User inspired services in the building sector
Article

User inspired services in the building sector

Melvin Brand Flu
  • Melvin Brand Flu
  • Partner
Take aways
  • Specialised or innovative services add tremendous value to your contract.
  • Being relevant to building users and other actors helps you win more contracts.
  • Building lifecycle and user perspective incorporate interdependence between actors in the design.

Builders and facility managers enjoy a competitive advantage, if they design and operate buildings and public spaces based on the evolving needs of users and other actors such as maintenance service providers. Being relevant to users and other actors requires a full range of services. Providing specialised or innovative services adds tremendous value to your contract. By translating user needs into desirable physical structures and innovative services, you become trustworthy partners for building owners and users.

Buildings are becoming multi-functional, and more than just a place to work or leisure. An understanding of future users’ needs helps property developers, architects, construction companies and facility managers build a physical structure that serves the users better. Doing so helps win future contracts as well.

Design with users in mind

By using the building lifecycle and adopting a user perspective, builders and their partners are able to incorporate the expectations from and the interdependence between various actors. These insights are useful from the stage of building inception to occupancy to refurbishment. Costs of operating a building could increase due to unforeseen user needs or lower-than-expected occupancy, which could be avoided if users and occupants are involved as early as in the design stage.

Be relevant to win contracts

Being relevant helps you win more contracts. Most of today’s rental contracts are full-service contracts. They provide “soft” services such as catering and cleaning, as well as “hard” services such as maintenance. When you become a one-stop shop for your tenants, you can up the game by providing specialised or innovative services that add tremendous value to your contract.

Engineering and architecture are useless without service design. There is no point investing in the pure physicality and technicality of any public service infrastructure if the service aspect is not well thought through and well planned.

Mr. Pansak, Chief advisor to the Prime Minister of Thailand

Meet evolving needs

User needs evolve throughout the building lifecycle in response to new technologies, new work concepts or demographic variables such as age. Innovations inspired by user needs boost customer satisfaction. One example of user-inspired innovation is a room and seat booking system that facilitates users to search for co-workers or available working space with specific facilities.

Serve upstream businesses

Companies that develop upstream services build on user needs and knowledge from the earlier stages in the building lifecycle. Maintenance companies that provide corrective or inspection services can find upstream knowledge by connecting with manufacturers. As an example, product knowledge revealed through conversations with manufacturers can be combined with proper spare part management to predict lifecycles and minimise the impact of maintenance on building user operations.

Downstream service development is built on an understanding of user needs during the usage stages of the building lifecycle. By listening to the needs of building users and maintenance service providers during the usage stages of the building lifecycle, construction and installation manufacturers may discover opportunities in the handover procedures of maintenance instructions or during rest points after delivery. Maintenance companies can offer suggestions for improvements that will help manufacturers improve their service and reduce costs during the maintenance period.

Collaborate to improve public spaces

Toilets are a consistent source of dissatisfaction in user surveys of public spaces. The issue is often not the lack of toilets, but inadequate signage to the closest ones. The same problem also occurs for information booths and street exits. Making these services a core part of the experience of public spaces requires collaboration between different parties who design, operate and manage the spaces.

Don’t forget the surroundings

For instance, people who use the metro and train stations follow a fixed number of paths as they enter and leave the stations. Understanding these movements over the course of the day can significantly improve traveller experience, by eliminating physical and service barriers and by providing timely information. The key is to incorporate the surroundings in the design of the station, in order to improve the traveller experience.

Be a trustworthy partner

Companies that develop building services based on user experience and needs enjoy a competitive advantage. By translating user needs and wants into desirable physical structures and innovative services, these companies become trustworthy partners for building owners and users.