Column: Savings Strategy — Try Before You Buy

By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor  

“Try before you buy” sounds like helpful advice for maintenance and engineering managers. But after the nation’s busiest airport avoided a costly purchasing mistake due to smart planning, managers of institutional and commercial facilities can’t be reminded enough to try products before purchasing them.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently completed a retrofit of more than 2,000 toilets and urinals to comply with state water restrictions. The project resulted in savings of 55 million gallons of water a year.

When I asked the project manager about unexpected surprises during the project, he mentioned occupant complaints about overspray from the urinals and a resulting change of fixtures. I immediately thought of escalating project costs. How costly of a setback was this for the massive retrofit? The manager’s answer eased my concerns.
“By installing prototypes from three different manufacturers (before the project began), we were able to obtain feedback from the public and our maintenance department on the performance of the fixtures,” he says.

Avoiding costly overruns and delaying an important project were two reasons why Atlanta’s “try before you buy” plan is a winner.

Managers looking for more financial management strategies can check out, “The 5 Biggest Financial Mistakes Managers Make” by Andrew Gager in this month's issue.

Dave Lubach offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.

Agree? Disagree? Have something to say? We want to hear from you. Visit myfacilitiesnet.com/davelubach, and start a conversation.

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  posted on 11/26/2013   Article Use Policy

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