With over a half-million facilities valued at more than $720 billion, the U.S. Department of Defense is one of the world's largest facility owners. Due to immense scopes and dynamic operating environments, managing and directing investments for these facilities presents a unique challenge, both at headquarters and at installations.
The BUILDER™ Sustainment Management System, developed by the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Lab, integrates engineering, architectural, and management business rules into a decision support tool. It provides objective, repeatable, and consistent facility investment guidance for asset inventory, condition, and functional assessment; maintenance and repair identification; and long-term forecasting and planning. The approach ensures that consistent results are applied across sites, organizations, and agencies.
BUILDER™ incorporates a novel knowledge-based inspection process that enables facility managers to match strategic mission objectives to inspection frequency and level of detail. Since condition degradation is only one aspect of facility performance, a complimentary functionality index measures obsolescence issues and user requirement gaps.
A prioritization system incorporates user-defined metrics to determine which investment requirements most support organizational goals. Finally, a forecasting engine allows users to simulate the consequences of their policies over multiple years, providing awareness and course-of-action analysis to evaluate alternatives to facility rehabilitation investments.
Success of the BUILDER™ is evidenced by widespread adoption. The U.S. Navy recently adopted BUILDER™ for its shore-side facility condition assessment program. Annual inspection costs now are $7 million, a savings of nearly 75 percent over previous annual expenses. DOD plans to adopt BUILDER™ as its quality rating standard for facility condition assessment.
Dr. Bergés is interested in making use of cost-effective sensor systems to automatically create models and generate insights that can be used to improve the behavior of infrastructure systems, prevent failures, and better plan for the future. He has been working on three different approaches related to this: appliance-level energy feedback through minimally intrusive strategies, sharing sensing and actuation resources at Internet scales, and unsupervised sensor fusion for proactive energy management
The concept of using a wireless sensor network (WSN) for civil infrastructure monitoring is not new. No one, however, has successfully developed a fully functioning WSN system for civil structures. Dr. Cho and his team have successfully developed two applications in WSN civil infrastructure management: (1) Bridge SHM (Structural Health Monitoring) and (2) Road Surface Condition Monitoring using a WSN with independent power supply, solar batteries.
Through the hard work of the Sensor Networks team, Intel Solutions Services, and Corporate Services, the wireless sensor network deployment in Hillsboro, Oregon, is showing promising results. Although wireless networks for predictive maintenance are in their infancy, several companies and research institutions are making the hardening of these technologies a high priority. Wireless is a good solution to address the needs of maintenance managers, who are trying to control costs and have control of their machinery. Wireless sensor networks provide a relatively low entry cost with many of the benefits of a more costly online wired system. It provides a path for plants to convert from the cumbersome, labor-intensive, walk-around methods to plant reliability by capturing data more frequently at a lower operating cost.