As technology continues to advance in the AEC space, it is no surprise that most new tools and toys are aimed at the AEC firms that will use them again and again, on project after project.
In contrast, most owners do not have multi-building programs lined up for continuous development. So they have rarely been the target for new software aimed at helping them to perform better.
But times have changed. As several members of the Construction Owners Association of America have told BuiltWorlds, modern commercial buildings now are so technologically saturated and sophisticated — and their efficient operation so reliant on data-driven systems — that more and more of them need to hire consultants and/or extend the contracts of builders to teach them how to operate and maintain their new capital assets. In other words, gone are the days of contractors just handing over the keys.
With that in mind, last month in Kansas City MO, tech startup Site 10.01, developer of a new smart building maintenance and management platform, announced that it had raised $5 million in Series A funding. Participants in this round are led by local general contracting giant JE Dunn Construction, plus venture firms Flyover Capital, TIFEC, and Ward Ventures. Site 1001 says it will use the new funding to build out its engineering team and develop sales and marketing.
Light bulbs that can replace themselves?
“We bridge the gap between the old hodge podge of paper and PC-based facilities management systems of the past 30 to 50 years, and the hyper-connected and automated ‘smart’ building systems of tomorrow,” explained Site 1001 CEO Cleve Adams. “By bringing all that legacy information in, combining it with the real-time information connected building controls generate, and putting it all in the hand of the person who needs it, when and where he needs it, we can dramatically reduce operational costs and extend the life of the building,” he said.
A cloud-based software platform that digitizes and automates facilities management and maintenance, Site 1001 takes aim at traditionally time-consuming tasks that still involve paper documents and multiple software systems. Now those functions are combined into a single mobile app that goes anywhere the facilities professional goes. Here’s how the startup explains its app:
With Site 1001, the user merely walks into a room and scans a quick code with the app. The system then pulls up detailed facilities and asset information — everything from structural and mechanical drawings to the type of carpet and light bulbs — for that room. The app can also create task lists, log service, issue work orders, and perform a number of other functions including adjusting building controls via integrations with building automation systems and smart building gateways.
Site 10.01 was originally developed as a “skunkworks” project within JE Dunn, led by VP Eric Hall, an architect and project supervisor. Now Site 1001’s CTO, Hall recalled how frustrated he was by what he saw as a major shortcoming in the information handoff between the builder and the owner.
“As a construction company, we used enterprise tools like resource planning and building information modeling (BIM) to track every detail of what went into the building — from the $6 million chiller on the roof, to the $2 electrical outlet in the basement supply room,” Hall said. “But those systems are extremely expensive and difficult, so very few on the building operations side use them.”
As a result, without a tool to leverage all that available data, he added, roughly 80% or more of the building information collected during construction is lost when the keys are turned over to its owner.
“Over the lifetime of the building, owners spend four times what it cost to construct on management and maintenance,” Hall explained. “I thought, if owners had the tools that would allow them to use all the information we compiled during construction, as well as all the new information the building generated, not only would they reduce a lot of that spending, but quite likely extend the life of the building, as well.”
If knowledge is power, then…
As a result, Hall developed Site 1001 using the BIM modeling he had learned for construction, but focused on the facilities manager. Since Site 1001 is cloud-based, IT infrastructure isn’t necessary, and recognizing that facilities managers are rarely stationary at a desk, it was developed to be mobile-first, maximizing features and functions for ease-of-use on a mobile screen. “Site 1001 is also location-based rather than asset-based,” according to its website. “By organizing based on building > area > room, facilities personnel merely go to a room, scan a quick code with their app and get an interactive list, photos, schematics and detailed information on every asset in the room.”
Finally, Site 1001 was also built to natively integrate with other systems like building automation, energy management, “internet of things” (IoT), analytics, security, and all connected systems core to smart buildings and smart cities. “In the next few years, smart building technologies are going to be mainstream and building operations will be transformed,” added CEO Adams. “Building automation, analytics and smart management will be key to reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and extending the life of buildings and building ecosystems by 20% or more.”
Indeed, smart buildings and intelligent infrastructure will only be able to stay as smart as the people responsible for their upkeep. If this key handoff is fumbled, so many longer term, O&M benefits will just slip away. On the other hand, something bordering on magic may not be far off…
“In a couple of years, it will be no big deal that a light bulb can request its own work order to be replaced,” said Adams. “And it will be Site 1001 that is there to accept the work order and notify the nearest facilities manager to complete it.”