Last edited 29 Jan 2016

Computer aided facilities management CAFM

Contents

[edit] Introduction

Computer aided facilities management software assists facilities managers with planning, managing, reporting and tracking facilities operations. It is usually is a mixture of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and/or specific facilities management relational database software.

Facilities management software tools were first developed in the late 1980s and became popular in a variety of sectors including; healthcare, government, education, commercial organisations and industry. Many computer aided facilities management (CAFM) software solutions are now web-based and offer a wide variety of features including facilities orientated scheduling and analysis techniques.

Computer aided facilities management systems can:

  • Help facilities managers ensure organisation’s assets are fully utilised at the lowest cost, through all stages of a building’s life cycle.
  • Support the operational and strategic parts of facilities management including technical, administrative and infrastructure tasks and the strategic processes required for planning and management.

[edit] Capabilities

Computer aided facilities management systems will include a variety of functions and features which can be tailored to the exact requirements of the organisation. This might include:

  • Strategic planning: Systems can assist in determining space requirements, equipment layouts, construction costs, environmental constraints, and other critical planning functions.
  • Space inventory and organisation: Space attributes and elements can be defined and standardised and asset inventories prepared including; floor plans, locations, dimensions, cost, usage, energy consumption, age, construction data, important contact details, key pieces of equipment and essential infrastructure, fire and safety properties and so on.
  • Operations: Building services can be monitored and managed.
  • Maintenance and repairs: Routine repairs and preventive maintenance operations can be scheduled and monitored.
  • Forecasting: It is possible to predict future requirements for space, utilities, equipment and so on, and to cost and plan changes.

[edit] Integrated computer aided facilities management systems

Integrated CAFM systems have intelligent interfaces, along with advanced functionalities and links to analysis packages. Features common to most integrated CAFM systems include:

  • Interactive databases: Relational databases that focus on the functional requirements of facility managers.
  • Interactive graphics: Allowing for basic alterations to layouts, plans or other visual documents with most having standard CAD engines.
  • Data management tools: It is possible for systems to use existing data and to export useful information.

Increasingly, CAFM systems include or are linked to building information models (or asset information models). BIM can provide a fully-populated asset data set to feed into CAFM systems and modelling to enable planning modifications. This data need to be maintained throughout the building lifecycle.

The introduction of Project & Life Cycle Management Systems should ensure that existing CAFM systems do not become redundant but rather that facilities managers benefit from:

  • Early project engagement.
  • Making their contribution towards materials and products used, rather than allowing procurement to make that decision.
  • Enhanced asset intelligence through the use of integrated Product Information Portals.
  • Smarter assets.
  • Cross fertilisation of information across disciplines.
  • A single version of the ‘truth’.
  • Starting to understand the performance of the project pre-handover.
  • Understanding the intended operation of the project for maximum efficiency.
  • Integrated links to existing CAFM and external systems.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.