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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cleaning house: follow these tips to shrink your facility maintenancecosts. USA, LLC
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a clean house, a photo by iconise on Flickr.

In these days of tight budgets, the smallest cost savings can make a big difference. Following these simple suggestions can help trim dollars off of your already strapped facility maintenance budgets, in addition to improving facility appearance and reducing energy costs.

Annual Facility Audit

Perform a simple self-evaluation of your facility to include all infrastructure, building systems, furniture, finishes and equipment. Document existing conditions and deficiencies and assign estimated costs to each item that will be addressed. Keep this list up-to-date to serve as a valuable forecasting tool for short and long range budget planning. It will help ensure that minor repairs and worn items are not overlooked. In addition, walking around to identify these conditions forces you to get out and see how your facility is functioning. Encourage your staff to participate in this exercise as several sets of eyes are better than one.

Develop a Painting Schedule

Painting brightens up an area and gives a fresh new appearance for a relatively low-cost investment (if you paint yourself). A schedule ensures you keep up with this basic maintenance task. High-traffic areas may need painting once a year whereas private offices could be done every three years or as turnover occurs. Use an eggshell finish for durability and easy cleanup in these areas. Install protective corner guards (3" x 3" x 48") along high traffic areas to prevent damage to walls to help minimize patch and paint repairs.

Carpet Maintenance Program

Carpet cleaning seems like an extra expense, but helps extend the life of your carpet and keeps your facility looking sharp. All carpeted areas should be cleaned at least once per year and high-traffic areas should be cleaned twice if possible. A reputable carpet care professional can advise how to best maintain your carpet according to manufacturer's warranty. Using walk-off mats at entrances and exits also helps to reduce dirt transfer and protect your floor finishes.


Use energy-efficient, cool white compact fluorescent lamps that are better than incandescent lamps. They are cooler, use less wattage and last longer. Schedule re-lamping fixtures in groups to save staff time if possible. Ensure lighting is off during unoccupied hours and encourage occupants to turn off lights at the end of the day. Install timers if the situation permits.

Scheduled Maintenance

Though this seems like a good place to cut costs, performing maintenance on all maintainable building equipment according to manufacturer-suggested schedules for HVAC, elevator, electrical, security, and fire suppression, can really cut down on large maintenance problems with high price tags. Ensure your maintenance/service contracts are up-to-date, accurate and monitored for compliance annually. You never know when an emergency or breakdown will occur, and that is not the time to discover your contract has expired.

HVAC/Building Control Systems

Program your system to turn off unnecessary equipment during unoccupied hours (such as at night) and verify that it is working properly. By changing the HVAC start-up and shut-down schedule by one hour at NRPA headquarters, energy consumption was reduced by 37 percent during a seven-month period ($9,000 annual savings). Raise your cooling and lower your heating set points for both occupied and unoccupied hours, and don't heat or cool unoccupied areas. Close outside air dampers and turn off exhaust fans (where possible) during unoccupied hours, which will help keep conditioned air in the building.

Exterior Doors and Windows

Ensure all exterior doors and windows are sealed properly to minimize air infiltration. Check door sweeps and weather stripping annually and check operable windows for proper function. Remind staff to close windows before they depart to provide for security, weather conditions and energy conservation.

Annual Staff Clean-Up Day

Conduct a mandatory all-staff clean-up day every year (twice if you have time). Sell it as a spring clean-up for staff to focus on cleaning out their offices, desks, file cabinets, storage areas, etc. Instead of presenting it as a chore, make it a fun event by providing lunch, allowing staff to dress casually and providing incentives for the department that cleans up the most, recycles the most, or frees up the most storage space. You will be pleasantly surprised at the participation and results.

Ted Mattingly, CFM, is NRPA's facilities manager. He has more than 16years experience in facility management, administration, project management, and operations and maintenance. He is also an instructor in the George Mason University-Facility Management Certificate Program. He can be reached at (703) 858-2180.

Mattingly, Ted

Source Citation
Mattingly, Ted. "Playbook: cleaning house: follow these tips to shrink your facility maintenance costs." Parks & Recreation May 2006: 16+. Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Collection. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.
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Gale Document Number: GALE|A146175260

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