Institutional and commercial facilities are becoming more digital and technological by the day as maintenance and engineering managers look for new ways to maximize facilities’ energy efficiency, sustainability and reliability. One result of this transformation is the use of high-tech tools by skilled trades workers who perform testing, inspection and maintenance on critical systems in an effort to help achieve these goals. That change is reflected in the findings of a recent survey.
Eight in 10 fire, electrical and life safety technicians reported using digital tools on the job every day, with 43 percent using one to two tools daily, 26 percent using three to five, and 11 percent using more than five tools, according to the survey by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). For those using digital solutions, 24 percent cited computers, tablets, phones or NFPA LiNK as key technologies and tools.
When asked to identify obstacles within the design and build process, 29 percent of respondents cited collaboration as a top challenge, while 23 percent cited access to resources. The value provided by digital tools is helping address top industry challenges, as 61 percent saw increased collaboration and streamlined processes as a result of implementing digital tools into their workflows.
Room for improvement remains in terms of integrating technology into daily job functions, with one-third of respondents saying they have not implemented digital tools in their daily workflows. Also, 42 percent say they are spending less on new tools, including digital ones, as a result of economic uncertainty.
By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor
Dan Hounsell is senior editor for the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management.