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Considering the responsibility resting on the shoulders of maintenance and engineering managers, opportunities to step back and look at the big picture are few and far between.
Sometimes, though, certain activities force facility professionals to avoid tunnel vision and assess their facilities and operations from a holistic perspective. For example, retrocommissioning is a strategy managers can use to assess the performance of equipment, analyzing the way systems have changed since the day they came online.
Managers often hire a third-party representative as part of the retrocommissioning process, typically an agent or consultant. That individual works in conjunction with the manager and staff, but because the consultant has no background on the facility the team is retrocommissioning, he brings a fresh perspective that is not skewed by the history of the equipment or the building's performance.
"That's the key point right there is the fresh set of eyes that can examine, look, and understand how the systems were set up and designed to be utilized originally," one manager told me.
Another manager I spoke with lauded the ambition and positive energy the consultant on his retrocommissioning team brought to the table. The consultant's vigor for saving energy trickled down to the manager and his technicians, leading to innovative ideas and a renewed sense of ownership within the department.
Nobody knows their facilities better than maintenance and engineering managers. But because they are so attuned to facilities' day-to-day operations, projects such as retrocommissioning are necessary to avoid losing sight of activities that improve organizational health in the long term — the big picture.
Chris Matt offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.
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