The new BSI 8536-1:2015 code creates better design and construction briefings for facilities managers, says Brian Atkin.
30 September 2015 | By Brian Atkin
The impact of design on construction - the concept of buildability - has long been recognised and is routinely considered by designers and their teams.
The impact of design and construction on operations - the concept of operability - has yet to achieve the same level of recognition and consideration.
This situation is set to change with the publication of a new British Standard, BS 8536-1:2015 - a code of practice - which has been developed with government and industry support to improve the effectiveness of briefing on operational performance requirements for design and construction.
Ensuring that the design and construction of a new or refurbished facility take account of operational performance requirements is a primary concern for owners, operators and FMs. Yet inadequate account is often taken of those requirements, specifically environmental, social (i.e. functionality and effectiveness), security and economic criteria.
The fault doesn't necessarily lie with the design and construction team. Sometimes owners and operators do not define their operational requirements well at the outset so that later, when the facility is operational, it fails to match expectations.
Without a clear definition of operational requirements, it is not possible for the design and construction team to aim for, or be measured against, specific performance outcomes/targets.
The standard helps to overcome these failings by providing guidance and recommendations on facilities management briefing for design and construction teams, as well as owners and operators.
When this extends to all parties represented in the project it means that everyone is reading from the same page. Importantly, the standard does not tell anyone how to design or construct - it outlines the data requirements - and the activities they support - that are essential to defining and measuring operability and performance requirements.
Scope of the code
The three-fold aim of this code of practice is to: (1) improve the focus of the supply chain on operational performance; (2) extend supply chain involvement through to operations and defined periods of aftercare; and (3) involve the operator and FM from the outset. This should be seen in the context of a broader scope that considers operational requirements throughout design, construction, testing and commissioning, handover, start-up of operations and during defined periods of aftercare. From an FM perspective that translates into a facility that is safe, efficient and cost-effective.
The code of practice reflects the many changes that have taken place within the industry and among its clients:
1. The incorporation of the principles of soft landings;
2. A definition of the data requirements associated with Level 2 BIM for CAPEX (in accordance with PAS 1192-2) and for OPEX (in accordance with PAS 1192-3);
3. Security-mindedness (in accordance with PAS 1192-5);
4. The requirements for post-occupancy evaluation (POE) to strengthen the link between owners, operators and FMs, and the design and construction team to assure operational performance.
The code is intended to have a key role in the coordination of the project delivery process and the work stages that it encompasses. Among its other features is a close alignment with industry work stages for projects. A key feature of the underlying processes for delivery of an operational facility is an evidence-based approach to design and construction that is driven by performance outcomes/targets, which are explicit and measurable. These need to reflect the requirements of the owner, operator, end users and other key stakeholders concerning the operational performance of the facility.
Performance outcomes should be verified in each work stage to ensure that the facility will meet its operational requirements and so avoid unpleasant surprises at handover.
As noted, the code considers operational performance in terms of environmental, social (i.e. functionality and effectiveness), security and economic criteria - the practical side of sustainability principles - that have to be satisfied by the new or refurbished facility.
- Environmental targets - energy use, CO2 emissions, water use and waste reduction.
- Social outcomes: functional and operational requirements of the owner - overall concept, context, uses, access, visual form, space, internal environment, durability and adaptability; and the operator's and end users' requirements of utility, usability, safety, maintainability, inclusiveness and comfort.
- Security outcomes: security-mindedness with respect to both physical and digital assets.
- Economic targets: capital cost and operational cost side-by-side to support whole-life costing.
The code is a standard for everyone engaged in the design, build and operation of a new or refurbished facility. It provides FMs with a powerful tool to make a compelling case to bring operational requirements into design and construction.
BSI 8536-1:2015 and all standards referred to here are available free from BSI.
Brian Atkin is a director at The Facilities Society