December 2020

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Ecosystem of Innovators in Building Services

It’s really all about better processes for environmental infection control.

Rick Rolston, CEO and Founder,
 BuiltSpace Technologies Corporation, Vancouver BC, Canada

EMAIL INTERVIEW – Rick Rolston, CEO and Founder, BuiltSpace Technologies Corporation, Vancouver BC, Canada & Ken Sinclair


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Rick brings over 30 years of experience in digital transformation within publishing, construction information services and facilities service/supply chain management.  Find him on LinkedIn at

BuiltSpace transforms traditional reactive work order tasks into proactive, “real-time” asset-centered maintenance, and data-driven building operational processes.

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Ken:  Rick, I enjoy reading your posts on LinkedIn.  Last year you often talked about sustainable buildings, HVAC, maintenance GHG reduction and energy efficiency.  Today your messaging is about #safeschools, #healthybuildings smart cleaning, microbial surface testing, ventilation, and environmental infection control.   Has BuiltSpace pivoted due to the coronavirus pandemic? 

Rick:  Not at all Ken. We’ve always had a focus on protecting people in buildings, but all within the lens of maintaining a sustainable built environment.   COVID-19 has disrupted the built environment, with public health authorities shuttering many buildings, and millions struggling to remain open.   We need to solve this problem urgently, to reopen and keep their facilities healthy and safe, hence my change in focus.    

Early in the pandemic, we worked with our landlord Bentall Green Oak to implement digital “smart cleaning” processes, critical to provide confidence that it’s safe to go back to the office.   We then partnered industry leaders in SARS-CoV-2 testing like LuminUltra to verify daily cleaning with microbial surface testing    We also continued to work with our building automation and service partners to integrate ventilation analytics and manage enhanced maintenance like filter changes, closing the loop on IOT data analytics, integrated with manual service delivery processes. 

Ken:  You’re messaging on social media about #safeschools and healthy buildings.   Is that just marketing fluff? 

Rick:  There’s certainly a lot of marketing fluff out there, with miracle anti-microbial sprays and hygiene theatrics.    I think that is causing confusion and delay.   Our safe schools and health buildings messaging is really trying to promote an industry led solution, using proven technologies.  We can’t do this alone, so we are building an ecosystem of innovators that can work together to get this done.

It’s really all about better processes for environmental infection control.  Much of the same stuff done in hospitals applied to schools, public and commercial buildings; like cleaning, disinfection, microbial testing, ventilation management and appropriate PPE, all supported by our mobile first cloud-based point-of-service processes.   We do the manual point-of-service stuff,  in front of the equipment, better than anybody else.  This outcome data closes the loop for IOT devices and predictive analytics.  

Ken:  Tell me about your work in microbial testing.

Rick: I don’t want to be critical of public health processes, but clinical testing of people for COVID-19 (the disease) is prohibitively expensive and doesn’t provide useful data for infection control.   Employers and facilities operator that their workplace environment is safe or healthy, with data driven infection control processes.   I propose that we limit clinical testing the people that already have the disease, to instead find the virus in the environment, giving use the data to prevent infection.  

Environmental microbial testing for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus in the environment), using the same gold-standard qPCR methodology used in clinical is not really new.  Rapid testing in buildings, can verify disinfection efforts, but also provide continuous monitoring of the environment (and indirectly occupant population) to provide early warning of new viral loads coming into the building.  Robust digital cleaning, disinfection and microbial testing, tracked in the BuiltSpace cloud, is innovative.  This work is currently being validated for deployment on a university campus, with our partners at LuminUltra.  Watch for a press release in the near future on these results.


Ken:  Rick, I read your post about a new partnership with Brian Turner and Buildings IOT, described as “BuiltSpace from Buildings IOT for healthy buildings”.  It got my attention.  Tell me what that means for our industry.

Rick:  Simple, we all need to work together to deliver innovation within the built environment.  BuiltSpace is building an ecosystem of innovators in building services, including cleaning, HVAC, automation, security, electrical, plumbing and all facilities services, to deliver safe and healthy buildings at scale.   We are all, together, the custodians of the indoor environment.  Together, we can get it done.


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