Fault Detection and Diagnostics for CRE Portfolios: Enhance Building Efficiency and Reduce Maintenance Costs

Published on 23 May, 2023read time 8 mins
Fault Detection and Diagnostics for CRE Portfolios

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, the demand for green and energy-efficient buildings is increasing. The commercial real estate (CRE) industry is no exception, and property owners are increasingly investing in measures to improve building efficiency and reduce energy consumption. One effective way to achieve these goals is through Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD), a process that identifies and diagnoses issues in building systems and equipment to optimize performance and reduce energy costs.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of FDD in CRE portfolios, how it works, and the benefits it offers. 

First, let’s start with a short introduction to Fault Detection & Diagnostics.

What is Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD)?

Fault detection and diagnostics is a process that uses advanced technology to monitor and analyze building systems and equipment for potential issues. It is a proactive approach to maintenance that can identify problems before they lead to equipment failure or increased energy consumption.

FDD works by collecting data from various building systems, including HVAC, lighting, and electrical systems, and analyzing it to identify inefficiencies and potential faults. The process uses algorithms and machine learning to identify patterns and anomalies in the data, allowing building managers to take corrective action.

Importance of Fault Detection and Diagnostics in CRE Operations and Maintenance

Fault detection involves a lot more than just passing a threshold. It’s about having a dynamic understanding of the environment and contextualizing the problem. Instead of alerting operators that there’s been a spike in energy use, the system identifies that the fan belt slipped, the motor failed, the equipment is short cycling, or pumps are not feeding the boiler and the system is going to run out of hot water.

Imagine you have a feedback loop, where when something goes wrong, you get your best engineers to investigate it. They can look at the data, look at the system, figure out the problem, fix it, and put the problem to bed. Fault detection technology bakes that knowledge into algorithms and this situation is reproduced hundreds, thousands, and millions of times, so next time it happens, we know exactly what’s wrong.

FDD can be a valuable tool for CRE portfolios because it helps detect and diagnose faults in the system, which can lead to significant savings in energy consumption and maintenance costs. By identifying issues early on, CRE portfolio managers can take action to resolve the issue before it becomes a larger problem, saving money and reducing downtime.

Some of the most important objectives of CRE operators and maintenance teams are:

Maintenance and repair

Proper maintenance and repair of facilities are critical for the smooth functioning of a building. CRE portfolios can face challenges such as delayed repairs, lack of preventive maintenance, and inadequate resources for facility maintenance and repairs.

Energy management

Energy costs are a significant expense for CRE portfolios. Proper energy management is essential to reduce costs, improve sustainability, and comply with regulations. However, many portfolios face challenges such as high energy consumption, outdated equipment, and inadequate monitoring and tracking systems.

Security and safety

CRE portfolios need to ensure the safety and security of their tenants and visitors. This involves managing risks such as fire hazards, workplace violence, and cyber threats. However, many portfolios face challenges such as inadequate security systems, lack of emergency preparedness, and inadequate training for staff and tenants.

Compliance and regulations 

CRE portfolios need to comply with various regulations related to health, safety, and environmental sustainability. These regulations can be complex and vary by location. Many portfolios face challenges such as compliance violations, lack of awareness of regulations, and inadequate monitoring and reporting systems.

Tenant satisfaction 

Tenant satisfaction is critical for the success of CRE portfolios. However, many portfolios face challenges such as inadequate communication with tenants, slow response times to service requests, and insufficient amenities and services.

Benefits of Fault Detection and Diagnostics for CRE Portfolios

Around 5% to 30% of the energy consumed in commercial buildings gets wasted because of equipment failure or operational faults. FDD provides proven solutions that improve the performance of buildings. At the same time, it brings comfort, reduces energy, ultimately saves time and money.

Implementing an FDD system in a CRE portfolio can bring several benefits, including:

Improved Building Performance

By identifying and diagnosing potential issues in building systems and equipment, FDD can optimize building performance and reduce energy consumption. This results in a more comfortable environment for occupants and lower operating costs for building owners.

Reduced Maintenance Costs

FDD can help reduce maintenance costs by identifying potential issues early on, before they lead to equipment failure or more significant problems. This allows building managers to schedule maintenance and repairs proactively, reducing the need for emergency repairs and unplanned downtime.

Increased Asset Value

By improving building efficiency and reducing energy consumption, FDD can increase the asset value of a property. This is particularly relevant in the current market, where green buildings are in high demand and can command a premium price.

Compliance with Regulations

Many countries and regions have regulations and standards related to building efficiency and energy consumption. FDD can help building owners comply with these regulations and avoid penalties or fines.

How Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) Works in CRE Portfolios

Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) in CRE portfolios involves several steps:

The goal of FDD is to reduce the underlying risk in the buildings and refine operations through monitoring, fault detection, and diagnostics. There is no need to worry if your process and system don’t include all the steps to their full extent. After all, FDD is a tool utilized in the digital transformation journey. Here’s know how it works:


The implementation of FDD starts from monitoring. Data collection plays an important part in fault detection. Hence monitoring is the prerequisite of FDD. The actual representation of the data comes from the quality. The use of technology like data historians and predictive analytics improves the monitoring capability. It helps organizations overcome data mismanagement.

Data Collection

Data is collected from various building systems, including HVAC, lighting, and electrical systems. This data is then aggregated and analyzed to identify potential issues.

Detection and Identification

The next step is fault identification and where did it occur. With FDD software, industries can detect and identify previous unnoticed deviations. It has the potential to simplify the system complexity.


The data is analyzed using algorithms and machine learning to identify patterns and anomalies. This allows building managers to identify inefficiencies and potential faults.


Faults may happen due to random malfunctions or issues in the process or operation. It takes time to understand the issue and minimize the probability of the faults. Hence, the diagnosis is necessary. Once the fault is detected and identified, the immediate goal is to take corrective action to rectify it. FDD determines the fault size, its impact on the system performance, and how it behaves at different times. A follow-up is a must while making an analysis and evaluation.

Repair and Maintenance

Based on the diagnosis provided by the FDD system, repairs and maintenance can be carried out to correct the fault.


FDD systems generate reports that provide building managers with a detailed overview of building performance and potential issues. These reports can be used to prioritize maintenance and repair activities and optimize building performance.

Key Considerations When Implementing FDD in CRE Portfolios

When implementing Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) in a CRE portfolio, there are several key considerations to keep in mind:

Integration with Existing Systems

FDD systems should be compatible with existing building systems and equipment to avoid the need for costly upgrades or replacements.


FDD systems should be cost-effective and provide a positive return on investment (ROI) for building owners.


FDD systems should be user-friendly and easy to use for building managers and operators.

Data Privacy and Security

FDD systems should have robust data privacy and security features to protect sensitive building data from cyber threats.

Take your CRE operations to the next level with Fault Detection and Diagnostics from Xempla

Fault detection and diagnostics is an essential process for CRE portfolios that want to improve building efficiency and reduce operating costs. By collecting and analyzing data from various building systems and equipment, FDD can identify potential issues and optimize building performance.

Looking for a reliable FDD solution for your healthcare facility? 

See how Xempla helped this prestigious commercial real estate facility in the UAE achieve a 12% increase in energy savings and eliminate 25% of planned maintenance tasks. 

Ready to get started? Book a free tour of Xempla today!