Revolutionising HVAC Maintenance With Data-Driven Insights

April 27, 2022
CIM Team

HVAC maintenance may not be a topic that inspires much passion, but ignoring it can cost you. Deloitte estimates that poor maintenance strategies can reduce productive capacity by up to 20% in a manufacturing facility, and unplanned downtime costs an estimated $50 billion per year.

HVAC issues in a commercial space can be just as costly, as an uncomfortable building will quickly drive tenants out. Even a day of thermal discomfort can cause reputational damage that is difficult to erase. Tenants may decide to relocate when their lease ends, especially if the downtime was significant.

Yet despite the massive debt burden of deferred maintenance, many building owners find themselves spending so much on monthly, quarterly, and annual checks that it can be difficult to find space in the budget for repairing maintenance issues as they arise.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. Keeping your HVAC system operating at peak efficiency with automated predictive maintenance helps prevent system downtime and its associated losses.

Building analytics power a data-driven approach to maintenance that has proven to be a smarter, more efficient, and more cost-effective solution than the traditional reactive approach.

Done right, building analytics can take routine, manual maintenance tasks off your plate entirely. Instead of sending contractors to site each month to fiddle around with functioning equipment, an analytics platform can proactively identify existing issues so you know exactly what to fix. Analytics can also alert you of failing parts or systems before there’s a problem, so you can avoid downtime and maximise your contract value.

Here’s how to save money, increase efficiency, and bolster value with a data-driven approach to HVAC maintenance.

Identify the root cause before bringing contractors on-site

Building analytics technology like CIM’s PEAK platform can identify the root cause of maintenance issues as—or even before—they occur. Instead of manual checks done at scheduled intervals, the PEAK platform automatically checks your systems and components every 15 minutes to ensure optimal performance.

The end result? Less investigation time (and cost), and significantly faster issue resolution. Rather than extending tenant discomfort for hours or days while the root cause of an HVAC issue is identified, building analytics enables you to send contractors where they’re needed to repair issues right away.

Diagnostic efficiency does more than boost your bottom line, too. If site restrictions and increased health and safety measures are making it harder for contractors to carry out work on-site, you don’t have time to waste on diagnostics. Building analytics enables contractors to skip directly to the resolution step and spend their time on-site where it’s needed most.

Triage issues, streamline work orders, and close the loop with validation

Once you’ve identified HVAC issues, you need to prioritise them—and that requires data. Building analytics tools can quantify each issue’s impact in categories like cost, operational efficiency, or thermal comfort.

With the cost/benefit analysis in hand, facility managers and building owners can make quick, well-informed decisions on which work orders to raise and which to deprioritise. As a result, contractors spend time on-site only when HVAC maintenance work is required, saving contracted time for when it’s genuinely needed.

The best building analytics platforms also close the loop by validating and confirming whether an issue has been adequately resolved. You’ll be notified of any continuing issues by the platform, not by tenant complaints.

Maximise your contract value

With speedy issue identification and complete visibility into contractor activities, it’s easy to renegotiate contracts to dedicate more hours to repair activities or even reduce overall spend.

Building analytics can automate dozens of tasks. Here are just a few examples of formerly manual tasks that can be automated for chilled water plant maintenance:

  • Check performance of control loop against set points
  • Operate and confirm correct machine sequence
  • Test changeover sequences including pump/chiller fault
  • Verify lead/lag changeover
  • Check for valve close-off and free running operations of valves
  • Confirm all chiller parameters in auto mode operation
  • Tune strategies required for correct operations

Once your long routine checklists are handled by an automated system, you’ll dramatically reduce your maintenance activity.

CIM recently helped one of our major REIT clients shift toward data-driven maintenance, reducing their planned maintenance time by up to 70% across their portfolio.

Within that dramatic time savings is a massive boost to contract value. Instead of performing routine checks, contractors can put their allotted time to use where it will have the most impact: repairing identified issues, not reporting them.

For example, if your current contract includes 1,000 hours of labour, but automation now saves you 300-400 hours, you can “spend” those newfound hours on issue resolution. Effectively, you will receive more value from your contractor for the same money.

By introducing data-driven, predictive maintenance contracts with BMS contractors across your portfolio, or restructuring contracted agreements around this approach, your buildings will benefit from fewer site visits, reduced charge outs, and annual cost savings.

See how CIM’s PEAK platform can power a data-driven approach to maintenance that has proven to be a smarter, more efficient, and more cost-effective solution than the traditional reactive approach.

CIM Team
April 27, 2022
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