I recently attended the National Facilities Management & Technology Conference/Exposition (NFMT) 2015 in Baltimore, MD. The exposition is a conference with trade show open to members of the construction, design, and facilities management communities. The conference consists of a large number of 50-60 minute classes, covering a wide array of subjects of interest to managers and designers. Some of the classes were clearly oriented toward managers, and provided little information for the initial design of a project, but there were classes that provided very good information regarding design. These classes, in particular one regarding “smart buildings”, contained a lot of information to help designers use elements in buildings that will make life easier on facilities managers once the building is in use.
The trade show portion of the NFMT exposition is clearly aimed more at the facilities managers that the conference is designed for. A high percentage of the products being shown at the trade show were designed for owner/facility manager use, i.e. maintenance equipment, replacement equipment, and cleaning solutions. There was a small percentage of equipment there that designers would have an interest in, Assa Abloy was there with door hardware information, Sterling was there with plumbing equipment, etc. There were a lot of lighting solution companies there, most companies were showing their latest energy saving solutions. As we all know, energy savings solutions are very important to owners and users, and should be incorporated into a project from the beginning. These newest technologies are available and can be incorporated into building design today, and will only improve with time.
After attending the NFMT 2015 conference, I would recommend the conference, particularly the classes, to any designer with a client that is willing to put the effort forward for an efficient and/or connected building. The classes provided at the NFMT provided some excellent information to help create a building that is an easier turnkey operation for ownership.