Upcoming Meetings

May 22
Jun 12

June 2019 Chapter Meeting

Annual Showcase, Bahamas Trip & Panel Discussion

Register Now

Jun 24

June 2019 Board Meeting

Monthly meeting of the Board of Directors

Blog

The Many Benefits of Ground Maintenance

The Many Benefits of Ground Maintenance

It may be easy to discount mowing, raking, pruning, and other upkeep of your commercial property as irrelevant and unimportant chores. However, it actually does have critical consequences for your building. You may commit yourself fully to high-quality lawn care by discovering how it benefits your Long Island building’s appearance, safety, and cost efficiency.

Increased Revenue

Having a well-kept landscape for your Long Island business can significantly increase its revenue and profitability. In fact, one study showed that effective lawn care can increase rental rates in a commercial building by as much as seven percent. Further, respondents to the survey reported being willing to spend as much as 10 percent more on products and services if a building in Long Island and elsewhere had high-quality tree canopies and other landscaping features.

Moreover, people surveyed about how important landscaping is to where they shop or do business at responded that would be willing to travel greater distances to businesses that had well-kept properties. They also would spend more time at these commercial districts if the properties were well groomed and visually appealing.

Reduced Heating and Cooling Costs

Effective landscaping can also make a significant impact on your building’s utility costs. During the summer, for example, you may spend thousands of dollars keeping the building at a cool and constant temperature. However, the sun and heat streaming in through windows can make your efforts more challenging during the hottest times of the year.

When you plant and maintain trees that can grow and provide shading to the building, you provide a natural barrier against the heat and sunlight. The shade from the trees can help keep the building’s interior cooler during the hottest months of summer. In turn, you spend less money on air conditioning bills.

Likewise, well thought out landscaping can keep your building warm in the winter. Shrubs planted along the bottoms of windows and along the foundation can keep heat in during the cold winter season. Vegetation planted strategically along the bottom level of the building can act as insulation when the weather is at its coldest.

Improve Safety

Vegetation like shrubs, flower beds, and small trees can also provide a safety barrier for your commercial property. When you plant them under and along the windows on the building’s ground level, you make it more difficult for burglars and trespassers to break into the building. They may be unable to climb over the vegetation to breach the windows and gain access to the business. 

Along with installing a security alarm for your building, you can also discourage break-ins by planting strategic vegetation like cacti, flowering shrubs, and thorn bushes under and along windows. Trespassers may decide the effort is not worth the risk of breaking into the business.

Improve Mental Health

Attractive landscaping can also improve the mental health of people who work or do business within the building. Studies have shown that visually appealing gardens significantly reduce stress levels in people. It also improves health outcomes of patients who can see these gardens from the windows of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical facilities. 

Given the positive impact of beautiful landscaping on people’s mental health, facilities managers have seen an increased demand for gardens for hospitals and healthcare facilities. FMs can play a key role in lowering stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions in people who visit their buildings. 

Noise Reduction

Finally, practical lawn care can reduce the amount of noise that comes in and out of your building. Trees, shrubs, and flower beds can absorb noise pollution and prevent it from going into the building or out into the neighborhood. When noise levels are a concern, you can effectively minimize them by planting vegetation like trees, shrubs, and more around your commercial property.

As a facilities manager, you have the responsibility to maintain your property’s lawn and garden areas. You can appreciate this task even more by realizing the positive impact it has on numerous facets of your building.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Keeping a Facility Running During Expansion or Renovation

Keeping a Facility Running During Expansion or Renovation

Most buildings at some point need to undergo renovations or expansions. Few older buildings can accommodate the hectic pace and increased volume of today's consumers. They must be renovated and expanded in order to serve the public better.

When you plan on renovating or expanding the building in which your own organization or company is located, you might wonder how you can remain open for business without impeding the construction projects. By keeping these tips in mind, you could keep your doors open while meeting the demands of your public and still affording the construction crew the room they need in which to work.

Coordinating Your Daily Operations around Construction

During the renovation or expansion work, you will need to figure out how to run your organization or business without getting in the way of the construction workers. If possible, you could simply relocate some or all of your business's operations to another part of the building. If you have rooms in the building currently not being used, you could move your employees, equipment, and other daily operations to these areas while allowing the construction crew to work in parts of the building where you normally have operations set up.

If you cannot completely relocate to another part of the building, you may need to do mini-relocations during the expansions or renovating. While one hallway or corner of the building is being worked on, you could have your employees share office spaces until the work in that part is finished. You can continue in this way until all of the construction work is done.

If it is impossible to relocate even small areas of the building during the construction work, you may need to ask the remodelers to do their work during the evening hours or on the weekends. This accommodation would allow you to continue to run your business during normal working hours and remain completely out of the way during the after hours when the construction crew is on site.

Reasons to Stay Open during the Work

You might wonder if it is best for you just to shut down during the construction project. Depending on the industry in which your business or organization operates, you may not be able to and may even be required by law to keep your doors open.

For example, if yours is the only hospital or medical clinic in the county, you may not be able to safely close your doors until the remodeling work is finished. Patients who come to your facility for care could experience dire illnesses that could put their health at risk. In this instance, you could incur fines or penalties from government regulators and the state medical board if you shut down during the construction.

Likewise, if you run a school, you cannot really shut your doors during the school year. By law, students have to be educated. They cannot transfer to another school until your building is renovated. You have to remain in operation even while the work is ongoing.

Finally, if you are a business owner, you may not be able to afford to shut down if you want to continue to make a profit. You still have bills and employees to pay. How can you do that when the doors of your business are closed and you have no money coming in? Staying open during construction work is the only way you can generate revenue. 

Hiring a Contractor

You might be able to minimize the amount of time you have to coexist with a construction crew by vetting contractors for the job thoroughly first. Before you hire one to do the renovation and expansion work, you may want to find out details like:

  • Whether or not the contractor has done projects like yours before
  • What kind of network of subcontractors the contractor has access to
  • How flexible the contractor's work plans can be if your business or customer demands change
  • How the contractor can make future renovations or expansions seamless


These details can let you know if the contractor can get the work done in a timely manner and accommodate you as a building owner.

Expansions and renovations are part and parcel of owning and operating a business or organization in most buildings today. At some point, you may need to hire a construction crew to make improvements to your building. You can outlast the projects by knowing how to coexist alongside a renovation crew and how to hire a contractor who is qualified for the work.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Air Conditioner Basics All Facility Manager's Should Know

Air Conditioner Basics All Facilities Managers Should Know

As a facilities manager, you are responsible for keeping your building at a steady and comfortable temperature throughout the year. Regardless of the season, you must ensure your building’s HVAC system functions properly and puts out the right amount of heating or air conditioning for the entire premise. You can accomplish this important goal in the summer months by learning about the basics of air conditioning that all facility managers like you should know. 

Types of HVAC Systems

Before you can maintain and service your HVAC system, you need to know first what kinds of systems are commonly used in commercial buildings like yours. The most common types of HVAC systems utilized today include: 

  • Constant volume 
  • Variable volume
  • Hybrid split ducts
  • Packaged heating and cooling
  • Heating and AC split
  • Heat pumps
  • Forced air
  • Multiple zones


These systems are most often used in commercial buildings and when properly serviced can maintain a steady temperature throughout large areas like office buildings, retail centers, and other similar properties.

Common Causes of HVAC Problems

Facility managers also need to understand and be able to identify the most common causes that result in HVAC issues. These systems can develop any number of challenges over time. By knowing about the ones that commonly afflict HVAC systems, you can be ready to address them if or when they arise in your building.

For example, challenges with air flow in the building can be caused by factors like: 

  • Clogged air filters
  • Leaky ductwork
  • Closed registers or blocked veins
  • Obstructed condensing units


Further, when your system is blowing out hot air, you may check it for dirty coils, filters, lines, and drains. Debris and dirt can get into any of these components, causing the system to malfunction and blow out hot instead of cool air. 

Likewise, a low refrigerant charge can also cause an HVAC system to blow out hot air. If the refrigerant in the system gets too low, the entire system could malfunction or stop working entirely. 

Low refrigerant can also be caused by corroded coils. If the coils and lines are not cleaned and serviced often, it can lead to small leaks developing throughout the entire system. 

These small leaks may cause the HVAC system to stop blowing out cold air and struggle to maintain a steady temperature during the summertime. It may run constantly to compensate for these leaks and cause its own coils to freeze as well as the compressor to fail. 

Finally, electrical issues can cause the breakdown of an entire HVAC system. Damaged parts like capacitors, wiring, and other parts can cause the circuit breakers in the system to trip and the system to stop working as it should.

Prevention of HVAC Breakdowns 

You can prevent many of the most common breakdowns that HVAC systems experience by taking preventative measures for your building. The best steps you can take to protect your building’s HVAC system include: 

  • Maintaining the entire system at least two to three times per year
  • Cleaning coils to prevent refrigerant leaks
  • Changing the filters to improve indoor air quality and maintain consistent air flow
  • Keeping the equipment free from clutter and debris
  • Avoiding closing, taping, or blocking the vents to maintain a steady temperature in the building


These simple yet important measures can go a long way in preventing serious breakdowns of your HVAC system.

The HVAC system in your building is important to its overall comfort and safety. This system requires regular maintenance and careful attention to its parts and equipment. By knowing what issues often arise with these systems and what measures you can take to prevent them, you can keep your building comfortable and cool during the hottest parts of the year.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Spring Cleaning Tips for Facility Managers

Spring Cleaning Tips For Facility Managers

Spring is when we deep-clean and maintain our homes, and the same should be true for our facilities. After being closed up all winter, things get dusty, grimy, and in need of maintenance. For a facility manager, this time of year is the perfect time to:

Handle High-Traffic Flooring

Road salt, sand, mud, and dirty slush all do a serious number on floors throughout the winter season. By the time spring rolls around, they're often pretty grimy looking, if not also scratched and dull. For facilities with carpeting, now's the time to invest in a good deep cleaning. For those with flooring, it might be time to have it cleaned and polished if not stripped and re-finished.

Take Care of Landscaping

Greenery is pretty much an afterthought in winter when everything is either dormant and brown or covered in snow. Now that the weather is warming up, it's time to clear away landscaping debris, lay down fresh mulch, and prune trees and bushes. Most plants go through a growth spurt in spring -- especially those who produce leaves and flowers on new branches -- so doing some pruning now helps promote lots of lush, healthy new growth.

Check on Your HVAC Systems

As the weather warms up, air conditioning systems get pressed into service. Facility managers should keep themselves from getting stuck holding the bag if a unit fails this summer -- a little HVAC maintenance now, while the weather is mild, will go a long way toward preventing costly problems in the future. Have units cleaned, replace filters, and check condenser coils and coolant levels now.

Don't Forget the Outside

Winter's barrage of snow and freezing rain doesn't do building exteriors any favors. Odds are, windows and facades are looking a little dingy right about now. Dirty windows don't just look bad, they can actually affect customers and employees by reducing the amount of natural light available indoors. Grimy facades can negatively impact customer perceptions of a place. Now's the time to thoroughly wash windows inside and out, and make sure the facility's exterior is looking its best.

Keep Uninvited Guests Out

As the weather warms up, insect populations surge and many pests increase their activity. Dealing with a serious infestation isn't just expensive and unpleasant -- it can lead to a lot of downtime, as pest control chemicals may not be safe for employees or customers. In this case, an ounce of prevention is more than worth a pound of cure. Learn what pests are endemic to the area, and work proactively to keep them outside where they belong.

Take Care of the Small Stuff

When a facility's staff is stuck bouncing from removing snow, to cleaning floors, to handling leaks, to taking care of heating problems, it doesn't leave much time to handle the little things. Unfortunately, a dusty corner here, a dead light bulb there, and a spot of peeling paint there all add up over time and create an unfavorable impression with employees and customers. Pay attention to details and, now that severe weather issues have passed, use this time to take care of the little things that keep a building looking neat and well-maintained.

Deep Clean Bathrooms

Regular daily maintenance should keep a facility's bathroom neat and in good working order, but that doesn't mean it won't benefit from a solid deep cleaning. Regular deep cleanings make routine maintenance easier, keep things looking good, and can even help reduce absenteeism due to illness. Get rid of any lingering grime, sanitize surfaces, and polish bathroom hardware to keep bathrooms neat and hygienic. For a facility manager, spring can be almost like a breath of fresh air after dealing with the challenges of winter weather. With these spring cleaning tips, you can make sure your buildings look fresh and well-maintained and keep your clientele and staff happy and productive.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Rubber Flooring: Pros and Cons

Rubber Flooring

When it comes to selecting the best flooring for your facility, you want something that will give you a good return on your investment and last for a long time. At the same time, you want a material that is visually appealing and easy to maintain.

You could find the ideal solution for your building by choosing rubber with which to cover your floors. You may be further convinced by learning about the benefits of rubber floors.

Popularity

You would not be alone in your admiration for rubber flooring. In fact, it is becoming more commonplace in all sorts of buildings. While it is typically used in settings like gymnasiums, fieldhouses, and weight rooms, it also is being used more in commercial and residential settings.

It is true that rubber tends to be a bit higher priced than conventional choices like tile or vinyl. However, it also lasts longer and gives a better return on the initial investment than other types of materials. You may not have to repair or replace it as often or as quickly than if you had chosen vinyl, carpeting, or other materials.

Durability

Rubber is also extremely durable. When you are in the market for a material that will be an overall asset to your building, you could find that rubber exceeds your expectations of durability alone.

It can tolerate a high amount of foot traffic without succumbing to damages like cracks and breaks. It also is water resistant and simple to clean up if you spill something like water or coffee on it.

Because of its natural elasticity, it maintains its original appearance. It also has natural shock absorber qualities and can provide more cushion for your feet, which can be crucial if you spend most of the day standing and walking. Its ability to absorb shock and weight also allows it to withstand heavy things being dropped on it.

Low Maintenance

Rubber gets favorable reviews for its low maintenance qualities. When you do not want to spend most of the day mopping and sweeping your facility, rubber may be your ideal choice. It takes minimal effort to keep it looking pristine and new.

Taking care of a rubber floor can be as simple as vacuuming it on a daily basis. You also should mop it with a mild detergent and warm water. You should not use harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia on it because chemicals can cause damages like fading and cracks.

Slip Resistance

If preventing slips and falls is a priority, you may want to invest in a rubber floor. Rubber is especially common in medical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes where patient and employee safety is the main concern.

Rubber exceeds the minimum standard for the coefficient of friction, meaning it prevents people from slipping and falling even when they track in water and mud from outside. Its non-slip qualities also make it ideal for use in places like gyms, weight rooms, and fieldhouses where athletes run and train. It prevents them from falling down and getting injured.

Environmentally Friendly

Rubber also has a reputation for being one of the most eco-friendly flooring choices on the market. Unlike wood and marble, which are not sustainable or renewable materials, rubber is made from the sap of a rubber tree. The sap is gathered in a way that does not harm the tree itself nor impedes its growth.

Once the rubber floor becomes worn out and needs to be replaced, it can be recycled and made into entirely new products. It can also be shredded and used in places like playgrounds. It does not have to be thrown away or end up in a landfill.

Other Benefits

Rubber floors also offer additional benefits that might appeal to you as a facilities manager. For example, it: 

  • Does not contain PVC
  • Can absorb sounds
  • Resists static
  • Resists damages like scuffs marks, cigarette burns, and scratches
  • Prevents the growth of fungi like mold and mildew
  • Resists stains
  • Comes in uniform colors


These factors could make rubber flooring the ideal choice for covering your floors. 

Choosing the right material for your floors is critical to the comfort and safety of your building. You could get the best return on your investment and get the performance you expect by choosing rubber. Rubber offers a host of benefits that could make it the ideal choice for you.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Ways to Green Your Vending Machines

Ways To Green Your Vending Machines

It's probably pretty difficult to picture an environmentally-friendly vending machine. By their very nature, they vend disposable products and require energy to operate -- in some cases, for 24 hours a day. That doesn't mean that facility managers can't find ways to help lower energy consumption, offering convenience to their customers, reducing their facility's carbon footprint, and helping to save money in the process. There are a couple of ways to go about this: 

1. Look for the Energy Star label.

Appliances that are Energy Star approved either meet or exceed the energy efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Much like consumer household appliances, this designation can be applied to vending machines as well. In fact, vending machines that are Energy Star approved consume up to 40% less energy than their old-fashioned counterparts -- courtesy of more efficient cooling systems and upgraded lighting, among other energy-saving features. 

If the unit in a facility is not Energy Star rated, upgrading it may be as simple as getting in touch with the vendor representative and asking to make the switch. They'll often happily upgrade at no charge. 

2. Shut them down during slow times of the day.

When it comes to energy efficiency for machines vending non-perishable items, plug load control devices can be a dream come true. These devices use sophisticated sensors to drastically lower power needs after fifteen minutes of inactivity by reducing the compressor activity. In this mode, the contents of the machines will incur only slight increases in temperature -- not enough to harm non-perishable items -- while reducing energy consumption by up to 30%. 

3. Change the lighting.

New, green lighting options offer another way to save energy. In older vending machines, lighting can use up to 150-180 watts to continuously keep things lit -- to the tune of an extra $100 per year. Electronic ballasts and newer, energy-efficient lamps can drastically reduce this consumption. 

It should be noted that lighting is pretty much cosmetic, serving only to highlight products and let customers know the machine is on. So, if energy-efficient lighting systems are not an option, it may be possible to simply turn the lights off entirely during nights, weekends, or even full-time in order to drop energy use by up to 35%. (Just make sure to let customers know that the machine is still in service.) 

4. Pick natural refrigerants.

Hydrofluorocarbons are organofluorine compounds known to be potent greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, many older vending machines still use them in their insulation and cooling mechanisms. Now, there are naturally-produced alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons that work just as well, without the risk of additional contributions to climate change. Many vendors are part of the "Refrigerants Naturally!" program, which encourages the use of these natural refrigerants. Facility managers with older vending machines can upgrade by contacting their vendors and requesting newer models, or even converter options for older ones. 

5. Explore "smart" vending options.

Inventors with Coca-Cola Japan have created a means of improving energy efficiency by not only adjusting energy consumption during off hours but also based on season and the load on the power grid. Smart "Peak Shift" vending machines allow facility managers to remotely monitor and change how the machine's power is allocated. They can alter power use from day to night, cooling beverages at night and keeping them cool during the day, and reduce their energy needs during cold winter months. 

For an increasing percentage of the population, being environmentally-friendly is important. The average customer is aware of their impact on the environment, and many of them make an effort to patronize businesses that exercise environmental responsibility. In most states in the U.S., energy use is still tied strongly to carbon emissions. Facilities that make an effort to go green not only help their bottom line by saving money on their power bill, but they can also control their carbon footprint and make a favorable impression on guests.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Parking Lot Maintenance Tips for Facility Managers

Parking Lot Maintenance Tips for Facility Managers

Parking lots may seem like unassuming fixtures that have no great influence over the integrity or accessibility of a business. In fact, they many times give the first impression to customers and can determine whether or not people will visit a business or pass it by in favor of a competitor. 

Because of its importance, Long Island facilities managers like you want to take all necessary steps to keep your parking lot in good condition. You can maintain yours and prevent costly and detrimental damages by using these tips for proactive parking lot maintenance.

Perform Regular Inspections

In many instances, costly damages can be prevented by performing routine inspections of the parking lot. A routine inspection does not necessarily have to take a lot of time or effort. In fact, it can be done simply by walking around the parking lot to look for signs of damages or disrepair like:

  • Cracks
  • Holes
  • Oil or gas spills
  • Standing water


By performing routine parking lot maintenance, you can head off damages that could cost your company a substantial amount of money in the future.

Account for the Weather

The weather in Long Island can vary significantly from day to day. When you are planning projects for parking lot maintenance, you have to take into account the weather and how it could potentially impact the integrity of the parking lot. 

For example, during the springtime, you may find it challenging to get maintenance projects done on your parking lot. The rain and humidity prevent materials like concrete and asphalt from setting properly. 

At the same time, extreme heat can cause new asphalt or concrete to dry prematurely or crack during the drying process. Before you decide what projects to undertake on your parking lot, you should check the forecast for Long Island and plan repair and maintenance work accordingly.

Do Spot Repairs

Whenever you find minor damages in your parking lot, you should do spot repairs to prevent them from getting larger. For example, a small crack or hole in the parking lot may not seem like that big of a deal. 

In fact, if water gets in these crevices, it can freeze and then expand the tear or hole as it thaws. In a short period of time, a small crack or hole could widen into a major crevice that cars and pedestrians cannot drive or walk over. Rather than allow these minor damages to spread, you could keep them in check by doing spot repairs whenever you find them.

Sealcoat Every Few Years

Every few years, you should make it a priority to sealcoat your business’s parking lot. Before you do this, however, you should make sure the sealcoat is environmentally friendly.

You also want it to match the color and appearance of the existing asphalt. The rate at which you sealcoat it will depend on a variety of factors like the weather and the rate of traffic that comes in and out of the parking lot.

Clean Up Gas and Oil Spills

As you inspect your parking lot, you should keep a close eye out for gas and oil spills. Gas and oil have chemicals in them that can eat away at the material that binds asphalt and cement. 

If these spills are not cleaned up in good time, they could cause significant deterioration of the parking lot. Rather than watch the asphalt coating on your parking lot erode away, you should clean up gas and oil spills as soon as you see them.

Check and Clean Out the Drainage System

Every sound parking lot should have a reliable drainage system installed on it. This system allows water to drain off the surface of the parking lot. It prevents the moisture from puddles and spills from eating away at the parking lot’s surface. 

If you see puddles of standing water or water that does not appear to drain as quickly as before, you should check the drains to make sure they are not clogged. If they are laden with debris, you should clean out the system right away so water can drain properly. A drainage system that is cleaned out on a regular basis is crucial to keeping your parking lot dry.

Use Striping

Another tip for keeping your parking lot in good condition involves using striping to indicate the location of parking spaces. When customers drive into the parking lot, they want to know immediately where they can park. If there are no stripes indicating where the parking stalls are, people may end up parking haphazardly. 

Striping can also indicate the flow of traffic in and out of the business's parking area. Once the paint starts to fade, you should repaint the stripes for the safety and convenience of your business.

These maintenance and repair tips can help facilities managers like you prevent damages in your business’s parking lot. They head off major damages that can cost the business a lot of money. They also make the parking lot safer and easier for customers to access.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Preventing Facilities False Alarms: What FMs Need To Know

Preventing Facility False Alarms

Alarm systems are designed to protect commercial properties from all sorts of disasters. From fires to burglaries, the system in your building will alert you to any threat that it detects 24 hours a day.

However, sometimes these systems can sound the alarm when no threat really exists in the building. As a facilities manager, you can minimize facility false alarms by knowing how to install your system properly and what measures to take to ensure it functions correctly around-the-clock.

Why Avoid False Alarms?

You might wonder why you should make every attempt to minimize or eliminate facility false alarms in your building. After all, how much harm can a false alarm really do to commercial property? What is the big deal if your alarm system goes off by accident?

In fact, a facility false alarm can have major ramifications on a business notwithstanding the wracking up of major penalties and fines. Most police and fire departments understand that businesses will have the occasional false alarm. However, they do not appreciate having to respond to continued weekly or sometimes daily false alarms because of faulty systems.

If your building has repeated false alarms, it could be heavily fined by the police and fire departments. As the facilities manager, you will be responsible for explaining these fines to the business owner and why you failed to take immediate action to keep the false alarms to a bare minimum.

Further, repeated false alarms could lead to the shuttering of the building until the alarm system is fixed. The building's insurance company or the state fire inspector could decide that it is too costly and dangerous to keep the building open while it is being guarded by an alarm system that does not work properly.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, repeated false alarms can give the building’s occupants a false sense of security. They may disregard the alarms when they go off instead of evacuating or taking other proactive measures. In the worst case scenario, false alarms could lead to injuries or a loss of life.

Rather than face these scenarios, you can take measures now to keep false alarms to an absolute minimum. These steps are common sense and simple and can save you the headaches that come with dealing with repeated facility false alarms.

Avoiding False Alarms

The first step you can take as a facilities manager to minimize false alarms is to retain the services of a factory trained and licensed alarm company. The company should have a staff of trained, bonded, and licensed technicians on hand who can come to your building to install, maintain, and repair the alarms on a regular basis. 

You also should ensure that the alarms are the newest models and installed in appropriate places throughout your building. For example, you do not want smoke or fire alarms installed too closely to heaters or cooking appliances. These fixtures could trigger the alarms when there really is no threat in the building. 

Likewise, you want carbon monoxide detectors to be installed close to gas fixtures like furnaces and hot water heaters. These alarms should not be installed close to windows where they could catch breezes and not be able to detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the building’s air. 

Another measure you can take as a facilities manager is to train the building’s staff on how to use the alarm system correctly. You can start by showing them how to deactivate the system in the morning when they first open the building. You also should show them how to activate the alarms when they leave for the evening. During the daytime, you should keep the burglary detection system deactivated with the exception of the panic alarms. 

Finally, you should use care when hanging decorations in the building. Decorations can catch the breeze by doors and windows, tripping motion detectors and sounding off the alarms. You should hang decorations in areas that are not monitored by motion sensors if you want to avoid false alarms.

These simple steps can save you from dealing with the expense, embarrassment, and possible tragedy that can come with false alarms. You can keep the building’s occupants safe and save the business owners money. You also ensure that real emergencies like burglaries, carbon monoxide leaks, and fires will be responded to quickly if or when they occur.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Top Facilites Management Trends for 2019

2019 Facility Management Trends

If you ask the average facilities manager how technology is impacting their field, you're probably going to get a favorable response. In fact, managers surveyed on the subject almost unanimously expressed the opinion that their use of technology is only going to keep growing. New trends in facilities management show that the scope of a manager's responsibility is expanding, and technological innovations are rising to meet these new challenges. Some of these trends include:

1. The internet of things

The internet of things (IoT) is a shorthand term for connected devices that are capable of collecting and sharing data. These devices have IP addresses, just like conventional computers, for connecting to the internet. More and more of these Internet-enabled devices are being developed to help streamline the way that facilities managers track and monitor their assets -- everything from tracking stock, to determining which parts of a given facility get the most use (and require the most attention). Many sectors are already seeing a big boost in efficiency from the IoT, and that trend is likely to continue into 2019.

2. The use of social media feedback

If you think a social media presence is optional for facilities management, think again. More and more companies are seeing the value of staying connected to customers through social media platforms, and facilities managers are no exception. Connecting to customers can offer invaluable feedback when it comes to seeing where you are doing well, and where your service can be improved. Plus, interacting with customers online offers countless opportunities to make an impact far beyond what your services alone can do, and helps you create the impression of integrity, approachability, and transparency.

3. Expanding the concept of retail space

The demand for inexpensive, easy-access medical services is causing more and more walk-in clinics to open in shopping centers. Retailers are seeing the benefit of offering food services in their stores when it comes to drawing in customers. More and more businesses are striving to become centers of their communities, offering their customers experiences beyond shopping. What do these things have in common? They all represent the expanding scope of facilities management. While many managers have experience in maintaining medical facilities, retail spaces, or restaurants, 2019 is going to see a lot more crossover between different sectors. This means needing to comply with additional safety and health regulations and find new ways to effectively manage the expanding needs of these blended facilities.

4. Using the blockchain

The blockchain is good for more than cryptocurrency. It is effectively a way to maintain a continuous ledger, and facilities managers are seeing the value in it when it comes to tracking supply chains, processing work orders, processing and tracking payments, tracking maintenance and management needs, and increasing transparency. Though its use is still in its infancy, expect to see more and more businesses demanding it in 2019.

5. Expanding automation

Facilities management is already a demanding field, and the increasing scope of what it requires means that it takes a superhuman effort to keep things running smoothly. According to a survey of facilities managers across sectors, programs that aid with work orders and ticketing rank as the third most valuable technology tool. Self-handling software can automatically create invoices, schedule field service appointments, direct work orders, and more, dramatically reducing the workload placed on managers and allowing them to focus on the areas that require their attention the most.

6. New approaches to sustainability

Energy efficiency is key. Not only are energy costs a significant part of a facility's budget, but responsible approaches to energy management also create a selling point for sustainability-minded customers. Batteries can help reduce the financial impact of peak demand charges and cut down a facility's carbon footprint at the same time. Chemical and refrigerated battery storage can help maintain battery effectiveness and increase longevity, further reducing energy costs. If 2019's facilities management trends could be summed up in a few words, they would be efficiency, transparency, and sustainability. New software applications can dramatically reduce the tedious, time-consuming work of processing work orders, generating invoices, and manually scheduling service calls, particularly as more retail facilities begin expanding the type of businesses they host. Social media and the blockchain can help increase transparency. Batteries and battery storage can help reduce energy demands, leading to financial and carbon savings. Expect some very exciting innovations in all of these areas as the field of facilities management continues to change and grow.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More

Facility Management Challenges During The Holiday Season

Facility Management Challenges During The Holiday Season

The weeks leading up to the holiday season can present a unique challenge to facilities managers. They are tasked with making sure their buildings are ready to welcome the public during one of the busiest times of the year.

They also must assess and minimize potential safety risks inside and outside of buildings. When you anticipate facing such challenges yourself, you can maintain and protect your building with these holiday facilities management tips.

Prevent Stress on Plumbing

With more people coming into the building, it makes sense that the plumbing inside of the bathroom, kitchens, and elsewhere will be used more often. Everything from increased flushing of the toilets to running the faucets can put a strain on plumbing that is not used to this level of usage.

You can head off a plumbing disaster now by inspecting and repairing any known plumbing issues in the building. Repair leaky faucets and pipes, replace faulty toilets and inspect the plumbing for clogs now so it is more than ready to accommodate the influx of people coming into the building during the upcoming holiday rush.

Remove Snow and Ice

As a facilities manager, it is up to you to make sure the walkways and stairs going in and out of the building are clear of snow and ice. Leaving either on the paths leading in and out of the place ups the liability risk for both you and the building’s owner. For safety’s sake, you must be ready to shovel or blow away snow and melt ice as quickly as these elements fall.

You can prepare for this facility management holidays challenge now by having the needed supplies on hand. Everything from a snow blower and shovels to ice melt and rock salt will help you take care of this important task. You also show the public that they can easily and safely get in and out of the building without the risk of slipping and falling.

Plan for Heating Challenges

With more people going in and out of the building during the holiday season, you may find that your building is not able to maintain a steady temperature throughout the day. Cold air blowing through the doorways as people come in and out will make the front hallways and foyer colder than normal. On the other hand, the crush of people crowding into rooms can cause the temperatures in there to rise higher than the set thermostat.

It will be up to you to figure out how to maintain a steady and comfortable temperature in all parts of the building. This could mean adjusting thermostats individually to match the needs in separate hallways and rooms. It could also mean that you simply have to adjust the main thermostat in the central heater or furnace as each day progresses in order to keep people comfortable.

Adjust Maintenance and Cleaning Schedules

Many buildings during the holiday season open earlier and close later to accommodate the rush of customers. These extended hours can put a damper on the schedule you and your crew are accustomed to for cleaning and maintaining the building.

For the few weeks of the holidays, you will need to adjust the schedule and decide during what times of the day or night you want to clean and maintain the premises. Perhaps this will call for you and your workers to come in early to prepare the building for the day.

It might also mean staying late after the building closes to clean up. Regardless, adjusting your cleaning and maintenance schedule could be one of the biggest facility management holidays challenges you face.

Facilities managers acknowledge that the holidays present unique challenges to them and their buildings. You can minimize safety risks and keep people happy by knowing what strategies to utilize as the holidays progress. These tips allow you to keep your building open and accessible while accommodating a greater number of people who visit it during the holiday season.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Read More