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Developers, builders eye higher RoI, sustainable future

Developers, builders eye higher RoI, sustainable future

Khaleej Times, 16 April, 2019

The UAE’s real estate sector has witnessed massive growth over the years and this rapid development has called for adoption of latest technologies that will help the builders, developers to minimise the cost and optimise the returns. The call now is urged at the design phase itself so the right planning can help avoid wasting of resources and manifest in higher Return on Investment (ROI) building sustainable future.

With nearly 80 per cent of a buildings lifecycle cost spent after its construction on maintaining it, it is crucial for developers to start engaging with software-led building automation systems right from the onset of the design phase. This will help embed everyday efficiencies in daily operations while enabling multi-fold benefits by unifying and optimising the core components of a building – people, assets and sustainability.

How can help developers remain competitive? “Any saving is an edge and makes you more competitive. However there is no saving without a great customer experience. And this is where technology helps – allowing you to bridge these two requirements. The multifold operational efficiencies of software led technologies that leverage automation in buildings include cost and energy savings, while real-time data led decision making means enhanced tenant comfort and experience, all adding up to higher competitiveness,” said Andrea Deutschbein, director Facilities Management SFM, Emaar Malls Group. 

“The commercial real estate sector can see immediate benefits of using software tech. We used specific sensor data to optimise our soft services planning and this delivered substantial benefits in the form of cost savings. Additionally, we could share these data insights with our business and marketing teams as well to help them with their strategic planning. For example, capturing data that tells us the frequency of use of an escalator not only helps us become predictive in optimising our time and manpower planning to service those escalators, but the same data also helps our business teams to think of ways to activate the dead-zones with low footfall. So there are manifold benefits of adopting modern software led technologies to leverage automation in buildings, as not only hard services, but even soft services can be optimised by using software solutions that help data driven real-time decision making.”

With growing competition in the built environment, experience defines and differentiates everything. Plus there is increasing pressure to demonstrate ROI, higher profits and minimised costs, while remaining sustainable and energy efficient. In the built environment, operational efficiency equals all of the above. 

Facilio, a US and UAE based innovative proptech start-up, recently hosted Future Proof, a conference that brought together industry leaders from across the buildings ecosystem to discuss how technology is disrupting the way built environments are managed and operated.

Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder & CEO, Facilio Inc, said: “While technology has been the forbearer of disruption and efficiencies in nearly every industry across the world, the buildings industry has remained a passive spectator, adopting minimal and largely hardware-centric automation. However for developers to cater to a changing customer that is driven by service-led experiences and demands real-time responsiveness, and also balance growing concerns around ROI, sustainability and retrofits, software-led Building Management System (BMS) is the solution.” Where legacy BMS are cost, labour and time intensive, an AI & IoT-led BMS can enable rapid digital retrofits by easily integrating with existing systems, optimising efficiencies immediately and revamping old building stock to a smart and intelligent avatar. That’s a huge saving of cost and time. 

With new construction, embedding these technologies from the start can help commercial real estate developers prepare new building stock for the predictive, real-time, experience-led era of smart buildings.  This will help them grow margins from the very beginning by realising considerable savings on time and money through efficient operations, as a predictive model replaces reactive/preventive maintenance. Additionally, it will help Commercial Real Estate (CRE) owners to move beyond a focus on cost reduction to focus on value-creation and value-addition, from the pre-construction phase itself. And this shift will enable better tenant relationships, creating positive building perceptions, which will further enhance ROI. 

Suhas Inamdar, Head of Technical Support & Planning, Asset Management Services & Solutions, Al Wasl Properties, said: “The developers can reap sustainable mid-term and long-term benefits, when they incorporate new technology in their projects. The tangible and intangible benefits accrued far outweigh the initial marginal overspend. The BMS, which ruled the real estate sector during last two decades, is being phased out gradually paving the way for IoT. For the next few years, IoT is going to vastly expand beyond the conventional domain of energy savings, to positively influence the customer experience, re-define maintenance strategies, enhance operational efficiencies and aid in better device management. In short, the human imagination shall be the only limiting factor, while determine the infinite capabilities of IoT.”

Further Inamdar explained, application of right technology almost always results in lower operational costs, while providing optimum customer happiness. Every technological invention is aimed at making the lives of the occupants better, safer, and superior than the status quo. The builders can adopt right technology to boost its market appeal, attract the customers from appropriate segment of the society, contribute in protecting the environment by being socially responsible and more importantly, add to the bottom-line due to increased turnover as well as margins.   

 Endorsing the similar view, Fahad Mohamed, director – FM, Deyaar, said: “Developers are trend setters and providing a good product to its end users is what sets them apart from their competition. Being able to design and built efficient projects does add a lot of value post handover and this is where the end users as well as the building managers feel the benefit.  It is the key responsibility to the developer or the consultant to understand the end result or the operating philosophy so that the product selection and design can be aligned accordingly. A well designed and executed software-led system supports the landlord of the building to achieve effective energy management and improve operational efficiency by increasing asset life and reduced down time.” 

Mohamed, further said: “Technology and digitisation such as BIM modelling can support the developers to be more efficient during the construction and post construction phase. This provides the possibility to limit cost overrun and rework. Also the learnings from the completed projects can be recorded and improvements based on this can be used for new projects. Thus optimisation of the construction cost using such technology can help the developer remain more competitive.” – sandhya@khaleejtimes.com