Water Hygiene - due to tragic cases that hit the news headlines periodically, the general publics awareness of Water Hygiene issues and Legionnaires' Disease in particular generally tends to focus on Cooling Towers. However Domestic Hot and Cold Water Systems with Hot Water Cylinders and Cold Water Storage Tanks in commercial and industrial properties present a wider spread threat as most properties have them. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates that there is a requirement under the Health & Safety Commission's "Approved Code of Practice & Guidance" L8, 2000 - Legionnaires' disease. The Control of legionella bacteria in water systems (available from HMSO & HSE Books etc.) for such building owners or controllers (and domestic properties where the landlord is responsible for maintenance) to ensure that an adequate Water Hygiene Risk Assessment has been carried out and that an adequate ongoing management system for water systems (including temperature checks, maintenance records and system diagrams etc.) is in place.

Therefore if you are purchasing are assuming responsibility for a property, ensure that such information is up to date and transferred to you.

Staff Down Sizing - has your organisation downsized its staffing levels? If so energy bills, water bills and water systems maintenance expenditure may still be at full staffing sized cost levels. It may be that much of the annual water usage cost is actually in the cleaning and chlorination process which has now become disproportionate to the normal demand. Perhaps your CWS tanks could be reduced in size or possibly removed altogether. Has the hot water storage capacity become way in excess of that now required?

Over capacity of stored Hot and cold water is not just inefficient, it is a potential water hygiene stagnation risk.

Do you have a large relatively large boilers all year round to get Domestic Hot Water for relatively few people.

Do you need actually need outlets at that location any more? Could smaller local point of use HWS heaters be used instead to reduce energy and water hygiene maintenance costs?

Excessive draughts from the ventilation or air conditioning system? Has someone taken it upon themselves to adjust or block off some other grilles - forcing excessive discharge rates from other grilles.

We can help from a brief visual inspection as part of a general building check to full WHRA to provision of Management Plans, records and log books.

Electricity Savings - Every Little Helps - Simple measures can help make worthwhile savings for no or little expenditure for example: Check with your IT adviser but in most cases the majority of workstation computers could be turned off each night and at weekends. Cumulatively this offers significant savings.

Heard it before? Possibly - but are your staff buying into it? Carry out a quick check after normal hours then again before normal opening hours the following week.

Lighting - providing controls and or supplementary lighting that allows reduced levels of illumination for cleaning and security purposes can quickly prove to be cost effective and so are well worth investigation.

Energy management does not inspire every one so perhaps an incentive scheme to make things a little more fun would help e.g. regular contributions of a proportion of some of the energy cost savings are contributed towards a staff party or a chosen charity.

Electrical Inspections - many organisations now have their portable electrical appliances tested regularly (PAT Testing), yet are unaware or overlook that there is also a requirement under IEE Wiring Regulations to have the fixed electrical installation inspected and tested regularly. The frequency varies for different types of property ranging generally from 5 years for most offices to annually for entertainment / public buildings

Know your system - Air Conditioned or Ventilation - Does the property have air conditioning or just ventilation? If the supply air system for the building does not have any form of mechanical cooling to actually physically cool the air supplied into the space, then you only have a ventilation system. This is not a problem in itself, so long as the building occupants know and understand this. We have found many examples where the occupants complain that "the air conditioning is not blowing cold enough" or that "management are too mean to have the system repaired" and even raise expensive abortive call outs simply because they do not understand what is installed.

A General "health check" of building can help address these issues in a more cost effective way.

CAFM Systems Asset Registers / Equipment Schedules & Condition Surveys

Maintenance Management and CAFM Systems - basically horses for courses. With so many systems available it is worth considering the following: Single or multi site use? Complexity of site(s) and services? What do you want to do with it? Would a simpler more basic system be adequate, more appropriate and easier to support? or would the multitude of features and modules and user training of the top line packages be justified as providing a centralised means of controlling a wide variety of functions such as Planned and Reactive Maintenance, Legally Required Records, Supplier Management, PAT Testing, Risk Assessments, Asset Tracking, Help Desk and Room Booking etc. etc.

What information do you have to put in i.e. drawings, asset registers/schedule of equipment, service history, help desk etc.? What format is your information in? Is it up to date? Can information be recycled? Data gathering Methods? What do you want to get out - just printouts or does the info need to be easily exported to other business management tools and communication methods or even an on line interactive system?

Asset Registers / Equipment Schedules - The preparation of these items requires a high degree of planning, discipline and experience to execute to a high standard - frequently there is little information available on site, so each survey becomes a mini investigation. Having carried out over 1200 such surveys we feel we that have something to offer in this respect.

We would be pleased to talk to you as early in the project stage as possible to understand your individual requirements and provide maximum assistance. This then enables us to design the data gathering form templates to suit the clients requirements as appropriate.

These are the essential foundation of Facilities Management or Maintenance plan. Sadly they are all too frequently taken for granted resulting in the generation of long lists of lots of inflexible data rather than dynamic useful information. Before commencing it is essential to consider in depth why is the information required? Who will use it and how often? How will it be used or stored? What format should it be in. Who will be responsible for updating it and how? This will then tend to evolve as to what information is required but typically will include the following as a minimum:

Level Location Quantity Description / Item Make Model / Type Notes

Other information such as serial number and approximate age can also be gathered but unless there is a regular need it is doubtful if it is worth it. The golden rule is to ensure that only information that will be regularly used is gathered. Every "just note this while you are there" item multiplied over a large site or multiple sites could significantly add to the cost of compiling the Asset Register. Likewise, multiple items such as radiators, natural convectors and lighting can often be covered with an "Item" or single line reference or by a general description.

In theory hand held computers (PDA's) would appear to be an attractive option to gather information to save most of the time and cost of manually rewriting it later. However before committing to this approach, our experience of this method has shown that it needs to be the right client and site situation to be of benefit. This is because on site for detailed initial or one off surveys, it can be far slower and less flexible to enter the information into a PDA rather than a traditional paper forms. This is far less of a problem if unrestricted, unaccompanied movement around a site is available. However in sensitive situations eg. high security establishments or where a client representative escort is required at all times or site time is severely limited PDA's are a less successful means of gathering info. Battery life of units with dedicated / special batteries can also be limitation.

However PDA's or Hand Held computers can be excellent for simple tick lists, restricted specific checks or in ongoing situations such as updating records, general readings and service record situations once a management system has been set up.

Pocket dictation machines can be very quick on site, but can prove limiting in noisy areas or in sensitive situations. Transcribing can be a fairly lengthy process.

If the client already has or is intending to use a Computerised Maintenance Management or a CAFM system then special care is required. The information for the package will almost certainly be imported via a spreadsheet or database, It is absolutely critical that the data is gathered in a way that it can directly or easily manipulated to exactly match the information field structure of the software package concerned.

Condition Surveys - Walk around none intrusive, visual surveys can provide a useful snapshot for the condition of the services and are often done as an extension of the compilation of an asset register.

Information often requested includes age, anticipated remaining life, condition and severity of effect on business in the event of failure, remedial cost. Sometimes replacement cost is also requested. Often numbers and letters are used as a code to indicate:

"Condition" e.g. ranging from  1 - As new / Very good condition    to    4 - Failed

"Effect On Business" e.g. ranging from A - Immediate risk of business disruption / H & S risk  to  D - Negligible risk of business disruption / Negligible H & S risk in the forseeable future.

Using the above an item with a 1D would be no problem as would be expected for items in a fairly new building or system but a 4A would be a "show stopper".

We strongly recommend that the number of permutations are kept to an absolute minimum as for example, the time in deciding whether something is a 3C or a 3D for example will mount up considerably over the whole survey. If the client is only interested in major or urgent problems and will not be considering action on any items of a minor or less urgent nature then it is pointless in having say up to a 6F. In these and indeed most circumstances, a simpler Good, Fair, Poor and Failed may be more appropriate, much quicker and hence cheaper.

Likewise, an item by item replacement cost and remaining life can be of limited use and potentially misleading e.g. Whilst it is feasible that a pump could be replaced before a boiler, it is unlikely that a boiler would be replaced without also replacing the pumps and some or all of the pipework and controls etc. at the same time.

Furthermore for older buildings it is doubtful that a like for like basis of refurbishment would occur - this is because technology and products will almost certainly have changed, and the current or future planned use for the building would be better served by different systems of modern design. The proliferation of IT equipment effecting the heat loads and electrical power requirements, the use of multiple modular higher efficiency boilers rather than fewer but larger boiler units, separate or decentralised hot water heaters are examples of this - so why pay to have unnecessary or inappropriate estimates? If systems are nearing the end of their reasonably anticipated useful life cycles, then this needs to be discussed and may be best addressed by the use of statistical budgeting information on perhaps a cost /m2 basis.

If you would like to discuss any of the above aspects or would like more information generally, then please contact us on 01527 540717 or simply activate the contact form with your request.


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