One of the essential foundations of facilities management is addressing the existing and potential issues of a facility. Knowing facility issues’ scope helps facility managers understand the building needs and upkeep trends that affect the maintenance budget and cost planning.
Every type of building is confronted with different tangible concerns that vary from construction, electricity, and plumbing. For commercial buildings, building managers rely on durable flooring systems, such as conductive epoxy flooring, to prevent hazards in the workplace and protect the safety of the occupants.
If you want to ensure productive and efficient management of your facility, it’s important to be aware of the common challenges faced by facility managers and how to address them.
Setting the Right Maintenance Budget
Building maintenance involves a lot of budget constraints. It’s especially challenging for building managers to manage irresponsible occupants who refuse to pay maintenance fees. As a result, the building manager has to plan and distribute the available budget carefully.
There are plenty of ways to implement cost control. One way to control maintenance costs is to acquire a series of quotations consisting of detailed specifications of the product or service. This allows you to have a clearer perspective on the proposed specifications and pricing for comparison. You can also conduct an interview to determine if the proposal adheres to the management’s requirements. From there, the management will ensure justified budget spending with no additional cost for addressing the wrong buying decisions.
Another way is to integrate environmentally friendly solutions to energy consumption, such as solar panels. Although the initial investment can be quite costly, investing in energy-saving solutions yield greater returns in the long run. You can also allow more natural light to come in to avoid unnecessary use of electricity during the day.
Still, it’s not always easy to foresee what the building needs over the short and long term to stay fully operational and in good condition. If the facility involves board members, it’s essential to get their approval for the proposed budget.
Assessing the facility condition can be a great starting point when faced with budgetary concerns. Conducting a facility condition assessment (FCA) will help understand the present and future needs of the building. An FCA often includes information, such as deferred and routine maintenance needs, the remaining lifespan of equipment/systems, and a list of necessary repairs. With an FCA, you can easily justify funds or request a larger budget so that maintenance tasks won’t come as a shock.
Keeping Accurate Data Recording
Maintaining accurate data recording and analysis is one of the biggest challenges in facility management. Managing a building means taking charge of different systems within the facility. If you don’t have the data for these systems, this can lead to time-consuming and expensive problems.
For example, if there is no previous maintenance record on the building’s HVAC system, there’s no way of knowing the next service schedule. Allowing it to run longer without undergoing maintenance can lead to potential breakdowns, which can be a waste of time and money. The same issue applies to other electronic devices and furniture pieces. Carpets that aren’t properly maintained have a shorter lifespan than those that receive regular maintenance.
Building managers can monitor all maintenance activities related to maintenance frequency, expenses, service providers, and warranty period with a maintenance record. This data can help you establish a system to monitor the maintenance work and service done to every system. This way, you can ensure everything is properly maintained, and you can monitor service patterns, which can determine the right time for repairs or replacements.
Preventing Outages That Lead to Long-term Problems
Unexpected outages are an inevitable part of facilities management. But the main purpose of addressing them is to reduce their time span to avoid long-term inconveniences. If left unchecked, a system malfunction can result in canceled events or unwanted publicity.
We would sometimes hear headlines about apartment buildings leaving residents in poor conditions, such as water shortages or a power outage that can last up for days, weeks, or even months.
This is where predictive maintenance comes in preventing unplanned outages or building issues. For example, some high-tech facility systems come with data analytics features and advanced sensors to alert the building manager before an issue occurs. This will give the manager more time to respond to the problem before it leads to significant disruptions.
No matter the type of building you’re managing, maintenance is critical in preserving the safety and well-being of its occupants. By considering the potential challenges and respective solutions, it’s easy to improve the overall building operations and offer a better experience to the occupants.