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Credit: JTC Corporation (From JTC's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jtccorp/)

Credit: JTC Corporation (From JTC's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jtccorp/)

JTC launches integrated Command Centre for facilities management across 39 buildings

JTC Corporation (JTC), the lead public sector agency in Singapore for the development and management of industrial infrastructure, officially commissioned the J-Ops Command Centre (J-Ops). J-Ops is one of the first integrated Command Centres set up for facilities management (FM) in Singapore. According to Today Newspaper, JTC plans to integrate the technology into 39 of its buildings, at a cost of about S$15 million, by the first half of this year.

The launch was in conjunction with the unveiling of Singapore’s Real Estate Industry Transformation Map (ITM), the third ITM to be launched in the Built Environment cluster. The ITM offers strategies for both FM and property transaction services along two main thrusts - embracing innovation and technology to stay competitive and strengthening professionalism and upskilling the workforce.

Speaking at the launch of the ITM, Mr Desmond LEE, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, described J-Ops as a ‘group of smart systems working in concert together’.

Straits Times reported that JTC saw 15 per cent productivity savings, and reduced S$400,000 off its S$2.5 million utility bill during a pilot project conducted over 2015 and 2016 in three of its buildings, JTC CleanTech Two, JTC MedTech Hub and JTC Summit.

As part of J-Ops, JTC is using a cloud-based Building Optimisation System, to remotely track, analyse and optimise the performance of their buildings, as well as an Estate Monitoring System, which uses customised video analytics to monitor more than half of JTC’s estates and developments across the island.

An Automated Work Flow System tracks feedback from tenants and re-routes it automatically to a facilities manager to resolve the issue on the ground. All these systems combine to allow JTC to comprehensively oversee FM in their developments and estates, achieve greater manpower and energy savings and systematically improve the experiences of tenants.

Second Minister Lee noted, “As JTC is clearly showing, the clever use of technology and the sensible use of data analytics can unlock many possibilities for the efficient management of buildings and facilities, and more efficient systems mean lower lifetime costs. This is relevant not just for JTC, but for all building owners in Singapore, and during the course of our ITM discussions, many of our FM industry partners shared with us that the cost of maintaining a building through its lifetime could be as much as four times the cost of building the infrastructure in the first place. So, it’s a very significant long-tail.”

The Minister added that the Government wants to encourage greater adoption of smart facilities management – or Smart FM. This would involve convincing more landlords to invest in smarter and more efficient maintenance systems, even if some retrofitting is needed on their part. The advantages of smarter FM would be to streamline processes, reduce abortive work, reap cost savings over time, and ultimately lead to greater productivity.

These efforts will, in turn, are expected to drive the research and development of FM solutions, and nurture innovative enterprises in this area.

“This would create new jobs, new ways of doing things, new firms, new niche industries, and all in Singapore, and from Singapore to the rest of the world,” Second Minister Lee said. 

J-Ops presents an example of how FM systems can work seamlessly not just within a single building, but across a whole group of interconnected buildings within the same family. This can also be done for interconnected buildings at the district-level, or for buildings of the same “use class”. There are private sector developers and firms that have been doing similar projects in Singapore.

A coordinated development approach for the FM sector

Second Minister Lee also talked about considering maintainability further upstream, which would need the whole built environment and real estate value chain to think together as one. Consultants and developers, whether public or private sector, will be encouraged to design and construct buildings with FM and maintainability in mind right from the planning and design stage. 

There are natural synergies for FM, with other parts of the built environment cluster, such as Construction. For example, the Construction ITM covers areas like green buildings, Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA), and digitalisation, all of which have an impact on FM processes.

Hence, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has been tasked to form a team to coordinate the overall development of the FM sector. BCA will work with other agencies involved in building design and maintenance, including Housing & Development Board (HDB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and JTC. 

This will build on ongoing efforts, such as promoting the uptake of Design for Maintainability at a Sengkang mixed development site. The design of the mixed development site will take into account maintainability for various facilities, so that downstream activities, for example façade cleaning, can be carried out in a much more labour-efficient and effective manner. 

To adopt a consolidated approach for the GFM sector, the BCA will form a Tripartite (collaboration among unions, employers and the government) FM Implementation Committee (FMIC). The FMIC will provide advice and assist in formulating the implementation details of ITM plans for the FM sector. 

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