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Developing a Plan for Paints and Coating Projects
To get the most out of any painting and coating application, managers must have a plan. Such projects involve too many factors— evaluating needs, type of paint to use, how often to paint, and scheduling projects, to name a few — to fly by the seat of the pants. Comprehensive planning enables managers to get the most from paint and coating applications by maximizing efficiency and productivity.
Start with a survey of a facility's interior and exterior areas that require regular painting, including mechanical, electrical, and safety equipment. Based in part on past performance, establish a painting cycle that sets the frequency for each area. It is not enough to say that building interiors will be painted every seven or ten years. Different areas have different levels of wear and tear and, thus, require more or less frequent painting.
For each area, identify the best time to complete the project. For exterior projects, that task depends on the local climate. Managers must schedule applications when temperatures and humidity levels are within the manufacturer's application requirements. For interior projects, the best time to paint depends on the activities performed in the area.
In some cases, it might be possible to work without disrupting activities, while in others, workers might have to perform their tasks during unoccupied hours. And in still others, occupants and activities might have to temporarily relocate. Planning allows managers to cluster projects with similar requirements, thereby minimizing costs and disruptions.
Managers also should consider getting expert help in selecting the most appropriate paint or coating for an application. Facilities often hire consultants to help select colors so the finished work can project a certain image. It is even more important that managers use expert help to select the type of paint that provides the optimum performance. Advances in paint and coating formulas are difficult to keep up with without expert assistance.
James Piper, P.E., is a national consultant based in Bowie, Md., with more than 25 years of experience with facility management and maintenance issues.