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Facility Maintenance Decisions

By Dan Hounsell   Maintenance & Operations

Back to basics amid shifting priorities

Four e-mails in the last week have reminded me just how straightforward and complex maintenance management can be at the same time.

A manager’s job these days involves shifting priorities that include both big-picture issues — project planning, budget management, regulatory compliance, and staff training and retention, among them — and smaller, system-specific considerations that include HVAC efficiency and water-saving plumbing systems.

The temptation for many managers is to move the larger issues up the priority list and leave the rest to sort themselves out. But problems with one of these seemingly less complex priorities can undercut that strategy.

The role of roofing
Take roofing, for example. As any manager knows, roofs suffer tremendously from being out of sight and out of mind. Because of this attitude, few people in most organizations pay much attention — until problems arise. But when that happens, building occupants demand quick action because roofs protect both the facility itself and its often costly internal operations.

So, given that roofs provide this crucial layer of protection, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that the four e-mails in this case involved the process of troubleshooting and repairing roofs.

All four e-mails asked about a recent article on electric field vector mapping (EFVM) technology, which uses a wire loop around the roof perimeter introduces an electric potential. The structural deck becomes the lower electrical plate, enabling technicians identify and locate small leaks. EFVM technology has been used in Europe for some time and is making its way to the U.S. market.

It’s not unusual for me to hear from managers seeking information on a product they’re looking to purchase or preparing for a renovation project. It is unusual to get four e-mails in one week looking for help with the age-old problem of fixing leaky roofs.

Maybe their arrival can serve as a reminder that, for all of the complex challenges and issues facilities present, maintenance and engineering managers would be wise to leave room on their priority lists for other, more straightforward issues that are just as essential to the success of organizations.

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  posted on 5/1/2006   Article Use Policy

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