Thursday, October 8, 2009

Safety Comes First - Facilities Maintenance

By Peter Kerr

Facilities maintenance refers to the range of disciplines that are part of maintaining a building or other property. This includes taking care of the locks, working elevators, electricity, plumbing, heating and cooling of the building and anything that comes up in ensuring that everything in the building works properly. Facilities professionals take care of all technical issues that the occupants of the building don't want to have to worry about. This makes it an extremely valuable service.

Usually in an office or residential building there will be a facilities manager on staff, who normally lives on site for maximum availability. Facilities maintenance may be necessary at any time of day or night, if someone is locked out or gets stuck in an elevator. In less dramatic situations, maintenance is also required on a general level, such as daily cleaning of facilities.

If changes or renovations to a building are required, this can fall under the category of facilities maintenance. A building may need to be gutted and updated to meet safety requirements, or aesthetic changes may be wanted. This normally occurs with changes in flooring, such as the installation of new carpeting or the replacement of old carpeting in favour of hardwood or tiles floors. With changes in real estate trends, maintenance can make or break a sale and make more attractive for its current occupants.

It's also important to stay one step ahead of facilities maintenance for health reasons. Especially in damper climates, mould and mildew can take hold of a home, thus creating a variety of health problems. Regular cleaning helps prevent this, but at times more drastic procedures will be required, like taking out mould-infested walls and redoing them with mould-resistant materials and drywalls for instance. The same can hold true for houses that have lead paint or asbestos. There is no need to live with these kinds of health hazards in the home.

In a retail setting, facilities maintenance adds an extra value, cos in retail or office settings the occupants want to wow the clients or customers with a clean, modern, and inviting space. This requires the height of cleanliness and the peace of mind that everything in the building is in good working order. For this reason, normally a retail store or similar type of building will have their own facilities manager as part of the staff, similar to the facilities arrangement in an apartment building.

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