• Technical Services
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  • Operations in Commercial Buildings

We’re writing about this because it comes up in conversation with clients and vendors a like;
for example, a vendor whom provides mechanical services was asked to provide our client with a preventative maintenance agreement for “X” services in “Y” building. Logical enough, we thought, but the price was considerable.
Our client came back to us because their vendor, whom was incumbent at the time and had a good crew of technicians with considerable local knowledge.

open drain which has a broken pipe in basement car park

Plumbing Maintenance Drains


The client did not want to go to market, but when the price for the new preventative agreement for the mechanical services, with the incumbent, was so high, they felt no choice.
There was clearly a miscommunication, and all though the agreement was labeled a preventative agreement, the terms were nearly that of a comprehensive agreement.
Lesson learned by both parties.
(Now they have us looking after their FM to reduce this kind of thing, but I digress)

These miscommunications which lead to assumptions will always occur, but this is an attempt to assist to reduce that reoccurring.

Let’s begin with a few of our definitions:

Running Man Green exit sign

Emergency Exit Light

Emergency Maintenance – Very Urgent!

We’ll define this where there is a clear safety issue which needs immediate attention.
Common sense plays an important role here and so does caution, it’s better to err on the side of caution and give consideration to the weakest possible human situation rather than taking a “wait and see”, no one ever got sacked for looking after the safety of others (lets hope not anyway)

Reactive Maintenance – Urgent!

We’ll define this as an emergency maintenance, for example, the elevator stops, the roller door on the car park has jammed, or the cool rooms refrigeration system has faulted. The reactive maintenance is urgent for the mitigation of loss either via the cost of a hardware product item or via the cost of time.

Corrective Maintenance – somewhat urgent.

We’ll define this as equipment failure which can effect either essential or non-essential equipment but is not critical to its function and consequently not urgent, i.e. today urgent. You would not place an after-hours call out for this failure, but first thing the next business day. For example the door to the fire stair will not close properly, this is part of the essential services, but, in our opinion, not critical to its function.

The Vendor will invoice you a “do and charge” fee at an hourly rate, plus call out plus parts and maybe travel.

Unscheduled Maintenance – can wait

We define this as maintenance which effects performance but not so adversely that the tenants of the building are in any real discomfort or danger, should the effected part be in the essential services; for example, the repair of faulty lighting. Unscheduled maintenance can increase in urgency if it is left unchecked. Don’t put it off, the longer you do the more likely it will cost more and the more likely there will be a greater volume of complaints.

Fan coil unit drip tray which is in a poor state due to lack of care

Lack of Maintenance can cause harmful bacteria

The vendor may do the work under a service agreement, if asked, but keep in mind, if they do the repair, they are not doing the maintenance.

Preventative Maintenance (planned) – regular attention, Parts are additional

We define this like the servicing of your car, changing the oil, if it isn’t done, there will likely be a failure which could result in corrective or reactive maintenance and cost a lot more and cause severe inconvenience. Generally these have agreements in place with suppliers for a regular site attendance.

Comprehensive Maintenance (planned) – regular attention, Parts are included.

We define this like the servicing of your car, changing the oil, if it isn’t done, there will likely be a failure which could result in corrective or reactive maintenance and cost a lot more and cause server inconvenience. Generally these have agreements in place with suppliers for a regular site attendance.

Repairs

We have specially avoided this word, the reason is that a technician may carry out repairs as part of a comprehensive, preventative, scheduled, planned or unplanned maintenance. The word “repair” also triggers a budgetary response issue. I’m sure you have heard the term “R & M Budget”, which is “Repair and Maintenance”. Let the accounting manger decide which action or task goes to which budget and where. Beware the situation which you a calling a “repair” may, in fact, be a “replacement” and consequently go to the “CAPEX” or “Capital Expenditure” budget.
The word “repair” can lead to misunderstandings because it is used within the different types of maintenance and has an accounting budgetary response.
Let the accountant decide, they will ask you questions if need be. Our caution, is avoid the use of the word “repair”, unless instructed.

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