AFES is currently developing comprehensive smart solutions for post Covid-19 and future smart buildings for the country
by LYDIA NATHAN
INTEGRATING both manual operations with technology can prove beneficial and efficient in handling the management of assets, especially for sustainability factors.
In Malaysia, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, a member of Malakoff Corp Bhd, has strived to provide top-notch solutions for its clients that include various competitive and premium environmental solutions including facility management services through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Alam Flora Environmental Solutions Sdn Bhd (AFES).
Under the core business of facility management, AFES provides various types of services not only for building functionality but also for enhanced user experiences, including building condition assessment energy and utilities management, consultancy, facilities engineering maintenance, technology-driven and clean, hygiene and sanitisation towards environmental sustainability.
AFES is currently developing comprehensive smart solutions post Covid-19 and for future smart buildings in the country.
Its head of asset facility management Mahadi Mahat (picture) said one of the smart solutions methodologies used today includes condition-based maintenance (CBM). To identify the condition of the facilities, necessary steps must be executed such as visual inspection, measurement (sensor, gauge, metre) and testing, a strategy that monitors exactly what an asset requires using data.
He said this method has proven to be an advantage since last year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and movement restrictions forced people to digitalise more than ever for business solutions.
“This method uses sensors, metres and other related equipment to monitor and manage facilities without direct human intervention.
“The goal is to enhance the asset life cycle, efficiency and functionality of the facility in the future,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview.
According to Mahadi, the entire system is a data-driven operation, where evaluations and conclusions are based on real-time data monitored by a special team.
“Maintenance and rectification can be planned before an equipment’s performance deteriorates, hence reducing unplanned downtime or breakdown while also enabling technicians and engineers to practice critical and analytical thinking,” he said.
However, Mahadi said the challenges faced were cost and subject matter experts in this field.
“CBM does require a fair bit of investment because deploying this system requires monitoring devices such as sensors and gauge to work.
“Older buildings still utilise manual methods, but newer developments already have an integrated system in place, which makes it easier,” he said.
Mahadi explained that AFES’ goal is to create a more sustainable environment via this method and hence, the company has come up with a financial scheme to facilitate clients purchasing and installing these devices.
“Clients that want to invest in CBM can do so and we are more than happy to help them. AFES purchases and installs the devices, allowing clients to pay over a period of time, provided we conduct the maintenance for the clients,” he noted.
He added that there has been a current study conducted, whereby clients who are considering an investment in CBM, as the current situation has proven to focus on cost-saving strategies, which in the long run, is what CBM offers.
“Based on input from various studies, we can save 25% to 30% of the operational and maintenance costs.
“Besides quantitative saving, we also would improve qualitative benefits to our clients or users such as a zero breakdown of the comfortable workplace and a controllable environment, among others,” Mahadi opined.
Additionally, he said the fundamentals of maintenance are reactive and proactive maintenance where corrective maintenance (CM) and planned preventive maintenance (PPM) are known as reactive, while predictive maintenance (PdM) and CBM fall under proactive.
“Both PdM and CBM in facility management are considered advanced methods but in reality, have been in the manufacturing industry for 20 to 30 years.”
Meanwhile, Mahadi said some of the current services provided by AFES include vertical horizontal transportation (escalator, travellator, lift, gondola), lighting, heat, ventilation and airconditioning (HVAC), security, housekeeping, hygiene, sanitisation and pest control.
“Besides operation, we also provide maintenance of equipment, energy management, parking management, event and space management, waste management and any services that support the building environment for our clients.
“CBM will be a new value-added service for our clients and we do hope for more to adopt the methodology.
“By engaging AFES, clients will have ease of mind in operating their business due to our service, which incorporates eco-friendly sanitisation process that is safe and hygienic, with KKM(Ministry of Health)-approved chemical.”
Due to the pandemic, the demand for sanitisation and sterilisation has become even more important for buildings everywhere to stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.
“AFES is looking at a solution that can provide the same level of effectiveness as the ones being used right now, minus the chemicals.
“We are currently considering a type that uses the UV (ultraviolet) light which can be integrated with the air-conditioning system,” he said.
Mahadi added that a longer-term goal would be to collaborate with building owners or developers to enhance and prolong building and equipment lifecycles, from the design stage up to its demolition.
“We are embarking on advanced system and approach from the IR (Industrial Revolution) 4.0 perspective to enhance our services to our clients, especially for CBM.
“While AFES does prefer commercial buildings, we will also look and consider what the future market may require and look into integrated developments like residential property with wider commercial, retail, entertainment, or even transport facilities,” Mahadi concluded.