7 Common Problems with Building Infrastructure Management (And How CriticalAsset Solves Them)August 21, 2020
Building infrastructure management is one of the most important aspects of keeping a facility running smoothly. If items such as breaker panels, electrical documentation, plan rooms, and panel schedules aren’t checked regularly, it can cause safety hazards and lead to costly OSHA fines. Here are seven common problems we see with everyday building infrastructure management, and how CriticalAsset can prevent and solve them efficiently.
1. Chaotic plan rooms
Most of the time, plan rooms are located in small, disorganized basements that are only checked on every few months. This leads to more limited access to critical documentation, as-builts, original design drawings, AEC data which can cause complete chaos when problems or emergencies arise.
CriticalAsset does away with all of that. No more digging through crowded plan rooms or trying to find a panel schedule that was outdated years ago. Our technology allows you to instantly pull up a panel schedule, as-built, or any other building diagram from any location; all you need is your tablet or phone. The infrastructure of your entire building is, quite literally, at your fingertips.
2. Lost or missing panel schedules
Breaker panel schedules are incredibly useful tools for any Facility Manager, electrician, or property manager; but most of the time, they are incomplete, hastily drawn, mislabeled or perhaps even nonexistent. Chances are that so many different electricians have probably wired and rewired your circuits over the years that there is really no telling where the circuit goes. You may know where the breaker panel is – but can you locate each individual circuit breaker or more importantly who or what is affected downstream?
Enter CriticalAsset. Using our cloud-based technology, you can upload your panel schedule and instantly find a circuit that needs to be reset or prevent an accidental shutdown. You’ll be able to print out a new panel schedule within seconds and place it into the breaker, which makes it easier for electricians to come in and diagnose an issue. The data you need is just a click away, rather than being stored in a dusty room or locked in an office or buried in a spreadsheet.
3. Not knowing which areas are affected by an outage
If an electrical outage is affecting an isolated area (one or two rooms within the building), it can be difficult to figure out where the problem is – especially if the building’s infrastructure documentation is out-of-date. The time it takes to locate the proper panel or individual circuit or building diagram, figure out the source of the problem, and then troubleshoot it, can turn what may have originally been a small issue into a much larger one.
Mapping your building infrastructure data digitally means you’re able to access diagrams, as-builts, and panel schedules within seconds, rather than hours – saving you time, money, and preventing catastrophic shutdowns that would have otherwise put everything on hold.
4. OSHA safety fines
Inefficient building infrastructure management can lead to accidents and safety issues, but it can also lead to a host of hefty OSHA fines. Lack of sufficient arc flash labeling; improper circuit-wiring; faulty breaker panel enclosures; proper breaker panel placement – these are all common issues that might slip past a Facility Manager or electrician during a routine safety check, but can result in costly fines (sometimes up to thousands of dollars) from OSHA violations or worse even an accident causing injury or death.
CriticalAsset helps you keep up to date with safety regulations, panel schedule print-outs and preventative maintenance schedules. It can hold the tracing data for the building’s entire electrical infrastructure, thus ensuring that work isn’t being done in an area that can potentially be harmful to the employee or electrician thereby reducing the risk of major injury or even death.
5. POOR FACILITY ASSET MANAGEMENT
When there is no electrical single-line building documentation and no organization to asbuilts, warranty data, panel schedules it’s essentially impossible to really understand the electrical layout of your building. Routine electrical maintenance like checking a warranty on some lights becomes a challenge when you’re working out of 3-ring binders and files in a cabinet. Maybe EH&S has the hot work permit that OSHA is asking for but no one can find it. Documenting newly completed work or when an upgrade is completed becomes a complicated chore.
CriticalAsset’s software keeps your infrastructure organized and accessible in all of these situations and all of it will be at your fingertips within minutes. Having immediate access to a digital diagram of your building will save countless hours (that would have been spent searching for documents) and prevent potentially catastrophic events.
6. Old, inefficient systems that are still running but not being utilized
Over the course of a building’s lifetime, new systems are installed and old ones are disconnected. But often when customers begin to utilize they locate outdated systems and wasted energy like old appliances in a maintenance closet. We call this death by a thousand cuts. Each individual issue is not that major, but put them all together and you could be saving a substantial amount on your energy bill. Using CriticalAsset to map and manage your buildings infrastructure will help you realize those savings quickly.
7. Animals getting stuck in electrical areas/cords
This happens all too often and can go unnoticed for months until an outage occurs or the electricity shuts off or even worse a major arc flash incident occurs. It’s an especially likely occurrence in buildings that are located in more suburban or rural areas, and it isn’t a situation that falls on most routine maintenance checks. We’ve worked with Facility Managers that have found a dead animal lodged in a high-voltage area; the remains were about to trigger an imminent arc-flash explosion, which could have caused extensive damage and potentially major loss of life. Because these discoveries were made in time, both tragedies were avoided. Electrical panels are another key spot to check regularly, though most of us don’t think about it; because they are left alone and often unchecked, they are great places for small animals to burrow.
Here are a couple of stories about some unfortunate animals that caused major electrical problems:
CriticalAsset eliminates the hassles of facilities asset management, allowing you to effortlessly manage and track all your infrastructure assets and devices in one place, saving you time and money. Sign up for a free trial.