Singapore's Yale-NUS College has cut maintenance times, boosted energy performance and improved working relationships, which led to its victory in the FM category at the 2020 Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Awards.
Yale-NUS College campus consists of three residential colleges, academic and administrative buildings including a performance hall, library, multipurpose hall, fitness centre, laboratories and offices.
There are 1,200 staff and students on campus. Approximately 900 students live on campus during the academic year (August to December and January to May).
The office was awarded the ISO 41001:2018 certification in Facilities Management System after demonstrating efforts in preventive maintenance, and continual streamlining and improvement of processes, resulting in a reduced time between reporting and remedying defects. It has also focused on environmental sustainability initiatives.
The facilities management, projects and analytics, and custodial services teams report to Dennis Aw, director of the Infrastructure, Safety, & Security Office. The team consists of 14 staff members and is supported by outsourced partners.
The Office adopts a process-oriented approach to improve operational efficiency and occupant satisfaction with a FM system grounded on policy and principles, objectives and targets, and formal procedures and documentation.
Aw oversees managing agent duties along with Carlos Chan, manager of FM responsible for corrective maintenance, and Jayson Berbasa, senior executive responsible for preventive maintenance.
Other team members include:
- Radha Pebbisetty, associate director of safety and security, environment governance and dining operations;
- Jeff Ho, senior manager of projects and analytics, and specialist associate Anthony Wong;
- Magandaran Naidu, security manager, along with Chong
- Hui Yin and four duty officers who work shifts;
- Yee Xiu Hui, custodial services; and
- Janice Neo, admin and contracts.
Challenges to overcome
The office wanted to build a culture of service excellence to attend to the needs of its internal customers. It secured buy-in from all staff, highlighting the importance of monitoring building performance to promote interdisciplinary strength, maximise resources and optimise cost.
It launched four key initiatives:
- Security staff assume a dual role as they also report any infrastructure defects that they observe;
- Maintenance staff assume a dual role as they also provide security and support for college events and activities;
- Development of new technology tools like the myInfra app;
- Daily operational meetings for staff to discuss progress and feedback.
Before and After: Energy management
The college embarked on a green lease initiative in September 2017. Part of the initiative involved separate billing for dining operations to encourage the catering provider to be more conscious of energy consumption.
Training has been provided to the maintenance staff to raise their technical competency and sustainability awareness.
The college uses centralised temperature controls and educates staff and students about the principle of thermal comfort in a shared zone.
Energy consumption per capita (kWh/student) has decreased over the past three years as a result, with approximately 17-18 percent annual reduction between 2016 and 2018.
Before and After: Collaboration and knowledge transfer
Collaboration drives operational success and breaks down divisions between teams, and in-house and outsourced personnel. But it requires transparency and accountability:
- Example 1: Administering the centralised feedback platform to sustain consistency in customer satisfaction. The result has been cross-disciplinary collaboration and breaking down of silo mentalities between different departments in the office.
- Example 2: Raising the office's profile through collaboration with FM consultants to achieve certifications such as the LEAF award, BCA Green Mark Platinum, ISO 41001 certification and the ASEAN Energy award.
- Example 3: Engaging internal and external stakeholders to deliver world-class programmes to its customers. One programme was 'Farm to Fork', in which students grew, harvested, and cooked their own vegetables on campus. This required collaboration between six different groups of stakeholders, both internal and external. The office acted as chief facilitator with a landscape consultant, college dining partner Sodexo, and student interest group Yale-NUS Urban Farmers, among others. The result is a student programme to create a garden and learn advanced sustainable practices in germinating, plant maintenance, harvesting and sustainable cooking.
Before and After: Reducing defects
The office is the first organisation in Singapore to be ISO 41001:2018 certified. The team uses a business process model to delegate services to a relevant unit within the team to reduce time between reporting defects and completing repairs. In the last two years, the average defect turnaround time dropped from 5.57 days in September 2017 to 0.73 days in August 2019.
The office has also improved proactive maintenance by using QR codes around the campus so security teams can easily identify and record a defect using a GPS tracking system. There has been a subsequent spike in reports from 570 in May 2019 to 1,036 in July 2019. At the same time, end users reported far fewer defects: from 658 to 369 in the same period.
In January 2019, the office also created myInfra - a snap-and-send app - so the college community could easily report building defects such as water leakage or fused light bulbs. The app enables instant communication and updates on the progress of repairs in real time.
The app was born from early successes in 2017 when the office used a combination of Microsoft Excel, calendar invites and mobile messaging to register and track feedback on defects. The average defect repair time was reduced from 19 to six days. The app has improved response time even further, with defects currently being repaired within a day on average.
The myInfra app took two years to develop, and relied on feedback from staff and students. It has proven so successful that it is now being licensed to the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Its success story was featured in the inaugural Guide to Smart FM launched in 2019 by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in Singapore.
Address: 16 College Avenue West,
#01-221, Singapore 138527
Building services retainer consultant:
TW International Counsel Pte Ltd
Building owner and occupier:
Sites: One, with three residential colleges, academic and administrative buildings, and a performing theatre/concert hall, library, laboratories and offices, multipurpose hall and fitness centre
Building, M&E handyman services:
C+H Associates Pte Ltd
Security: Securitas Singapore
Building automation: Quantum Automation Pte Ltd
Air-conditioning: Aircon Designs Pte Ltd
Plumbing: Yong Hoe Enterprise Pte Ltd
Dining services: Sodexo Singapore Pte Ltd
Electricity Vending System (Air-con Consumption and Billing):
Power Automation Pte Ltd
Janitorial and Housekeeping: Weishen Industrial Services Pte Ltd