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Facility Maintenance Decisions

New Technology, Old Challenges





By Dan Hounsell   Maintenance & Operations

Technology marches on, and maintenance and engineering managers need to march on with it or risk being left in the dust of progress.

That said, managers also need to strike a delicate balance between keeping pace with high-tech advances throughout all areas of facilities and reminding all parties involved in facilities management and maintenance that focusing solely on the next technology is a short-sighted strategy, at best.

Increasingly, maintenance managers and their departments are involved in the planning for new construction and major renovation projects. In our Mission Support coverage this month, Associate Editor Renee Gryzkewicz spotlights the central role played by the Portland (Wash.) School District’s maintenance department in setting priorities for installing advanced HVAC technology in district schools to control energy costs.

That kind of involvement among maintenance and engineering managers can only benefit both departments and their organizations. Maintenance, after all, knows best that the promises of advanced-technology applications in facilities are destined to fail if organizations don’t properly consider the post-installation maintenance issues.

But as essential as this level of involvement is, it threatens to overshadow what might be an even more pressing issue for many managers — namely, the ongoing attention required by existing facilities, which, after all, tend make up the majority of the maintainable square footage for most managers.

In his article on page 10, “IAQ and the Aging Facility,” James Piper outlines the maintenance considerations for key components of HVAC systems in the nation’s aging buildings to ensure the health of the indoor environment.

While managers have access to new technology designed to make all indoor environments healthier, managers face tougher challenges when the spaces in question are in decades-old buildings that feature antiquated materials and that struggle to provide proper indoor air quality for the numbers and types of operations and occupants they now house.

Keeping pace with technology no doubt is one strategy managers can apply to all aspects of maintenance and engineering. But reminding all parties involved that facilities will only support the organization’s mission if they through thorough maintenance in all areas might be the most beneficial strategy managers have at their disposal.




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  posted on 1/1/2004   Article Use Policy

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