8 December 2016 | Simon Francis
The start of another academic year announced its presence through the usual crush of students finding their way around campus and the increased frequency of my phone's email audio alert.
This year has started busier than ever, particularly as our induction fortnight was condensed into a week. And we are focused on some exciting developments.
My team's attention is turning to planning for the significant new development due to take place at the heart of our estate. Capitalising on the changing fortunes of the Elephant and Castle and the steady march of the City of London down Blackfriars Road, plans are afoot to design and build a new, multi-building central space.
The requirement for BIM as part of this project has given us the impetus to start developing our strategy to deliver a smart campus and a more fully integrated approach to CAFM. We are particularly focused on using new technology to allow us to better manage space through the use of linked smart sensors. We aim to link our timetabling system to our CAFM system so as to better match space to teaching requirements.
We have undertaken research visits to other universities and spoken to multiple experts, consultants and architects to prepare for our foray into BIM and smart technologies. We have a dedicated BIM centre in our School of the Built Environment and Architecture, so have been able to draw on a wealth of the academics' knowledge.
Working with our architects to develop our Employers Information Requirements for the plan has inspired us to think ambitiously and brought home to us the real organisational benefits that we could realise not just from BIM, but from putting data at the heart of our FM strategy. Much work needs to be done, but the team is excited to be facing the challenge.
Simon Francis is head of estates services at London South Bank University