By leveraging globally unique identification and data exchange standards, GS1 can bring visibility, traceability and certainty to building and asset information for the architecture, engineering, construction (AEC) and facilities management industries.

GS1 standards and identifiers make the entire building lifecycle more efficient from design through to procurement, commissioning, handover, ongoing maintenance and recycling.

Creating the future of digital facilities management

Many large building operators are currently transitioning older buildings into new, more modern digital hubs. Facilities management processes are becoming more streamlined, with remote access to Building Management Systems (BMS) and other platforms.

Using GS1 identifiers to identify people, places, assets and products, builds an interactive, digital picture of a building’s life from the electro-mechanical units fitted, to their service and replacement history.

Additionally, the asset’s location within the building, the warranty and maintenance instructions, combined with links to further sources of data online, such as replacement parts and instructional videos or sustainability data (EPDs), create a digital picture (or digital twin) of a building and its constituent parts.

This capability, powered by globally unique and interoperable GS1 identifiers, is invaluable to support the digital transformation of an organisation or entity, facilitating fast and accurate procurement, facility management or even recalls and safety notices, should they occur.

The plant room example

The plant room in any large-scale building, such as a hospital, university or public building, is a major control centre and a hub for routine, reactive and planned preventative maintenance (PPM).

There is a wide range of critical and semi-critical equipment on site that needs to be monitored and maintained, including air handling units, water treatment units, cooling equipment, pumps and universal power supplies (UPS) to name but a few. Visits from engineers and technicians are scheduled throughout the year to maintain and repair this equipment.

Plant room assets can be uniquely identified with a GS1 Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI), encoded in a GS1 barcode or tag. Scanning these barcodes enables engineers to access a vast array of information, relevant to their role.

For example, a technician attending to service a water pump can view the list of spares or installation instructions, while the building’s FM team can view lists of spare parts available on site or the asset’s maintenance history. This level of real-time data availability can also assist with the efficient management of inventory and the ordering of spare parts.

Managing health and safety compliance

Since Covid a 'tap and go' system will increasingly become the standard working model for managing on-site visits by maintenance engineers. A visiting technician can scan in on arrival, without the need for interaction with site staff.

Identification of the engineer will enable the facilities management team to confirm that all the necessary induction and health and safety tickets have been completed and are up to date for the visiting engineer.

By combining known information, such as the engineer’s ID, their trade and the scanning location point, way-finding and directional information can be shown on the technician’s device, directing them to the plant room or the location of the equipment they are on-site on maintain.

Protecting lone workers

A visiting technician has an allocated amount of time to complete the maintenance work and the facilities management team will have visibility of this. Should the engineer not log out within the allotted time, the team can check-in and see if there is an issue, or if more time is needed.

It also supports health and safety practices on site, providing visibility of lone workers and contact details for managers, should an unfortunate incident occur.

Ensuring data interoperability across multiple sites and systems

Globally unique identifiers, based on the GS1 system of standards, play a key role in enabling data visibility and interoperability across sites and systems. Each room or location, each asset and each technician can all be uniquely identified with a GS1 code, enabling data sharing across IT systems and sites.

Working towards a more efficient, greener and safer environment

Today building owners and operators have begun to implement a broad range of innovative measures as part of their facilities management operations, helping to minimise or eliminate unplanned downtime across a site. These measures also reflect the new regulatory changes, drive energy efficiency and the need to work towards greener facilities.

Measures include Building Management System (BMS) that enables the full remote monitoring of all equipment, real-time data availability to schedule preventative maintenance visits in advance and the adoption of 'BREEAM in Use' to minimise the carbon footprint of a building.

The key GS1 identification standards for maintenance and facilities management are: GTIN, GLN, GRAI, GIAI, GSRN and SSCC

Explore further.

Check out these two videos to learn more:

  1. Hospital Plant Room Video:
  2. Plant room animation:

Read more about GS1 identifiers: