Tips for the buyer: Data from the built environment

Tips for the buyer: Data from the built environment

September 2, 2022

Dozens of systems and solutions and thousands of sensors produce data in a single medium sized office building. The data can be related to indoor climate conditions, process transactions, or e.g. energy consumption. This valuable data and the data producing technical environment can induce benefits but also unexpected costs.

To open the discussion and to smooth the path to the right direction in your building renovation or construction project, check through at least the next points and agree on them in solution delivery contracts. 

  1. Who owns the data? 

The built environment produces a huge amount of data and a complex multi-directional data flow. This data can be reached by solution providers using remote connections but also local maintenance service providers or even the end users of the building. But who owns this valuable asset? 

  1. How to ensure the integrity and reliability of the data? 

Integrity and reliability are one of the most important factors from the perspective of data usage. So, how to ensure data accuracy? What is accurate data or information? What are the controls needed to ensure integrity and reliability?  

  1. Is the data truly available and usable from the data owners perspective? 

Sometimes it may happen that the data is available only via the user interface and even without copy-paste functionality. On the other hand, some ambiguity in the ownership question may arise in case of rented space. Who is the one producing the data? Who can use it? Who can even sell it forward? Is the data usage mentioned in the rental agreement?  

  1. How is the data maintained and used and with what kind of user rights? 

How is the environment maintained? Is the data processed manually or automatically? Who or which systems have access to the data and with what kind of user rights? Are the dangerous user access combinations prevented? Can data be removed and how? Will the removed data be really deleted and when should it be deleted if it should? 

Digitalization of the built environment brings more complexity to the construction project affecting the whole life cycle of the built environment. This is why it’s important to identify the dependencies of the technical solution environment as well as the process environment. And the clear statements regarding responsibilities in the agreements are how to make it possible to clarify the costs and opportunities for savings but also smooth the transition from the construction phase to the maintenance and the whole  life cycle. 

Tips for the buyer: Data from the built environmentHanna Pikkusaari
Smart technology advisor, IT & OT expert and speaker