Five best practices for maintaining an efficient facility
Every industry follows certain best practices, and they are deemed so because these practices have shown results better than other means and are an improved method of performance. As such, best practices become a benchmark and serves a standard by which other practices can be measured. Facility management is no exception, and some of the industry’s best practices are outlined here.
When it comes to building maintenance, there are certain key cleaning practices that are proven to preserve the appearance and durability of a commercial facility, helping companies lower their costs.
Creating an efficient and organised FM workspace is the first step towards a clean and well-maintained facility. This workspace sets the expectations of the cleaning standards the company adopt and can leads to more productive cleaning staff. For example, there should be enough space to store cleaning equipment and supplies. Mops, brooms, cleaning products and personal protective equipment must be easily accessible to the staff for efficient maintenance of a facility or commercial building.
Cleaning requirements may vary from one sector to another. For instance, healthcare laboratories, hospitals and food manufacturing facilities may have higher cleaning requirements to ensure low levels of potentially harmful contaminants. They may also require more sophisticated equipment for cleaning such as air movers and sanitising solutions. Complying with the cleaning code set by the government, based on the facility’s type of business, is essential to maintaining high cleaning standards.
Staff training is another key practice in the cleaning industry that affects the efficient maintenance of a building. Effective and streamlined training of the cleaning staff keeps them safe from accidents and helps establish an efficient janitorial workspace, as well as keeping the facility clean.
Building repairs and maintenance
Effective operational repair and maintenance is one of the most cost-effective methods to maintain a safe, effective and energy efficient facility. Operations and Maintenance (O&M) refers to the control and upkeep of property and equipment. It covers activities, processes and workflows necessary to preserve the facility.
Improvements to a facility are an essential aspect of the O&M. This can involve the systematic maintenance of the building, as well as maintaining indoor air quality and cleaning, as well as the maintenance of the cleaning equipment itself. Companies can lose a lot of money on energy from steam, water and air leaks, along with uninsulated lines or malfunctioning and inoperable controls.
One of the most important aspects of O&M is sustainability. A well-run operational repair and maintenance program ensures that it is resource-efficient while maintaining the comfort, health and safety of the building occupants. It should conform with local legislations or recommendations concerning energy and water conservation.
Preventive maintenance is much less costly than repairs and renovation work. Thus, regular building inspection is required to spot various building maintenance issues.
Building safety: fire, water, smoke and mould damage
Fire and water can severely damage or destroy a commercial building facility. Educating employees with the safety tips and proper use of tools (such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems) in case of emergencies is one of the best practices that companies adhere to.
Smoke alarms and detectors notify employees immediately when fire strikes the building. This gives the O&M team more time to put the fire off before it spreads to everything in the property. Such tools should be checked regularly to ensure that they are working and avoid inconveniences during a fire breakout.
Water damage can be as destructive as fire. All buildings are unique, but the risk of water damage is the same. From minor roof leaks to broken plumbing systems and destructive weather, water intrusion can significantly impact the value of a building or property. Unwanted water intrusion can cause various problems to a building facility, one of which is mould build-up. In addition to causing major business interruption, mould can also pose serious health risks to the building occupants, and removal and restoration costs both time and money. Proper operation and maintenance of the facility’s HVAC system is essential in reducing the risk of water damage in any commercial facility.
However, if one of these incidences does occur in a facility, calling a professional restoration company to address fire, water and mould damage problems is the most important step.
Building security systems
Regular maintenance ensures that the security and safety systems of a facility operate as they should. Building security and safety are crucial to facility maintenance. These include security cameras, intrusion detection systems, alarms, smoke exhaust systems, UPS systems, and data communication systems.
The number one priority of every business is to reduce costs and maximise profits. Thankfully, the technological advancements in building maintenance and security have been modified in the recent years to aid energy management. For instance, with smart security systems businesses can control variables like temperature and lighting. Meanwhile, wireless security systems are cheaper yet provide wider coverage than traditional wired systems.
Furthermore, the automation capabilities of building security systems allow for easy access to data anytime and anywhere, and ensures a timely response to security threats. Using automation features, the security team can also set the system in a way that it sends an alert to their computers or smartphones when certain unusual activities occur.
Energy conservation and weatherproofing
Weatherproofing refers to the steps taken during building design or retrofitting to enhance the level of energy efficiency by reducing unintended air and heat exchange between indoor and outdoor spaces. Because the process entails closing gaps, it is also called ‘tightening’. Energy efficient facilities use less electricity, gas and water.
There are different ways to reduce unplanned air leakage in buildings. One method involves sealing cracks, gaps and holes, and another is sealing air distribution systems. Gaps and holes in air handlers and ducts result to air leakage, and air-conditioning units may need to operate for longer periods in order to correct the hot-cold temperature imbalances, therefore increasing energy use.
Building maintenance can be a complicated process with lots of factors and workaround involved. Thankfully, there are key practices and tools that companies and building owners can adopt in order to preserve their property and reduce the cost, from janitorial cleaning and maintenance to operations repair and management, fire and water damage prevention and restoration, to energy efficiency strategies.
Megan Jones is a blogger, mother of two children and camping lover who specialises in writing about building maintenance and damage restoration topics. More of her articles can be found on aerindustries.com, the website of a US company that provides high quality water damage restoration equipment.