4  FM quick reads on flooring

1. Flooring: Working with a Contractor

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is working with flooring contractors.

In cases where managers decide to outsource floor care, the real solution in reducing costs comes from selecting certified, qualified technicians who know the craft. Unfortunately, managers too often select contractors based on the amount they charge, as opposed to the company's skill level. Managers should not have to spend time with crews explaining the tasks. Instead, they should be able to rely on the contractor to understand the job.

When managers rely on unskilled building service providers, managers will have to spend time telling them what to do, as well as when to do it. Ultimately, this situation leads to a floor-maintenance program that has specific requirements at designated intervals, and an inflexible schedule is rarely conducive to efficient floor care.

A rigid program can result in services performed in areas that do not need it and negligence in areas that need more attention. A knowledgeable service provider will have the ability to make the necessary adjustments to meet the manager's objectives.

Certified providers are trained to identify different floor coverings and understand the requirements for maintaining each type, including the most effective chemicals, the proper equipment for the greatest efficiency, the best tools and materials to accomplish the task, and the frequency with which to do the job.

Using certified technicians ensures the floor-maintenance program delivers tangible benefits. By maintaining the floor when it needs to be maintained and consistently keeping it in the best condition, providers can help managers and their organizations save a great deal of money.

Floor Maintenance: Chemical Considerations

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is understanding the chemicals for flooring maintenance.

Chemicals form the cornerstone of a floor-maintenance program, and the costs of these chemicals are on the rise. Cleaning crews can protect the flooring material by removing soil and contaminants and applying coating chemicals.

When looking strictly at chemical costs, managers often believe they can effectively cut costs by buying bargain-price chemicals. This is a common mistake managers make because they do not fully understand floor-maintenance chemicals.

Most managers view cleaning chemicals as generic, but as with all products on the market, cleaning chemicals include performers and non-performers. Departments waste many labor hours using non-performing chemicals they expect to work. The real cost of floor maintenance is in the labor.

Managers also can reduce chemical costs by purchasing concentrated chemicals or incorporating proportioning systems. Concentrated chemicals deliver more cleaning power with less packaging, and proportioning systems reduce chemical use by providing precise measurement for the chemical-to-water ratio.

One major cost component of hard-floor maintenance programs relates to coating chemicals, and these prices also keep increasing. Again, buying more generic floor finishes might seem like a cost-effective decision. But in the long run, these finishes have a tendency to break down, ultimately costing more in labor to restore and maintain an acceptable appearance level.

Finding Coordinating Floorcoverings

In a facility that requires many different types of flooring, look for flooring companies who manufacture more than one product or have a partnership with other manufacturers. This will usually ensure that the different types of floorcoverings will work together aesthetically, creating a coordinated environment in your facility.

For example, hospitals use many types of flooring in close proximity to each other. Vinyl in patient and operating rooms for hygiene, linoleum in hallways for sustainability reasons, and rubber in nurses' stations and stairwells for safety and comfort. Companies that manufacture all three types of flooring, or that have partnerships with other flooring manufacturers, often carry the same color and pattern choices throughout their product lines. That makes it easier for facility executives to choose different floorcoverings that color coordinate and give their facility a pleasing aesthetic.

ADA: A Clear Path

I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is accessibility.

Restrooms in institutional and commercial facilities receive a large part of the attention given to accessibility. But before many visitors with disabilities ever get to restrooms, they confront challenges related to facility components that include entrance doors, ramps, water fountains, handrails, wheelchair lifts and elevators.

Consider the category referred to as accessing goods and services. This category encompasses everything on the interior path of travel, including corridors, lobbies, elevators, wheelchair lifts, store doorways, and offices. The ADA access guidelines address aisle widths, heights of products, sales and checkout counters, and other amenities associated with transactions that take place. To provide a clear path for accessing goods and services, managers need to consider these issues:

Lobby floor surfaces should be smooth and slip-resistant. Be cautious of floor-waxing products that become slippery when wet. They are trip-and-fall hazards, as well as potential personal injuries, waiting to happen.

Next, when using carpet runners at doors and lobbies, make sure the edges are secured to the floor and don't curl or bunch.

Next, make sure printed directories are readable, use larger print, and are not behind a reflective surface. An alternative is to use security staff to provide assistance and directions to visitors.

Finally, make sure items such as hanging artwork and fire-extinguisher boxes aren't mounted between 27 and 80 inches from the floor and don't protrude more than 4 inches from a wall or 12 inches from a post. Visitors and occupants with visual disabilities using a cane would get no warning before walking into these protruding objects. Either move them to another location - or more than 80 inches above the floor - or place something underneath them to provide a warning.


flooring , outsourcing , floor care , maintenance and operations

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