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Cleaning Procedures for Green Buildings

Cleaning products like ammonia and bleach are effective in killing germs and getting rid of dirt and dust. However, they also can pose a serious risk to people's health. Rather than jeopardize the integrity and wellness of your building, you can protect the health of people inside of it while disinfecting and keeping the premises sanitary by utilizing green cleaning procedures.

What is Green Cleaning?

Green cleaning involves using cleaning products, equipment, and supplies that pose no risk to the environment or human health. More facilities managers are adopting green cleaning procedures because studies have shown that most people spend close to 90 percent of their time indoors. As such, they need to be able to breathe air that is clean and safe rather than laden with chemicals and residue from cleaning products.

In fact, scientific studies have shown that the quality of indoor air is often just as polluted and toxic as the outdoor air in urban areas. People who breathe in residue from spray cleaning products and chemicals stand a greater chance of developing respiratory illnesses. This chance is magnified if the building does not have a good ventilation system in it.

Even if your building has a high-quality ventilation system, you may still want to adopt and use green cleaning procedures. You will protect the respiratory health of people in your building while still getting the clean and sanitary conditions you are expected to maintain as a facilities manager.

Steps for Green Cleaning

You might be wondering what green cleaning procedures involve and how different they are from the procedures you use now to clean your building. In reality, green cleaning is not all that different from regular cleaning. Your primary goal is to clean the premises albeit while reducing or eliminating indoor air pollution.

You can start by purchasing and using green cleaning products. These products range from recycled and soluble paper towels to carpet deodorizer and paint that are free from toxic fumes and dangerous chemicals.

Most green cleaning products today are denoted by the Greenguard certification, which means they are guaranteed not to release volatile organic compounds or VOCs into the air. They also are formulated to avoid polluting the soil, water, and other elements in the environment.

Another green cleaning tip involves using magnetic door mats at or near the entrances of your building. These specially designed mats draw dirt and dust from the bottom of people's shoes.

Less dirt and dust tracked into the building means that you have to use fewer indoor cleaning products like bleach or ammonia. Your floors stay cleaner and require less scrubbing and mopping because of these mats.

Even so, you still might want to dust mop the floors in your building on a daily basis. Rather than use a harsh chemical-laden floor cleaning product, you should use one that is water-based. A water-based cleaner protects the indoor air quality without compromising the cleanliness of the floor.

Likewise, you can avoid using an excess amount of cleaning products by using a sustainable floor coating on your building's floors. The sustainable floor coating protects your floor and prevents dirt and debris from becoming ground in them.

Your floors will require less maintenance and will not need to be spray buffed, burnished, deep scrubbed, or stripped as often. You avoid using an excess amount of chemicals on the floor while also reducing labor costs for your building.

Finally, you should switch to using a high-efficiency filter in your vacuums. Most carpets can hold up to 10 times their weight in dirt and debris. This residue gets grounded into the carpeting and is difficult for standard vacuum cleaners to pick up and remove. You may have to use harsh chemical-laden products like sprays and foams to loosen and remove the debris.

A high-efficiency vacuum filter, however, is powerful enough to remove the dirt and dust without the use of foams, sprays, and other carpet cleaning chemicals. The filter also traps the debris and prevents it from being spit back out by the vacuum into the carpeting. High-efficiency filters are typically certified green and ideal to use when you are adopting green cleaning procedures for your building.

As a facilities manager, you are expected to keep your building sanitary and clean at all times. You do not have to use products that contain harsh chemicals that could harm people's health as well as the environment. You can get the sanitary conditions you want and maintain them easily when you use green cleaning procedures in your building.

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How Efficient are Solar Panels in Bad Weather?

Solar panels are becoming more commonplace in homes and businesses across the world. They help home and business owners save money on their electric and heating bills. They also generate safe, green energy without having to use fossil fuels like coal or gasoline.

If you have contemplated installing solar panels in your building, you might wonder how they perform in overcast weather. You may be convinced of their worth by discovering their efficiency in all weather conditions even when the skies are cloudy.

Solar Panels and Cloudy Weather

A big misconception among people who do not own solar panels is that these fixtures have to be exposed to intense and bright sunlight in order to work properly. After all, they cannot generate power if the sun is not shining down on them, correct?

In fact, this belief is entirely wrong and one that solar panel manufacturers and companies are trying to dispel. They want home and business owners to know that solar panels do not require bright, sunny skies in order to function. They can still generate energy even when the sun is overcast by clouds.

Just as you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day, so too can solar panels absorb sun rays on days that are overcast. Some sunlight still gets through the clouds, allowing the panels to generate electricity and power for the building on which they are installed.

However, the amount of energy they produce on cloudy days depends on factors like how thick the clouds are. On days that are heavily overcast, the panels might generate around 10 to 25 percent of their capacity, which still would make an impact on lowering your energy bills.

Solar Panels and Snow and Ice

Another misconception among home and business owners is that solar panels will not work if they are covered in snow and ice. In fact, these panels rarely become piled up with snow and ice. They are typically installed at an angle so the precipitation slides off of them especially when they become heated after absorbing the sun's rays.

If you live in a part of the globe that experiences a lot of ice and snow, you can still get a good return on your solar panel investment. Solar panels are designed to function even when it is snowing or icing outside. They will still generate safe and clean energy that will reduce your building's carbon footprint and lower your utility costs.

Solar Panels and Cold Weather

Just as they perform well in snowy and icy conditions, so too do they function the same if not better in locations that experience cold weather. They do not require hot and sunny conditions to work as designed. In fact, studies have shown that solar panels do just as well or better in parts of the world that have colder weather.

For example, places like San Francisco, New Jersey, and New York are among the top 10 solar power locations even though these places experience colder weather than other parts of the country. The panels actually generate less energy when the weather is hot and muggy outside and the sunlight is beating directly down on them.

Solar Panels and Hail Stones

At first glance, you might assume that solar panels are delicate and fragile fixtures. They look like they might shatter into a million pieces if they were ever hit with a hail stone.

However, these panels are actually designed to withstand direct impact from debris like hail stones. They undergo mandatory testing before they are ever sold and installed in homes and businesses to make sure they can hold up in stormy weather.

Studies have consistently shown that hail stones, even sizable ones, cannot break or shatter the solar panels. It would take a significant storm to compromise the structural integrity and the generating power of solar panels.

Solar panels do not need direct sunlight and warm weather to function correctly. They can absorb light from the sun and generate safe and efficient power even on cloudy, stormy, and cold days. Their versatility allows them to be installed in many locations around the world and return a buyer's investment without consuming fossil fuels like coal or gas.

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Is Geothermal Heating and Cooling a Viable Alternative?

As a facilities manager, it is up to you to keep the costs of running your building as low as possible. As summer or winter approaches, however, you might find yourself worrying about rising energy costs. Your solution could be to install a geothermal heat pump system that can help lower utility expenses and give you a steady return on your investment.

What are Geothermal Heat Pumps?

A geothermal heat pump is an environmentally friendly system that can both heat and cool a business or home. It does not need fossil fuels like coal or gasoline to operate. Instead, it harnesses the geothermal heat from within the earth's underground to maintain a comfortable temperature in the building.

These systems are energy efficient and cost effective, allowing building owners to save significantly on their utility bills. However, they also reduce the carbon footprint of a business or homeowner.

They do not require a lot of space in which to be installed. While some systems can be installed horizontally in a field in a rural setting, systems that go into urban buildings can be installed vertically sometimes in a space as small as a dining room table.

Once installed, these systems go to work right away harnessing the temperatures from the earth's underground to cool or heat the building. With proper care, the interior parts of the system can last for as long as 12 years.

The pipes installed under the ground can last for as long as 50 years. This longevity means you get your money's worth out of the geothermal heat pump before you have to replace or repair it.

Further, most geothermal heat pump owners see savings of 60 to 70 percent off their utility costs within the first year alone. You can recoup the total cost of the system within five to 10 years after you have it installed.

Finally, building owners who choose to install geothermal heat pump systems in their buildings often have a unique opportunity to take advantage of incentives and tax credits. A number of utility companies are offering rebates to customers who install these systems in their buildings. The rebates can range from $1000 to $6000 with the average rebate being around $4000 per customer.

You can also claim credits on your taxes after installing one of these systems. You can deduct up to 30 percent of the installation cost from your taxes, helping you recoup some of the money you spent on the geothermal heat pump system.

The monetary advantages that come with geothermal heat pump systems can make this heating and cooling choice more attractive to you. You can save money on your building's utility costs while still keeping it cool or warm during the summer and winter.

Additional Information about Geothermal Heat Pumps

If the cost effectiveness of these systems has yet to convince you, you might be swayed by discovering the versatility that geothermal heat pumps can offer to customers. Along with heating and cooling your building, a geothermal heat pump can likewise be installed and used to heat pavement right outside of your building's doors. The heated pavement prevents ice and snow from accumulating during the wintertime.

Further, the rejected heat from the system can be used to heat outdoor pools, hot tubs, or fountains. You can enjoy these fixtures all year long knowing that the water in them will remain thawed by the geothermal heat pump system installed underneath them.

Finally, as a facilities manager, you might pay attention to state of the local economy. When you invest in a geothermal heat pump for your building, you contribute to the productivity and health of the economy.

All of the system's pumps and parts are made in the U.S. The manufacturers of these systems boost the local economy by creating more jobs. Likewise, contractors who are hired to install these systems benefit by hiring more workers and putting money back into the economy.

A geothermal heat pump system can reduce the costs involved with cooling and heating your building. You can keep your expenses low while helping to boost the local economy by investing in a geothermal heat pump for your building today.

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A Brief History of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time impacts everyone who has to live by a schedule, from students, to farmers, to facility managers. Every year, we lose one hour of sleep in the spring, only to gain it back come autumn. How did the whole process of springing ahead and falling behind begin, and does it benefit us?

The History of Daylight Saving Time

Benjamin Franklin is sometimes credited as the "inventor" of Daylight Saving Time, after he penned a satirical letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris in 1784. In his letter, "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light," he jokingly suggested making people get out of bed earlier in order to save on candles. In 1905, an Englishman named William Willett campaigned for the adoption of what he called "summer time," or moving clocks forard by 80 minutes during the months of April through October. Sadly, he died in 1915 without ever seeing his idea put to use. For the real creators of Daylight Saving Time as we know it, look to Canada and Germany.

Daylight Saving Time, or DST, got its start in Canada in 1908. People living in Port Arthur, Ontario, turned their clocks ahead by an hour on July 1st, 1908. Gradually, other areas of Canada began to follow suit. By 1916, the practice of DST was established in bylaw. Still, despite DST's success in Canada, it didn't really catch on until Germany decided to adopt the practice. Two years into World War I, the German Empire employed DST in order to lengthen the workday by an hour and thereby reduce the use of indoor lighting and save fuel. Other countries embroiled in WWI followed suit, though most of them dropped the use of DST after the war.

When World War II began, the practice was re-adopted and stopped at the conclusion of the war. In the US, some areas continued to use DST even after the practice was officially halted, resulting in a chaotic patchwork of areas with different times. In 1966, DST in the US was finally given some consistency with the Uniform Time Act, which both standardized DST and gave states the option of remaining on standard time year-round. Today, Arizona (with the exception of the Dine’é reservation), Hawaii, and overseas US territories do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

The Modern Impact of DST

Though Germany originally instituted Daylight Saving Time as a means of conserving fuel otherwise spent on indoor lighting, it's debatable whether following DST actually has any tangible energy benefits. As many facility managers can attest, changing the clocks doesn't really result in lower energy consumption. A study by the US Department of Transportation found that the total energy savings due to DST only amounted to about one percent. Unfortunately, the increased use of electric heating and air conditioning more than makes up for that savings. There is also evidence to suggest that gasoline consumption increases during DST, as people take advantage of that extra daylight hour for leisure activities.

DST can affect more than just energy use, too. Facility managers may find themselves dealing with clocks that need to be manually adjusted, and some automated systems that need extra attention navigating the time change. There's some evidence to suggest that DST impacts the body's circadian rhythm, triggering underlying health conditions and resulting in more accidents by sleep-deprived people. Workplace accidents and employee absenteeism often increase briefly right after the time changes, until employees are able to adjust to the new schedule.

Contrary to popular belief, Daylight Saving Time has nothing to do with farming. (In fact, many farmers were strongly against it!) If you live and work in an area that uses Daylight Saving Time, you've probably noticed some of the impact it has on you and your workplace. Though it has its roots in conserving energy for the war effort, it is debatable if DST still provides a benefit to either businesses or residential areas.

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Does Your Building Need an Electrical Service Upgrade?

The electrical wiring in your building plays a crucial role in your convenience and safety. When it has reached its point of usefulness, it may be time to replace or upgrade the entire system. These circumstances should signal to you that it is time for an electric service upgrade in your building.

Insufficient Number of Outlets

When you do not seem to have enough outlets for all of your electrical gadgets, you should take this as a sign that it is time for an electric service upgrade. Running extension cords and power strips from the outlets may give you the power you need for now. However, it also poses a fire and electric shock risk to the rest of the building.

Rather than use multiple power strips and extension cords for your TV, phone charger, computer, and other devices, you can get the number of outlets you need by rewiring your building and putting in new outlets. This option can be easier and less risky for your home or business. It also lowers the chances of a fire breaking out because of an electrical overload.

Flickering Lights

Another tell-tale sign that it may be time to upgrade your electrical system is if your lights regularly flick on and off without warning. For example, when your lights flicker as your air conditioner comes on, it could signal that your building is not getting enough power. You are using more power than for what your building was designed.

Upgrading the system will prevent the lights from flickering on and off whenever other electrical devices power on in your home or business. It also provides your building with enough power to operate safely on a daily basis.

Changes to the Electrical Code

Cities and states make changes to the current electrical codes all of the time. Builders may follow the most current code when creating a new building, only to find out that the code was changed shortly before the project was finished.

Even if you live in a new home, chances are that the electrical codes are currently or will shortly be outdated. When you want to keep your place updated with the most current electrical code, you should follow the recommendations as laid out by city or state code enforcers.

Some of the changes may include getting rid of outlets that are located on the kitchen back splash. It also may require you to put in more outlets in the kitchen, which could in turn force you to rearrange your appliances. Nonetheless, your home will be up-to-date with the most current electrical code until it is changed again in the next few years.

Energy Code Changes

You also may need to upgrade your electrical service whenever there is a change to the energy code. The code's most recent update recommended the installation of LED and compact fluorescent lighting, for example. It recommended that incandescent lighting be eliminated.

It also recommended that every room in a home or business have light switches that are easier to use and control. These changes are designed to prevent the overuse of electricity.

Deteriorating Electrical System

Finally, your home or business may need an upgrade to its electrical system if its current one is quickly deteriorating. The system may be deemed to be deteriorated or out of compliance if its wiring insulation is not up to code.

Further, the conductors in the system should have flexible insulation. If the insulation is brittle and weak, it could lead to a line-to-ground fault. This in turn could result in a risk of fire and electrical shock.

To replace the deteriorated system, you should ensure that the new wiring is suitable and capable of carrying the expected electricity load. You should also replace old wiring with new conductors that are capable of carrying a greater capacity.

These signs should indicate to you that it is time to upgrade the electrical service in your building. The upgrade will reduce the risk of fire and electrical shocks. It also will help your building use electrical power more efficiently.

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Restroom Maintenance Technology

Restrooms are a bit of a necessary evil. Virtually no one enjoys using a public restroom, and no one enjoys having to keep them maintained. It's a dirty, expensive, often inefficient job, but someone has to do it. Poorly-maintained restrooms have a negative impact on employee presenteeism, workplace hygiene, and customer satisfaction. Fortunately, new advances in restroom maintenance technology are helping to make an unpleasant job far more streamlined and efficient.

Taking the Guesswork Out of Maintenance

Technology hasn't advanced to the point where fully automated restroom maintenance is a feasible option for facility managers -- maintenance staff are an invaluable part of keeping restrooms hygienic, working, and well-stocked. Unfortunately, these staff members are often overworked and under-informed, forced to rely on manual checks to tell them when something needs to be cleaned, refilled, or repaired. The average maintenance worker also can't readily supply information on things like traffic patterns, and ordering cleaning supplies can be a matter of guesswork for the purchasing department. Utilizing facility management software and sensors is an easy way to simplify restroom maintenance by providing information that unconnected restrooms can't.

Monitoring Hygiene Compliance

Only about two thirds of Americans regularly wash their hands, and roughly 70% admit to not using soap when they do. Even if you aren't managing a hospital, this is a pretty disturbing statistic. Food service facilities and even office buildings all require a hygienic environment in order to operate effectively. Doorknobs, keyboards, and telephones are all breeding grounds for pathogens from contact with unwashed hands, and frequently vectors for illness. Monitoring hygiene compliance can help facility managers ensure that employees are following the proper hand washing protocol, reducing the spread of bacteria and viruses and, in turn, reducing lost productivity due to absenteeism.

Analyzing Traffic Flow

Some restrooms just see more use than others. This can be due to a lot of factors, including scheduling, location, and even general atmosphere. The trouble is, the places that see the most use aren't necessarily the ones that receive the most attention. Few things will turn people away faster than a grimy, smelly restroom. This can negatively impact employee productivity as they seek out a cleaner one, and create a poor impression of the company for customers and visitors. Knowing which restrooms see the most use makes it much easier for facility managers to prioritize maintenance tasks, ensuring that the busiest places are cleaned and restocked as often as they require. It's also helpful as part of an analysis of a facility's overall traffic, which can help guide other maintenance decisions.

Saving Time and Money

Checking soap and toilet tissue dispensers manually is a tedious process that's often easy for a rushed maintenance worker to overlook. Unfortunately, empty dispensers have a negative impact on employee hygiene, restroom use, and the overall impression of a facility. Monitoring technology allows maintenance workers to skip manual dispenser checks entirely -- automated sensors can tell them exactly what needs to be filled, where, and when. This saves them time and energy, reduces waste, and keeps restrooms running efficiently. In turn, it provides data that facility managers can use to help determine the allocation of their maintenance staff and respond to maintenance issues before they are formally logged (or even noticed) by employees or customers.

Dirty floors, foul odors, and a lack of toilet tissue, soap, and paper towels used to be a standard part of using a facility's restroom -- sometimes to the point where employees or customers would refrain until they could go home. Modern restroom maintenance technology helps improve the experience for both restroom visitors and maintenance staff, allowing restrooms to be cleaned, restocked, and kept in good repair with far greater efficiency. The end result is a healthier workplace, happier customers, more productive employees, and maintenance workers that are able to respond to problems as soon as they arise.

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Is it Time to Replace Your Building's Boiler?

As a facilities manager, one of your most important duties involves making sure the building's hot water boiler functions correctly. This appliance provides the building with hot water and heat and ensures that critical daily functions can be carried out efficiently.

Even so, you may wonder at what point you will need to have it replaced. You can know it is time to have it replaced by learning more about the tell-tale signs of an aging or malfunctioning hot water boiler.

Puddles of Water


Anytime you see puddles of water standing near or under the hot water boiler, you can be certain that it needs to be serviced if not replaced entirely. Puddles indicate that the boiler has sustained a leak somewhere in its system. Even the smallest crack in the boiler can result in a hot water leak that can be costly to repair.

Further, a water leak from a boiler leads to a host of expensive and devastating damages in your building. For example, standing water under or near the boiler invites fungus like black mold to take root and start growing in the floors, walls, and elsewhere. Mold can be costly to get rid of and dangerous the health of people who work or do business in the building.

Further, water leaks often rot the floors, walls, and sheet rock. Rather than face these costly damages, you can avoid them by having the hot water boiler serviced regularly and by replacing it when it has outlived its usefulness.

High Energy Bills


When the utility bills for your building start increasing steadily, you might suspect that the underlying cause could be a faulty hot water boiler. Boilers that have lived past their prime typically cause gas and electricity costs in a building to rise. The aged boiler must work overtime to produce the required heat and hot water, putting a strain on the building's utilities and thus raising their costs.

You can likewise know it is time to have the boiler serviced if not replaced entirely if you hear the appliance making knocking or banging noises or if you suspect that sediment has built up in the bottom of the boiler's tank. When these damages cannot be repaired, it is time to invest in a new boiler for your building. You could save up to 40 percent of your utility costs by purchasing a new boiler to replace an outdated one. 

Age


Boilers that are 20 years old if not older should be replaced immediately. Most of these appliances cannot last beyond 20 years. Once they reach that age, they have long lived out their usefulness to your building.

If you are not sure how old your boiler is, you should ask a service technician to examine it and estimate its age. Replacing an aged boiler not only reduces the costs of your building's utilities. It also ensures your building will have the heat and hot water it needs to function properly on a daily basis. 

Reliability


When it seems that you are having to have the boiler serviced numerous times each year, it may be time to have it replaced entirely. In fact, repeated malfunctions should be taken as a sign that your boiler has outlived its usefulness and no longer can keep up with the demands put on it. You will only waste money by having it repeatedly serviced.

Instead, you can save money in the long run by investing now in a new boiler for your building. The new boiler will be able to function at a more efficient pace, thus saving you money on both repairs and utility costs. It also will be able to keep up with the demands for heat and hot water placed on it.


Hot water boilers have finite lives and at some point will need to be replaced rather than serviced. These indicators should signal to you when it is time to invest in a new boiler for your own building. You can carry out one of the most important duties as a facilities manager by knowing when to have a new boiler installed.
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Staying Competitive in the Facility Management Sector

Smart facilities management is crucial when it comes to inhabiting work spaces and recruiting and maintaining talent. It has the ability to drive employee performance and increase productivity as well as maintain a company's competitive edge in the market.

Because of its importance, facilities management must evolve and change with the pace of the global marketplace today. These strategies could allow for your own building to stay competitive in the facilities management sector.

Value Creation

Until recently, one of the primary focuses of facilities management involved keeping costs as low as possible. You may have looked for every way to shave a few dollars off your building's operating costs. You aimed to reduce expenses while getting the most return for every dollar you did spend.

As facilities management strategies evolve, saving money will still be important. However, the main focus will shift to finding ways to create value with work space inhabitants and stakeholders.

You will need to adopt progressive technologies that will permit for increased mobility and provide for better conditions for training your employees. It also will allow for a healthier workplace environment that will increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, and minimize the level of stress.

Sustainable Energy Management

Another strategy that will come into play with tomorrow's facilities management involves increasing the sustainability of your building across all activities and platforms. You will need to rethink your building's existing assets and create a framework for it that is sustainable.

This could involve making life-cycle assessments and undertaking a new approach to life-cycle building management. It could also involve training employees themselves to maintain a sustainable workplace.

Regardless, your primary focus should involve finding cost-effective, sustainable ways to reduce energy levels, waste, and your building's overall carbon footprint. These methods will carry over to your main role of transforming energy management in your building, recycling, water management, safety, health, and other key aspects of effective facilities management.

Space Optimization

When it comes to reducing costs in your building, you could achieve your goal by optimizing the way that its spaces are used. To improve the use of space in your building, you can create flexible workstations for employees.

You also can redistribute workplace strategies and utilize mobile work spaces and mobile workers as a part of your approach to facilities management. Your focus should revolve around using less space with better space propositions.

The Best Use of Technology

Making the best use of technology is important to facilities management for several reasons. To start, it can impact the manner in which your building's employees perform their everyday jobs. It can also allow for the creation of different work spaces like assigned or shared workstations, virtual work spaces, home offices, or flexible offices.

Technology can also enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of work spaces and workplaces. You can take all of the available technology to support your building's employees while responding and proactively using it to leverage optimization in the workplace.

Personalized Delivery Service

Finally, competitive facilities management of tomorrow should focus on the creation of personalized service deliveries. Personalized service deliveries allow for supporting new ways of working and the creation of a fit-for-purpose approach to facilities management. It allows each company to be unique in this regard.

In fact, when workplace strategies among companies differ from each other, they permit customers to make demands for their individual specific and exact needs. Personalized delivery services go beyond the management of assets and systems.

In the near future, clients will require service providers to understand their businesses. You can thus train front-line service employees to deliver on that client understanding.

The future of facilities management will shift the focus from practices to which you are currently accustomed to strategies that will further enhance productivity, performance, and profit. It will require you to make the best use of modern technology while personalizing services demanded by your clients.

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Effective Management Tips for Property Managers

As a property manager, you are tasked with overseeing multitudes of projects every day. The property owners as well as the tenants on the property look to you to ensure these tasks get done on time and without fail. You can exceed their expectations and be a successful manager by using these tips for effective property management.

Be a People Person

Managing a rental property cannot be done effectively from behind a desk or while working in an office. In this career, you have to be a people person and ready to interact with a wide variety of people on a daily basis.

The people you can expect to encounter at any time in this job include the property's owners as well as maintenance staff and contractors like landscapers or roofers. You also will interact with people who live in the rental units and also prospective tenants who wish to apply for residency there.

To be a successful property manager, you must adopt friendly if not firm and professional behaviors when interacting with people on a daily basis. Being ready to greet and speak with a variety of individuals each day works in your favor when you are determined to be the best manager for the property.

Use the Latest Technology

Some aspects of your job will require you to use written communications like work orders or notices to enter rental units. However, the bulk of your work can be done effectively and quickly when you use the latest technology.

Property managers like you should feel completely at ease communicating with tenants, owners, maintenance staff, and others by text and email. You should also keep important documents stored and backed up on computer programs or even more ideally in secure cloud storage.

This technology not only safeguards important communications and paperwork. It also makes your job as a property manager easier.

Hire and Retain an Effective Team

Your job as a property manager will also be easier and more effective when you hire and retain a skilled team to work alongside with you. You may need to hire an office manager to answer phones and greet people who come into the office. You also may want to hire an assistant property manager who can help you with your daily projects and also act in your place when you take a day off or are busy handling other tasks.

Others that you might want to include in your team are skilled maintenance staff who can repair and maintain the rental units. You likewise will probably be tasked with choosing what contractors like landscapers, roofers, and plumbers with which to partner to manage the upkeep of the property itself.

An effective team will allow you to focus on the more important tasks assigned to you as the property manager. It also will improve the integrity and appearance of the property of which you are in charge.

Know the Current Housing Laws

It is imperative that you are knowledgeable in the current housing laws in your state. Housing and tenant laws vary from state to state. What is standard in one state could be entirely illegal where you live.

You can read up on tenant and housing laws by searching the Internet. You can also take courses offered by organizations like HUD to learn what laws to use and abide by while managing your property.

Carefully Screen Tenants

Perhaps the most important obligation you have as a property manager involves screening potential tenants carefully. You have a duty to the property's owner to vet and approve tenants who will pay their rent on time and also take care of their rental units.

You likewise have an obligation to the tenants who already live there. You do not want to approve the application of someone who may be a danger to the residents or at minimum be a nuisance with which they will have to deal on a daily basis. By carefully screening applicants, you can approve people who will be an asset to the community.

By following these guidelines, you could become the most effective manager for a rental property. You will satisfy the expectations of the person or people who own the property and also be a manager that your tenants can appreciate and feel comfortable approaching on a daily basis.

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Outdoor Workers and Heat Safety

Outdoor Workers and Heat Safety

As a facilities manager, you bear the all-important responsibility of keeping your staff safe in all kinds of weather. During the hottest months of summer, this burden can take on a unique challenge, however. You can ensure your workers' health by knowing what heat safety precautions to utilize during this time of the year.

Learn about the Dangers of Hot Weather

As the summer months get underway, the hot weather poses a serious hazard to people working outdoors. Statistics show that dozens of outdoor workers die each year because of heat stroke. Thousands more are sickened and hospitalized as the result of heat exhaustion.

Further, every industry can be affected by heat dangers but especially those like construction. In fact, 40 percent of outdoor workers who die from heat stroke work in this industry.

Regardless, heat stroke can affect anyone of any age even those who are young and seemingly in good physical condition. As a facilities manager, it is critical that you appreciate the dangers that come with working in hot weather. You should never assume that your employees are safe from heat stroke or heat exhaustion simply because they are healthy, young, and in good physical shape.

Plan Ahead

Once you realize the dangers of working in hot weather, you must then devise a plan ahead of time in case one of your workers does suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Your plan should include calling 911 and using cold compresses on the affected individual until help arrives. You should practice this plan often with your employees so everyone knows what to do if or when this type of emergency occurs.

Your plan should also include an element of prevention, however. You should educate your workers on how to work safely in hot weather and help them understand the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. By educating your staff, you can prevent this type of emergency and ensure everyone's safety while the weather is hot and humid.

Offer Plenty of Water

One of the most important things you can do as a facilities manager is making available cool, fresh, and pure water to your outdoor workers. You should place the container of water in a shaded or cool location so that it stays refreshing and cold for your staff. It should also be made available at no charge to them.

Likewise, you should encourage your staff to drink at least one quart of water on an hourly basis while they are outside. This precaution will keep them hydrated and could prevent them from suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Offer Shaded Resting Areas

You should also make sure there is at least one shaded place where your workers can go to rest while they work outdoors. Even if you have to set up a tent, you need to make sure your staff has a shaded area where they can go to cool off and recuperate from working outside in extreme heat.

You should make sure that they rest for at least five minutes on a regular basis anytime the temperature reaches higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important that you encourage them to rest before they start to feel sick or exhausted from the heat.

Use a Heat Safety Mobile App

Finally, you can keep your workers safe by downloading and using a NIOSH or OSHA heat safety mobile app. The app is available on both Android and Apple devices. It is designed specifically for outdoor workers who are exposed to heat while on-the-job.

The app also offers live-saving information for facilities managers, supervisors, and others in charge of outdoor workers. It alerts you to the precautions you should take to make sure everyone stays safe on the job site. The app is free to download and can be a valuable resource when you want to protect your employees from the dangers of working outdoors in the heat.

Working in heat and humidity can pose a serious risk to your employees' health. It is up to you as their facilities manager to keep them safe from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. You can prevent serious illness and deaths related to working in the heat by utilizing common sense heat safety precautions.

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