Technological Innovations in Building Management

August 2023

Technology constantly marches forward.  Here are some of the current trends in high-rise building management.

Building management software builds on technological innovations in communications which provide us with internet access, wireless technology, e-mail and other forms of communication.  It has become the most effective way to monitor the various mechanical systems in a building and how they interact with each other.  This blending of equipment and software allow managers and building staff to monitor everything from air quality to water and security systems.  Real-time reporting alerts of irregularities.  Data on energy efficiency, comfort levels and equipment failures are available for management to analyze and act on.  If you think of your building as a living organism, building management software allows for the continuous monitoring of vital signs and the tweaking of systems to improve how they function.

More precisely, building management software is actually a network of micro-computers placed on equipment and throughout a building to monitor many things including temperature and water flow.  Data is reviewed by the system to keep things operating as desired.  A dashboard provides management with an overview of all systems and how each is functioning.

Water or leak detection systems are increasingly important.  They utilize sensors to detect moisture at which time an immediate alert is sent to building management.  They have proven effective in identifying leaks sooner thus preventing more severe and costly damage from hidden or excessive water infiltration.  A leak in one unit becomes less likely to damage other units or common areas.  Repair and insurance costs are reduced.

Condo management software once referred to a simple electronic database storing information on each building resident.  It now utilizes evolving computer and communication technologies to reach its current state – a comprehensive and economical system of records management, communication and facilities management.  It incorporates solutions for parking control and parcel management.  Today, any inability to maintain proper records, communicate with owners, respond to problems, or manage amenities is a management or people problem.  The technology is so economical and easy to use there is no excuse for a community not to do so.

Global warming is impacting buildings of all types. Many areas have enacted regulations and requirements to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon footprints, control water flow and manage the impact of heat radiating off buildings.  This will surely change the way many choose to heat and cool their homes.  The trend is to increased use of electricity, of which Toronto has ample capacity.  Areas more dependent on gas, and equipment powered by gas, are likely to undergo more dramatic changes.  Greater use of internet or WiFi technologies with heat pumps and other systems is expected to improve energy efficiency and reduce your building’s carbon footprint.

The rise of electric vehicles has increased demand for charging stations.  This requires enhancements in a building infrastructure to provide the volume of electricity required, and parcel it out without impacting on building operations or in-suite activities.

Air purification systems are being improved in response to Covid.  There are enhanced filters, and individual-use units for suites.

Building management technologies will no doubt continue to evolve in response to changing needs.