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When specifying product for retrofits, it is important for managers to remember that plumbing products need maintenance from time to time given their frequent and use.
"The repairability aspect is very important," Fitzgerald says. "Anybody would be naïve to think they're going to put in a flush valve or faucet, either an electronic one or manual, and believe it's going to last forever. There are components in those products that have to be repaired."
Among the issues for managers to consider when specifying product is the ability to access parts when repairs are necessary, especially if a product is discontinued, Fitzgerald says.
"The one thing on the commercial side that's really appealing to facility people is you can repair a product, and there's a longer lifetime for that product," he says. "The other aspect, which becomes a lot more difficult to determine, is lifetime cost. Everyone looks at that initial cost of a product, but once you establish it, there's a known understanding of how long that product lasts."
Managers also need to resist the urge to specify products based on low initial cost.
"There is sometimes a misconception that using the least expensive products will be good enough to get by," Haas says. "While the least-expensive products may help short-term budgetary constraints, they don't take into account life-cycle costs, product durability and quality, and the labor and replacement costs involved with servicing products. So while they may save money on the retrofit up front, future costs such as maintenance, additional parts, and replacements will be higher in the long run."
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