be made that do not devalue the original.
  • Prevent fraud.

Internet of Things (IoT) & 5G

IoT plus high speed, low latency internet is the connective tissue that makes all the above possible. The technology for this is growing exponentially.

Source / Credit:

Source / Credit:

What are the barriers to all this?

There are several, including:

  • Pace of technology adoption.
  • Required upskilling.
  • Availability of skilled people.
  • Cost.
  • Few precedents for who owns and monetizes the large amounts of data that will be produced.

In my experience, barriers do not prevent change they just effect the speed of change. Change is IMHO, inevitable.

Future Visibility for Owners on Building Performance

Bringing all this together, I believe the future of Facilities Management is digital and evidence based with data flows as shown in the image below.

Source / Credit: Building Whisperer ©2022

The “Golden Thread”

The UK’s concept of the “Golden Thread”, is a great way to conceptualize building information assets and operational data. The golden thread is both:

  • The information about a building that allows someone to understand a building and keep it safe.
  • The information management to ensure the information is accurate, easily understandable, can be accessed by those who need it and is up to date.

The concept of the “Golden Thread” together with digital twins bridges the gaps between construction teams and the facilities manager.

The biggest challenge when developing a building digital twin may be gathering all the “As-Built” building information assets and building data. DCM, the Drawing Specialists can handle this for you.

Digital FM starts with auditing and digitizing all your facilities drawings. You can do this with EASE with DCM. Layer your master drawings into one operational baseline drawing per discipline, then reap the benefits of finding the correct drawings and information in seconds.

Download a free eBook and discover why baselines are a better way to manage your drawings

Get a digital drawing management strategy from DCM Inc, The Drawings Specialists.



DCM Inc Advisor

#drawings #drawingsfound #echoknowsyourbuilding #DCM #FM #singlesourceoftruth #goldenthread #smartFM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top