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Facility Maintenance Decisions

Training Programs Essential to Maintenance Departments

By James Piper, P.E.   HVAC

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Training Issues for Energy-Smart Boilers and Water HeatersPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Plenty of Options for Boiler and Water Heating Training Programs

One common reason that training programs for those operating boilers and water heaters often go unfunded or underfunded is that managers do not always justify their costs. The need for and the cost-benefit of training might seem evident to managers, but it usually is not to those who control the budget.

Many top executives consider maintenance training something that simply happens on the job. Few understand the complexity of today's boilers and water heaters or the economic consequences of improper operating and maintenance practices.

So managers must develop a cost justification for the training program. They are competing with other departments and programs for funding. If they cannot demonstrate the value of the training program in economic terms, they will not get proper funding. Without proper funding, they will waste time begging or stealing funds from other programs.

Managers can work with the equipment manufacturer to determine the energy-efficiency cost benefits the facility could achieve by keeping the system operating at peak, rather than current, efficiencies. They also can calculate the benefits of proper maintenance in extending the service life of the equipment. If managers can trace past system outages to the lack of proper system maintenance, quantifying the cost of those outages will help make the case for training.

Training Options

One of the most appealing characteristics of training programs today is that they are available in a range of formats. Educators have long understood that some people learn best in instructor-led programs that are very structured, while others learn more effectively in hands-on workshops and still others learn best in individualized, self-paced programs. The key to success is understanding the subject matter of the training program and matching it to the learning styles of operators and technicians.

Managers also have a range of options for delivery, which allows them to more readily match the program to the operation of the facility. At one end of the spectrum is an off-site program, which can last anywhere from several hours to several days. If scheduling is an issue, vendors can set up programs within the facility. System manufacturers frequently use both of these delivery options, depending on the facility's needs. If certification is an issue, many local trade schools and community colleges offer programs.

The Internet has proven to be a valuable format for training programs. Students can proceed at their own pace and at their convenience. Vendors often organize courses to allow students to choose those topics that would most benefit them while bypassing the more basic ones.

Continue Reading: Boilers and Water Heaters

Training Issues for Energy-Smart Boilers and Water Heaters

Training Programs Essential to Maintenance Departments

Plenty of Options for Boiler and Water Heating Training Programs

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  posted on 4/27/2013   Article Use Policy

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