Begin with the End

Antiquated business practices and procurement methods long have led to deferral of the conversation about energy management until the final stages of construction, when it can become prohibitively expensive.

One challenge to overcoming this that we have experienced is that the goals and objectives of our customers vary, as does the timing when they begin to think about optimizing design and systems to maximize facilities and operations efficiency. This lack of an established timeframe and protocol to discuss BIM within an MSI strategy means that the cost of achieving some later-realized goals inevitably increases.

As engineering and construction services providers, our professions have the opportunity to lead owners to an understanding of how the use of a BIM with an MIS strategy can reduce facilities cost for the lifecycle. But to do so means that we have to begin our construction projects with the “end in mind,” to quote efficiency expert and best-selling author Stephen Covey. It may seem like common sense, but if we BIM experts are not asking our customers to think about what they ultimately want to achieve in terms of lifecycle facility efficiency before setting out on a pre-construction path, we are not helping them be as efficient and effective as they need to be in today’s tight economy.

The role of the electrical contractor in planning for energy management is crucial. As the construction team member familiar with electrical systems, building models, and the evolving technologies of operational and environmental controls, electrical contractors like Cupertino Electric can work with customers to identify how to add more value when it comes to energy management, monitoring and targeting. For example, our company is exploring an open software system that integrates with major system suppliers and provides low-cost data points (SmartMeters or Current Transformers installed to monitor the energy usage of electrical equipment) that are rolled out as the project is turned over to an owner.

Lower cost means faster payback, and with a rapid payback schedule and easy-to-use online interface, today’s master systems integration offerings can enable facilities and operations managers to chart, manage and realize the aggressive energy goals set by environmentally-conscious owners.

Today’s challenge is not in identifying an energy solution; it is in communicating the value proposition to the customer at the right time during the planning and construction phases to maximize results and meet increasingly important energy goals.

If we realign the initial construction plan to encompass practical BIM benefits, along with a plan for future Master System Integration, we will see a dramatic reduction of lifecycle costs, improved building control and better options for future expansion or modification.

And by integrating the BIM and MSI into a construction deliverable that will significantly reduce cost over the lifecycle, we will find owners to be willing to fund the integrated BIM and MSI models that we need to take full advantage of these excellent technologies.