operability

  • Design and Construction for Operability

    A new, major British Standard, Briefing for Design and Construction – Part 1: Code of practice for facilities management (Buildings infrastructure) was published on 3 August 2015 and is free to download thanks to the UK Government's support for the standard. BS 8536-1:2015 is a complete revision to the original 2010 standard, Facilities Management Briefing and is a direct response to the needs of industry and the UK government.

    The original 2010 standard filled a gap in design briefing guidance occupied by little more than the mention of “facilities management”. It alerted design teams to the need to take account of operational requirements during design and provided guidance on what should be considered. It also gave operators and facility managers the opportunity to feedback their experiences of assets/facilities in use. BS 8536 was an important step, but did not go far enough.

    Why the need for a revision?

    The scope of the standard needed to be broadened to take account of operational requirements during construction, testing and commissioning, handover, start-up of operations and aftercare. It also needed to incorporate the principles of soft landings, the requirements of post-occupancy evaluation (POE) and “Level 2 BIM”. BS 8536-1 pulls together these and a number of other strands to create a coherent set of recommendations and supporting guidance for owners, operators, facility managers, designers, constructors and other specialists.

    BS 8536-1 is an attempt to strengthen the link between asset/facility owners, operators and their facility managers and the design and construction team to assure performance of the design and the operational asset/ facility. It does not provide detailed guidance on design or construction, but is concerned with information and data about the operability and performance requirements for the new or refurbished asset/facility. Decommissioning and other end-of-life considerations are excluded from the standard.

    The principle of buildability is widely applied in design, however, the principle of operability has not historically been considered to the same extent. Clearly, the best time to comment on the suitability or effectiveness of design is before it is finalised. Testing assumptions during design is necessary to understand how the asset/facility will perform in operation. In other industries, “design for operability” is a given; in this standard, the concept is extended to cover “design and construction for operability”.

    Achieving predefined outcomes

    Projects should take account of the operational requirements and expected performance outcomes for the new or refurbished asset/facility from the outset, through all work stages – see Figure 1 – and into operation. Design and construction should be guided by these requirements and be followed by defined periods of aftercare (initial and extended) to ensure that the owner, operator and end-users are able to derive the expected benefits from the asset/facility.

     

    Work stages

    Figure 1. Work stages

    An evidence-based approach to design and construction should be adopted that is driven by outcomes that are explicit and measurable, wherever possible, and which reflect the requirements of the owner, operator, end-users and other key stakeholders in regard to the operational performance of the asset/facility. Indeed, performance outcomes should be verified in each work stage to ensure that the asset/facility will meet its operational requirements.

    Performance outcomes/targets should be specific to the project and set at the Strategy work stage – see Figure 1 – and be verified during each subsequent work stage up to Operation & End of life, with post-occupancy evaluation (POE) during a defined period of extended aftercare. BS 8536-1 considers performance in terms of environmental, social (i.e. functionality and effectiveness), security and economic criteria that have to be satisfied.

    Environmental targets – energy use, CO2 emissions, water consumption and waste reduction/disposal.

    Social outcomes – functional and operational requirements of the owner, e.g. 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, security, inclusiveness and comfort.

    Security targets – security-mindedness with respect to both physical and digital assets.

    Economic targets – capital cost and operational cost should be considered side-by-side to enable whole-life cost to be determined.

    Post-occupancy evaluation (POE) should be used to establish if the asset/facility is performing as expected, including measurement of actual operational performance against the required performance outcomes/targets from environmental, social and economic perspectives set at the outset of the project. Specifically, the evaluation should include an end-user satisfaction survey, an energy-use survey and an assessment of the overall performance of the asset/facility against the agreed outcomes and/or targets and applicable benchmarks.

    What next?

    BS 8536-1:2015 is available from the BSI Bookshop.

    BS 8536-1:2015

  • Design Briefing for FM

    IKEA style building

    Design for operability is the new mantra. The concept of buildability – the impact of design on construction – has long been recognised in design circles. Operability has yet to achieve the same level of consciousness among designers. The arguments in favour of design briefing taking proper account of the requirements for safe and correct operation and use of a facility are overwhelming.

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