Technology contracting can build ‘smart’ into your buildings’ foundations

Smart buildings are not a fad; they offer proven advantage. Technology contracting, an emerging best practice for construction of facilities, literally builds ‘smart’ into the supporting infrastructure of a building.

December 6, 2011

Smart buildings are not a fad; they offer proven advantage. Technology contracting, an emerging best practice for construction of facilities, literally builds ‘smart’ into the supporting infrastructure of a building.  It’s doing away with traditional multi-contractor autonomy, centralising management and responsibility for the planning, implementation and commissioning of complex supporting systems. The benefits are considerable, says Johnson Controls Systems & Service, a leader in this sector.

“Technology contracting is a money and time saving, risk reducing option,”says Neil Cameron, General Manager: Systems & Services at Johnson Controls Africa. “It delivers truly integrated systems that allow a building to function as a single cohesive entity, maximising the benefits to be had from intelligent systems – such as – lowered cost of ownership, ease of management, minimised energy usage and emissions, and a lower carbon footprint.”

Like the architect that designs a structure with engineering, eco and aesthetic principles and purpose in mind, technology experts have an enterprise-wide perspective on technology. They also have the authority and technical expertise to make decisions and influence how the information technology network, as well as comfort, communications, life safety, asset tracking and business applications will be chosen, installed and operated.

Says Cameron: “In a traditional approach to the design and construction of a building, a number of independent consultants contribute to the creation of a building spec. This may include any number of increasingly hi-tech technologies – like CCTV, HVAC, fire alarms, lighting and electrical systems, communication and building management platforms.

“While each system may be selected on merit and fit with customer requirements, each will usually be implemented by an independent supplier; each will have its own (sometimes proprietary) operating system that will need to be upgraded; and each is likely to be maintained by a separate service provider. Without a single integrated architecture, systems are difficult to synchronise, and costs are duplicated over the lifetime of the systems.

“A technology contractor, on the other hand, provides a single source of responsibility for all supporting technology systems, can balance first and lifecycle costs, eliminate system and infrastructure duplication, converge individual systems into a technology solution, and can guide implementation to maximise efficiency and cost effectiveness.”

The result is a best-in-class integrated technology system at a lower first cost, and a more efficient long-term operation. All of this is designed to seamlessly accommodate future advancements in technology. Thus the building or project stays ahead of the technology curve, no matter what the future holds.

Technology contractors, like Johnson Controls have both the technology and industry insight and global experience to put together systems that integrate easily and can be managed centrally, deriving maximum benefit for building owners, occupants and companies.

A good example is a recent win. In June 2011 Johnson Controls was awarded two contracts totalling $168m for work on the New Doha International Airport project in Qatar. The contracts include installation of the perimeter intrusion detection systems, as well as cover the design, supply and installation of terminal operation centres and the Qatar Airways Operation Command Centre.

Says Cameron: “With convergence of technologies and communication platforms, the opportunities to improve the comfort of users, ease of management and cost equations associated with facility operation and maintenance are significant. Structure and infrastructure are melding to drive a new paradigm in building construction, enabling companies to better leverage investments in these facilities and ensure their longevity.”