The Olympic Ideal, Maintenance Style

By Dan Hounsell  

For ideals people can admire and even emulate, the Olympics are hard to top. Preparation, perseverance, and the much-talked-about going for the gold are among the ideals that shine in the Olympic spotlight every four years.

In some cases, the Olympics offer ideals that even entire organizations can take to heart — individuals working as a team toward a common goal, for instance.

Sometimes, Olympic ideals are less noticeable. In the case of the 2012 Summer Olympics, maintenance and engineering managers might want to take note of discussions going on related to facilities.

One aspect of the Olympic experience generally lost in the shadows is receiving a much-needed airing in New York City, which is bidding to host the games:

What happens to the new and improved Olympic facilities when the athletes pack up and leave town? The Olympics are notorious for producing grand settings for athletic events that become white elephants after the games end.

Planners in New York City say they have gone to great lengths to plan new-construction projects and building upgrades that will leave the city with facilities that residents can continue to use.

For years, maintenance and engineering managers have pressed the issue of long-term plans for facilities and, more specifically, ensuring funding for their operations and maintenance. Few institutions have hosted the Olympics, but many have undertaken new construction projects and retrofits. Unfortunately, their planning too often has failed to include a discussion of long-term maintenance and operations.

Most importantly, too few organizations build adequate long-term maintenance and operating costs into project budgets. This oversight leaves managers to figure out how an existing budget will cover the costs to maintain and operate new and upgraded facilities and the technology they contain.

Translating this discussion of long-term funding for maintenance won’t take an Olympian effort. But it will take preparation, perseverance and teamwork.

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  posted on 7/1/2005   Article Use Policy

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