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Buildings-as-a-Service: Streamlining Building Management

Aug. 21, 2019

Buildings-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a risk transfer and availability model that lowers the pressure of new construction and retrofit projects. Here’s how it can benefit your project.

As a commercial building owner or facility manager, beginning a new construction or retrofit project can be intimidating. From keeping overhead costs low, to coordinating competing schedules, to communicating with tenants and community members, it’s a familiar but daunting process.

These large-scale projects are a full-time job in and of themselves, but often those who manage them are already overwhelmed. As a building owner or facility manager facing this process, you might be looking for a solution that takes the responsibility of operations and management off your plate.

The answer? A risk transfer and availability model, known as Buildings-as-a-Service (BaaS), that helps lessen these pressures.

What is Buildings-as-a-Service?

BaaS lessens the pressures of time and resources by transferring everything to a highly capable third party. This includes the responsibility of the design, construction, energy efficiency management, ongoing building operations and financing.

The third party handles all of the upfront capital and decision-making processes instead of letting it fall on those in charge of the building’s day-to-day. This takes the burden off owners and management. Rather than overseeing extensive building projects that can last months or years, they can focus on what they are good at, whether that is trying a case in court, healing patients or teaching students.

Without having to manage the process, or even think about it, organizations can make decisions that improve building cost and energy efficiency, as well as improve the wellbeing of their occupants.


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For instance, they can save on electricity by having LED lighting installed or improve operational costs by optimizing their staffing, all managed and executed by the third party.

Every building construction or retrofit process inevitably includes pain points, but using BaaS keeps the project on track. These pain points can range from healing patients while overseeing a new hospital wing addition to scrambling to pull together the funds needed for a new HVAC system while managing other out-of-pocket costs.

There are some roadblocks that can be planned and accounted for, but there will inevitably be costly challenges and miscalculations along the way.

Deferring financing to a third party can be a great option for budget-minded owners or managers looking to conserve capital cost while streamlining the project delivery process. BaaS enables owners and managers to more easily and accurately measure, budget and manage a building’s total cost of ownership through guaranteed fixed monthly payment terms and service levels.

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These financial services give owners and managers insight into how their operation is running and where efficiency improvements can be made.

If the service levels aren’t met, such as an elevator being out of service or a project deadline being missed, the third party will provide a timeframe for when the issue with be remedied. Otherwise, they must pay a penalty.

This accountability on the part of the third party ensures they are delivering the highest level of service. BaaS is designed to expedite and streamline building and facility operations rather than create more barriers to efficiency. Features like accountability penalties keep all parties honest, informed and moving in the right direction.

8 Reasons to Implement Buildings-as-a-Service

Other benefits of leveraging Buildings-as-a-Service include:

1. Keeps projects on time and on budget with reliable project delivery under a fixed cost service fee.

2. Cost effective and efficient capital market access to address new and existing property needs. Regardless of how a building’s operational requirements evolve, BaaS ensures expenses remain reasonable. 

3. Greater governance, transparency, predictability and discipline of public spending.

4. Improved availability and quality of a building or infrastructure with reduced risk and improved residual value at the end of the term.

5. Innovative building designs and operational strategies managed and maintained by industry experts.

6. Continuous improvement and maintenance in life safety, building operations, and energy efficiency throughout the term. This means no deferred maintenance at the end of the contract, as well as consistent savings throughout the project lifecycle.

7. Job creation for the surrounding community.

8. Extended expected lifecycle of the building or infrastructure, ultimately reducing maintenance costs down the line.

These are just a handful of the benefits buildings and facilities can expect when leveraging BaaS. Combined, they can make a significant difference to a company’s bottom line, as well as the effectiveness of their project workflow.


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Because of included accountability costs, building managers and owners are secure knowing they can rely on their third party to complete projects in a timely and cost-effective manner. This means budgets and schedules stay intact without any additional management on the part of buildings managers or owners.

Building and facility updates put a considerable demand on the time and resources of their managers and owners, taking them away from other high-importance projects. By taking the responsibility of these projects off them, their buildings improve in cost, energy and workflow efficiency without extra labor on their part. The right decisions are being made and carried out by a trusted third party, keeping the building or facility on track.

If you’ve had projects and initiatives that have been kept on hold because of a backlog of operational to-dos, or if you are about to begin a large-scale project and do not know where to start, consider BaaS to reach your goals.

With uninterrupted operations and energy efficient solutions, BaaS brings the infrastructure expertise needed to move the needle. If you are especially keen on maintaining a strict budget, deferring financing through BaaS might be the solution for you.

Whether you are interested in building, retrofitting, measuring or managing your building—or all four—BaaS is a solution that delivers comfortable, safe and smart buildings.

About the Author:

John Fleming, VP & GM, Performance Infrastructure at Johnson Controls.

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About the Author

John Fleming

John Fleming is the Vice President of Global Commercial Innovation for Sustainable Infrastructure at Johnson Controls, where he’s worked for the past 30-plus years. Johnson Controls is the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, with a mission to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places, and the planet. 

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