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Most maintenance departments regularly repaint areas of their facilities, whether to improve an area's appearance, prepare a new area for occupancy, or prepare an existing area for new tenants. Despite the commonplace nature of these projects, they can be complex, and they present numerous opportunities to make a wrong move that can prove costly.
"The one that we hear about most often involves incorrect paint purchase," says Debbie Zimmer with the Paint Quality Institute. "For example, the paint just might not be spec'ed correctly from the standpoint of what it's going over. Is it going over cinder block? Is it going over sheet rock? What is the substrate or the surface the product is going over? So the painters get to the job and are unprepared. They don't have the right materials in front of them."
Occupants and other interested parties in facilities are paying more attention to the colors of various components in their workspaces. As a result, managers looking to minimize time and labor commitments for painting projects can benefit from doing their homework ahead of time. Zimmer points out the perils of color choices.
"You think the color's going to be A, and when it's applied, it looks B," she says. "It can be a big problem in any facility or area because it requires a whole re-work of the paint or more paint purchased. I have seen or heard about this more often in a school environment, as opposed to a hospital environment. It might be that the manager might not have experience in that area, so when they put the bid out, they don't necessarily have all the details they really need."
The issue of sustainability also is a higher priority for occupants, creating another situation in which managers who are not careful in their specification can drive up project costs.
"I think (sustainability) is becoming more important because of the continually changing regulations and because of the nature of who resides in these buildings," Zimmer says. "The public is much more aware and would be delighted to know that the products being used in a school or a hospital are sustainable and that (managers) are providing healthy indoor spaces."
The real challenge in this case for managers is staying abreast of the way new emerging paints and coatings might help them address sustainability issues.
"Managers spend a great deal of time specifying paints and coatings," Cusumano says. "But the technology behind paints and coatings in terms of sustainability is changing fast, and it's hard for managers to keep up."
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