Building Operating Management

Potential Business Downtime, Staffing Needs Critical Considerations for Painting Projects

Second of a two-part article explaining the steps to take to ensure painting projects get off on the right foot.

By Maryellen Lo Bosco   Paints & Coatings

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Successful Painting Projects Require Plenty of Front-End Planning Pt. 2: This Page
Potential Business Downtime, Staffing Needs Critical Considerations for Painting Projects

Down time for the business must be factored into painting costs because it is not advisable to paint around workers, customers, or tenants, says Crissinger. “I don’t care what the paint manufacturer says; there is no such thing as odor-free paint,” he says. “And HVAC systems should be secured so that the smell is not transferred to occupied areas.” Solvent-borne paints with higher VOCs dry very fast for recoating, he says, which shortens down time. Some low-VOC paints can also dry quickly.

Whether or not a paint gives off a noxious odor is not necessarily correlated with how low or high the VOCs are in the paint, says Carroll, but a public response to an odor can create serious problems for a facility manager, which is why it’s important to avoid people’s exposure to paint fumes.

If business will be interrupted or suspended, facility managers have to be involved in determining when and how. Moreover, in cases in which an entire operation has to be shut down to get a paint job done, it is important to make sure the project is done right the first time, since a paint failure can result in a second suspension of operations to fix the problem, which is hardly cost-effective.

Enough staff?
Facility managers also have to decide if they have sufficient staff for a job. Some facilities, such as school districts, can do a reasonably good job of painting themselves, says Crissinger. Sometimes in-house staff is capable and available for painting projects, but the in-house staff doesn’t have the equipment a contractor might have, Crissinger says, such as a spray gun to cover a very large area with three coats of paint.

“In thinking about interiors — cleanliness and appearance in public places — it is effective to use in-house people to brighten up a room,” says Carroll. “There’s nothing necessarily technical about it, and you haven’t lost a whole lot if someone picks the wrong color. But exteriors need special coatings and qualified (and sometimes certified) applicators, so you can obtain warranties for the work done.” In those instances, it is best to call in professional contractors.

Any paint job will require some upkeep. “Maintenance means cleaning and touch-up,” Crissinger says. “A good system does not need to be touched up and can be hosed off or wiped clean.” Nonetheless, even a high-performance paint system used on outside storage tanks or pipes will chip and has to be maintained, he says. “Some paints are more resistant to impact, abrasion, and chemicals, and a facility manager has to figure that out — some paints work well on exteriors, and others do not.”

For exterior projects, another consideration arises. “If you look at the exterior overcoat of a masonry building, for example, the cost might be fairly inexpensive, with minor preparation on a schedule over three to five years,” says Carroll. “But there gets to be a point that you build up layers of coating and develop other problems and then need a full removal to reestablish the life of the paint job.” The removal can cost four to five times as much as the paint job, he explains, and the facility manager has to determine what makes sense financially.

“You can continue to overcoat, even after experiencing problems,” he says. “A proper life cycle would be three to four overcoats and then a full coating removal to establish a new life cycle.”

Maryellen Lo Bosco is a freelance writer who covers facility management and technology. She is a contributing editor for Building Operating Management.

Email comments and questions to edward.sullivan@tradepress.com.

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  posted on 3/17/2017   Article Use Policy

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