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Today's tip comes from Jim Piper, contributing editor for Building Operating Management. When a decision has been made to rent HVAC equipment, facility managers should evaluate a range of factors when selecting a rental partner. Here are some questions to ask:
• What pre- and post-rental services are offered by the rental company?
• Are there additional charges for those services?
• Does the company arrange and pay for delivery and pickup of the equipment?
• Is engineering assistance available to help with connecting the rental equipment to the existing building systems?
• What type of maintenance support does the rental company offer, and what is its guaranteed response time?
• Is the equipment maintained by the rental company's staff or is it contracted out to a service company?
• Where is the inventory of rental equipment located? For small items, most companies stock equipment locally. For larger items, such as building chillers and cooling towers, equipment is typically stocked at regional distribution centers. Depending on where those centers are located, the time and cost to deliver equipment may be excessive.
• What is the rental company's policy regarding replacing and updating equipment? In the past, it was not uncommon to find that companies were willing to rent out practically any age equipment as long as it was still operating. As could be expected, the older the equipment, the less reliable it was. Today, most rental companies tend to keep equipment for a period of time well short of its rated service life. That approach reduces operating costs while allowing the companies to provide the most advanced equipment possible. For the facility manager, there is the added benefit of greater reliability.