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Hurricane Preparation Planning For Facility Managers

Hurrican Preparation Planning For Facility Managers

We all know that hurricanes are violent storms with the potential to cause severe damage and destruction to anything within their range. The good thing is, with today’s technology meteorologists are able to forecast hurricanes well in advance of their approach. Thankfully facility management can make it a point to take advantage of these insights. Advance preparation can leave facility leadership with a solid framework by which to weather the storm and protect their facilities, and the businesses and employees therein. We encourage facility management teams to refer to the following guidelines.

Assess What’s Most Important

There are three key elements that keep a business up and running: its employees, assets, and location. Taking swift action early enough to protect these elements from the threat of a hurricane will help you to maintain order and rebound quickly after the storm has passed.

Protecting Your Employees. When facing a potential crisis, an organization’s workforce looks to management for leadership and guidance to help keep them safe and informed. There are challenges to this that exist in today’s highly mobile workforce that didn’t exist even just ten years ago. Several factors to take into consideration are:

  • Where is each staff member located (in real-time)?
  • Which employees travel and what is their current schedule?
  • If you have remote workers, do you know where they are in any given moment?
  • Do you have a mass notification system in place to quickly and easily notify your people?
  • Is each employee being tracked by HR, travel, and/or building badge systems so they can be reached immediately?


Inventory Your Assets. 
The potential for flooding, high winds, gas shortages, and power shortages pose a threat to all kinds of business assets, including network, data, equipment, technology, supplies, products, and overall facilities. Identifying the following assets now can help to prevent stress later on:

  • Where are your assets located?
  • What kind of physical protection is available for each asset?
  • Which assets are critical to running the business?
  • Are these assets owned or insured?
  • What assets are leased, and what is your responsibility if they’re damaged?


Note: To help businesses “prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and recover rapidly from operational disruptions,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends referring to their Continuity Tool Kit.

Fortify Your Locations. Geographic location can certainly influence a property’s vulnerability to disaster by a hurricane. That said, while severe flooding is more likely to occur in coastal regions, facilities located inland are still susceptible to great danger. Hurricanes may weaken, but even slow-moving systems can hover over populated areas and cause catastrophic flooding and water damage. Whether your facility is comprised of a single unit or multiple buildings, you’ll need to consider how to reinforce each individual location. Consider the following questions:

  • What is the address of every location under your company umbrella including storage facilities and transportation lots?
  • What is the evacuation plan for each facility? For example entrances/exits; stairs, elevators and escalators; parking lots; and access to the closest hurricane evacuation route.
  • Which people/teams work at each location?
  • What are the biggest risks for each facility and how fortified are they to withstand potential damage?
  • What types of materials are in place necessary to getting the facility up and running again?


Draw Up an Emergency Plan

Having an emergency plan in place is vital to minimizing the panic and confusion that hurricanes can cause. Your plan should maintain some flexibility in case of unforeseen circumstances, but it should certainly incorporate core infrastructure elements that are unlikely to change as the company grows. Here’s how you can plan ahead to protect these elements:

Back-Up Your Data. To safeguard against on-premise damage, like flooding or fires which can destroy on-site servers, you’ll want to ensure that all company data is backed up offsite. Backing up data regularly should ideally become a habit so that, in the case of a hurricane or other weather event, your business won’t suffer loss should your server go down.

Set Up Cloud Systems. Cloud-based systems can expedite the disaster-recovery process. Converting key business systems and mobile device data to the cloud, including payroll, CRM, and HR systems, will allow these systems to be accessed remotely in the event your company needs to work from a different location.

Create Checklists. A checklist of tasks that need to be performed before, during, and after a hurricane can help to ensure that nothing is missed. The list should be both stored on a cloud application for easy access, and also physically posted for easy reference in the case of a power outage. Also, be sure to communicate this list to key stakeholders if you’ll be out of the office or unavailable at the time a hurricane is expected to touch down.

Review Contracts. Don’t wait for the aftermath of a major storm to review your contractual obligations with vendors, insurance providers, and landlords. Take the time to review contracts for specific mentions of weather-related events, damages, and complete loss. If a contract doesn’t reference these potential situations, contact contract owners directly to find out what their weather-related clauses and policies are.

Map Evacuation Routes. Safety is the number one priority in the event of any threat, and hurricanes certainly qualify here. An explicit plan to help employees promptly locate the safest way out of their facility will minimize chaos. You’ll need to determine which stairwells and doors should be used, identify parking lot exits, and what surrounding streets should be taken. Posting physical maps on each floor will help to familiarize your staff with approved evacuation routes. Holding drills on regular days when no weather-threats are posed will also help to acquaint employees with proper evacuation procedures.

Implement a Two-Way Communication System. It can’t be emphasized enough how important communication is. In the event of a hurricane, good communication can potentially save lives. You’ll want to ensure that every staff member is safe and able to communicate with leadership and with each other. You should not rely on the internet alone, as it can be rendered inaccessible during a power outage. Implementing emergency communication software can enable a company’s leadership to deliver real-time information to employees across multiple channels and devices simultaneously. Such a system can also be used to check in with employees for status updates, and to provide evacuation details. You’ll want to optimize this system by regularly updating your company directory with accurate contact information for each employee. Many systems include pre-set templates to help administrators pre-emptively prepare so that during a weather event they will be able to relay information swiftly with only a few clicks. Messages created in advance and stored on these templates eliminate the need to create a message from scratch, which can save precious minutes in the face of a dangerous storm. Ideal templates to use should include email, voicemail scripts, SMS texts, and push notifications.

Create Emergency Response Teams

It takes a proverbial village to protect your people, assets, and locations. Once your plan is in place, it’s time to delegate responsibilities and practice its execution. Here are three steps necessary to provide everyone with a thorough understanding of what to do in the event of a hurricane:

Define Clear Roles and Responsibilities. Your plan will have moving parts involving multiple people, so be sure to designate roles to employees you trust can handle the challenge. Communicate specific responsibilities with each individual stakeholder and ensure that they have the resources and technology they’ll need. Be clear with everyone about who is on each team, and who they can turn to for specific information.

Train Teams. Gather the team to review protocols and answer any questions they may have. Be sure to modify the plan as the company evolves should new locations be acquired, expansions be built, or facilities be changed.

Role Play. Hold mock drills to practice your plan. Though role play may feel silly, rest assured that when actually faced with the dangers of a hurricane, team members will be more likely to remember a drill than an office memo. You can opt to give the team notice, or to conduct impromptu drills to mimic a real-life emergency.

As you can see, careful planning in conjunction with these guidelines can make all the difference. Taking proactive steps now, before a hurricane hits, can help to ensure everyone’s safety in the midst of one. It will also give weather-damaged facilities accessibility to a quicker recovery process and can help protect businesses by minimizing their total losses.

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How to Prevent Slips and Falls in Your Facility

How To Prevent Slips and Falls in Your Facility

Facilities with high-traffic areas, such as schools, healthcare, and commercial facilities, are the most at risk for people taking a sudden slip, trip, or fall. According to the National Safety Council, these types of mishaps lead to the most costly types of injuries as they’re not only the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims, they also represent the primary cause of lost days from work due to an accident.

While the risk for these accidents may be increased by human factors, such as age, failing eyesight, and other mobility impairments (such as using a cane or a walker), it’s important for facility managers to note the non-human factors that reflect accident-prone statistics: floor surfaces.

Floors and flooring materials contribute to more than 2 million fall injuries per year, usually due to them becoming wet from leaks, spills, snow, rain, mud, wet leaves, and other floor contaminations. Thankfully, these issues are easily preventable with the implementation of a tight floor maintenance problem. So, while you may not be able to control the weather or how people walk, you can start by identifying problem areas in order to minimize the chance for slips, trips, and falls.

The Five “Danger Zones”

Lobbies. As a welcome space, lobby areas tend to be shiny and attractive -- but this doesn’t come without a cost. Lobbies are often buffed and waxed, in an effort to offer optimal appeal for visitors and workers. Also, as the point of entry, lobbies are often subject to shoes, umbrellas, and the debris that both track in.

Breakrooms/cafeterias. As a space where food and beverages are prepared and consumed, spills are more likely to occur. Coffee machine areas are especially susceptible to drips and spills, where occupants tend to pass through with uncovered mugs full of the hot beverage.

Restrooms. It goes without saying that wherever there is water, there is an increased risk for slips, trips, and falls. Restroom floors are subject to becoming wet in numerous ways – everything from the slightest hand-dripping, to overflowing sinks and toilets, and plumbing problems.

Piping. Corrosion and wear can cause piping to leak. Preventative maintenance is key when it comes to piping, especially if it’s in close proximity to where occupants are.

Roof. Both cold or inclement weather can make any roof vulnerable to leaks. On top of that, buckets that are left on floors to collect liquid from roof leaks are also susceptible to being tripped over by a distracted occupant.

Five Tips to Prevent Accidents

Fortunately, there are several ways that facility managers can plan ahead in order to prevent these various flooring/area hazards:

Watch the Weather. Preparation for storms, snow, rain, or any other weather event that could leave debris on your facilities’ floors is of utmost Have signs handy to make building occupants aware of potential hazards, and have floor blowers on hand to dry up rain water.

Use Matting for Liquid Absorption. Floor matting can help absorb water and other liquid debris. However, matting comes with its own set of hazards. Avoid matting that gaps, wrinkles, or easily moves around. Ideally, your matting should have an adhesive backing to keep the mat flat and in place.

Analyze Past Problem Areas. Examine any previous slip or fall claims and use them as a map to help you identify high-risk zones in your facility, or to help you determine primary areas for potential hazards. By looking at “root cause” errors of the past, you can help to ensure a safer present and future.

Use Proper Cleaning Aides. Be sure to purchase the right cleaner for the right contaminant and floor surface. For example, what you use on tile may be quite different than what you’d use on wood or concrete. Work with your janitorial supply company to determine which chemicals are best to use on the various surfaces of your facility. In addition, be sure to carefully read the directions on all chemical products in order to use these cleaners correctly. Take special note of any dilution ratios and water temperatures required.

Have a Floor Maintenance Management Program in Place. An established program is an important preparation tool for proper floor maintenance. Your program should include ways to properly store cleaning products and equipment, training staff, regular floor inspections that are shared with supervisors, and specific procedures and protocols for various areas.

Slippery flooring is unsafe for building occupants and can turn into expensive claims for your facility. Getting ahead of these potential problems can go a long way to eliminate risk, and make for an all-around safer, happier workplace for everyone.

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Facility Manager Tips For Designing and Maintaining Restrooms

Restroom Maintenance

Restrooms are an integral part of a well-run facility. Whether you're dealing with a building's employees or its clientele, everyone will need to take a bathroom break at some point in the day. Poorly designed or maintained restrooms aren't just unpleasant for people to use, they can negatively impact their perceptions of the facility itself. Don't let that happen to you -- keep these three things in mind when you're dealing with bathrooms.

1. Standardize, standardize, standardize.

Nothing is worse than having to use a restroom that doesn't have adequate supplies. When fixtures aren't standardized across an entire facility, it can make it more difficult for staff to keep things adequately stocked. Toilet paper, paper towel, and soap dispensers should all be of the same type, so you won't have to worry about staying on top of ordering refills for multiple different makes and models. This will also help save money over the long run, by allowing you to order large quantities at a bulk rate.

2. Plan for traffic.

When it comes to designing restrooms, the biggest mistake you can make is to fail to take traffic into account. Some finishes may be attractive, but not durable enough to hold up to heavy use without beginning to look worn and shabby. Corian, for example, is becoming a popular choice for partitions due to its durability over metal or composite. Placing groups of restrooms in high traffic areas allows them to be serviced by a centrally-located supply closet. If space allows, restroom plans an even allow for a maintenance corridor that will let facility employees perform regular maintenance without cluttering up high-traffic hallways.

3. Keep them bright (but not too bright).

No matter how well-maintained a restroom may be, poor lighting will make it look dirty and dated. Lighting that is too bright will make it unpleasant for users, as well as wasting power. Choose energy-efficient bulbs and ballasts -- standard fluorescent ballasts typically use 14-16 watts, while energy efficient electronic ballasts use as little as 8 -- and set up an automated lighting system. This will ensure that lights are only on when they're needed, and don't waste power when they aren't. Place fixtures in areas where they'll be easy to access, and avoid choosing spots where they will be partially blocked by door or partitions.

Keeping restrooms clean.

Do you know what maintenance employees have to say about cleaning public bathrooms? 80% consider it a difficult job and cite a lack of time and too much foot traffic as the biggest contributing factors -- two things that can be mitigated by proper planning. The scary part here is that restroom maintenance consists of both cleaning for looks, and cleaning for safety. An overwhelming majority of cleaning professionals (94%) claim to rely on product use information to train their employees, but 15% of those same employees say that a lack of training makes their jobs more difficult, and nearly 70% of professionals say that their staff doesn't understand disinfection or sanitization. A simple wipe-down might be enough to keep a countertop or faucet looking clean, but is it really enough to make it hygienic?

To keep public bathrooms really clean, it's vital that facility managers develop their own training and standard procedures, and train their employees in basic disinfection and sanitization best practices. Coupled with bathrooms designed with cleanliness and ease of maintenance in mind, this alone should be enough to make sure restrooms say looking fresh and hygienic while cutting down on the public health risks posed by restroom germs.

People generally don't spend more than a few minutes at a time in the bathroom, but those few minutes can create a big impression. By choosing durable finishes, locating bathrooms where they can be easily reached for maintenance, and making sure employees have the tools, supplies, and knowledge they need to keep them sanitized and well-stocked, facility managers can make sure that their restrooms always look and feel their best.

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Colleges With The Best Facilities Management Programs

Colleges With The Best Facilities Management Programs

Facility managers play a crucial role in the organization, safety, and function of a commercial building. Given their importance, facility managers remain in great demand in numerous industries. People who want to enjoy long facilities management careers can pursue the training they need at any of the top colleges that are known for their facilities management degree programs. 

Career Outlook for Facilities Management

The outlook for facilities management careers is healthy and growing. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the career itself to grow by 10 percent by the year 2026. Moreover, job market experts expect facilities management to be vital to a wide array of industries like:

  • Environmental services
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Technician and scientific services
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Governmental operations


People who earn a facilities management degree will learn vital skills that will make them invaluable to these and other industries. Some of the skills an FM degree will encompass include:

  • Communication
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Fire safety
  • Financial management
  • Business management
  • Quality assurance
  • Property management
  • Building security
  • Cleaning
  • Building operations


These skills are a few that will be learned during the course of earning a facilities management degree. They give students the foundation needed to work in facilities management careers.

Top Colleges with Facilities Management and Planning Degree Programs

A number of colleges across the U.S. offer degree programs in facilities management. Most of the programs are offered at the undergraduate level and are relatively small. It is not unusual for colleges with this program to graduate anywhere from six to 20 students in it each year.

These are a few of the colleges that offer facilities management programs for students:

Southeast Missouri State University. Southeast Missouri State University is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It offers three undergraduate facilities management programs. It graduates on average six students with this degree each year. The average in-state tuition for Southeast Missouri State University is a little over $600 per year. Out-of-state students can expect to pay around $11,000 per year. Books average around $$500 while on-campus room and board cost $8000 on average.

Brigham Young University. Brigham Young University is found in Provo, Utah. It has an undergraduate facilities management program that graduates around 15 students each year. The average tuition cost for in-state and out-of-state students both is around $5000 a year. Books cost around $800 a year while room and board averages around $7000 yearly.

Rochester Institute of Technology. Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York costs both in-state and out-of-state students around $36,000 per year in tuition. It offers both an undergraduate and graduate degree program in facilities management. Books for this program cost around $10,000 a year. Students who want to live on campus can expect to pay on average $11,000 per year.

San Diego State University. San Diego State University is found in San Diego, California. It is a large university with one undergraduate facilities management program for students. Its tuition rate for in-state students is $5000 while out-of-state students can expect to pay upwards of $16,000. Books for the program cost around $1000. Room and board averages around $1500 per year.

Madison Area Technical College. Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin offers a facilities management undergraduate degree. Tuition for the program costs around $4000 for in-state students and $6000 for students who come here from out-of-state. Students also can expect to pay around $1700 a year for books and materials.

Sinclair Community College. Sinclair College is located in Dayton, Ohio. As a community college, students in facilities management do not have the option of living on-campus. However, their tuition will average around $3000 for in-state students and $6000 for out-of-state students. Books will cost them around $1000 a year.

CUNY NY College of Technology. CUNY NY College of Technology is located in Brooklyn, New York. It has a single facilities management program for undergraduate students. Out-of-state students pay $!5,000 a year for tuition while in-state students pay $6000. Books cost around $1300 yearly.

These colleges are a few that offer degree programs in facilities management. They teach the skills students know to become effective and valuable facilities managers in the near future. They prepare people to join the rapidly growing facilities management industry.

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Networking Tips For Long Island Facility Managers

Networking Tips For Log Island Facility Managers

Sometimes, being an effective and successful facility manager isn't just about what you know -- it's who you know. Networking with others in one's field is an important part of many careers, and facility management is no different. If you've been reluctant to get out there, here are six reasons why you should strongly consider giving it a try:

1. You can find new potential employees.

"Always be recruiting" is an important management strategy. It never hurts to know skilled, talented individuals in your field. If you ever find yourself in need of a new hire, networking with other facility managers gives you an additional resource for obtaining word-of-mouth recommendations for good employees. You'll know you're getting the best talent in the business.

2. It'll save you from reinventing the wheel.

Networking gives you the opportunity to see how different processes or products work in other contexts and circumstances. It's an opportunity to learn from other industry professionals who might have already gone through the same challenges your workplace is dealing with, and gain valuable insight into how you can tackle them better. It's always good to keep your knowledge of trade secrets up-to-date, and learning how other managers get things done is a great way to do that.

3. You'll make valuable allies.

It can be difficult to feel like every decision ultimately rests with you. If you make the wrong choice, your decisions can dramatically impact how your workplace functions. Going to IFMA Long Island meetings, meeting other managers, and making friends gives you a list of people you can contact when you have questions or problems and could use some advice -- or even just a friendly ear from someone who understands your industry.

4. You'll stay current.

Facility management is an ever-evolving field. Employee health and safety, environmentally-friendly products, methods of automation, and energy management solutions are just a few of the areas that advances in technology are continuing to shape. Networking not only helps you keep abreast of these changes, but it can also show you how other facility managers are implementing them to their best advantage. You'll not only stay on top of the safest, most effective, most efficient ways of keeping your facilities running smoothly, but you'll also know what you need to do to keep yourself attractive to potential clients.

5. You can scope out your competition.

Making friends and finding valuable contacts are key parts of networking, but it serves another purpose, too -- it lets you see what the most successful managers are doing right. If your portfolio could use a little expanding, it behooves you to observe how the leaders in your industry work and figure out what you can do to emulate them. You'll also be able to learn about the different challenges facing managers of larger facilities or portfolios, so you won't be left dealing with "growing pains" as your business expands. 

6. It'll broaden your perspective.

Facility management is a very broad field. Having a hospital as a client is a whole other ballgame when compared to managing a university's campus or shopping mall. Even within the same sector, large facilities operate differently from small ones, and those in urban areas don't experience the same things as rural ones. Networking gives you a chance to see how other managers operate in their chosen areas of expertise and gain valuable perspective and insight into your profession. 

In the professional world, networking is just part of business. By going to IFMA Long Island meetings, you can meet other facility managers that are local to you. Even if you've never attended a networking event before -- whether online or in person -- meeting and getting to know other leaders in your industry can only help you. They'll be able to offer you valuable knowledge, strategies of implementing new products and processes, a wider recruitment pool, and a broader perspective.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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