Inside the business of well-run buildings

/ EdgeProp
January 29, 2019 11:00 AM SGT
Sochi: We now have nine certified drone pilots. You can imagine someone young who’s into gaming – they’re probably pretty good at driving drones. Ten years ago, there wouldn’t have been such a job description in the industry. (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake sent tremors throughout northeastern Japan, setting off a tsunami that claimed almost 19,000 lives and inflicted irreparable damage across coastal ports and towns, estimated at US$199 billion. This was a particularly stressful time for Jun Sochi, who was based in Japan then, overseeing the facilities management business in Japan and Korea for Johnson Controls.
With rolling blackouts during the disaster, “we had to make sure that the buildings continued to operate and have backup power”, recalls Sochi. “It was also at a time when it wasn’t clear whether there was going to be another earthquake following right afterwards.”
Today, Sochi is the managing director of C&W Services Singapore, the facilities and engineering arm of Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).In his line of work, Sochi ensures that buildings are run well. This determines the comfort, safety and efficiency of a built environment, and covers aspects from plumbing, structural engineering, and electrical circuitry, to cleaning, security and reception services. For some of these services, such as security and cleaning, C&W works with third-party contractors.
Clients range from government agencies to large MNCs. Facilities managed by C&W Services cover a broad range, such as schools, retail malls, townships, sports venues, industrial sites, commercial offices and buildings with research and development (R&D) facilities such as Biopolis and Fusionopolis in one-north.
Fusionopolis, an R&D complex at one-north, is managed by C&W Services (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
The industry’s tectonic shift
Sochi believes that there are three trends underpinning a shift in the facilities management industry. First, technology has freed up manpower and made roles more multifunctional. An example is the use of drones that are flown across rooftops, scouring the surface for clogs in rain gutters. This is especially useful for maintenance across skyscrapers, removing the need for setting up boom lifts and scaffolding.
“Rather than sending a person up to inspect visually in each...