As a building owner, you have the unique responsibility of making sure your structures are kept clean, up-to-date, and safe. Whether you just own the building your business is located in, you own an investment property that houses other businesses or you have multiple buildings you own and manage, you have a responsibility to those who work in your buildings and a responsibility to yourself to keep your investment in the best shape possible. Since it’s impossible to do all the maintenance yourself, working with the right professionals is the key to successful building maintenance.
An essential part of maintaining your building is keeping it clean and safe. This means everything from hiring cleaning companies to come in on a regular basis, working with specialized cleaning and restoration companies and partnering with businesses that can help take care of routine maintenance such as filter replacement.
Ryan Dahlgaard with The Filter Shop commented, “We can help by maintaining filter schedules and lists. This helps save valuable space within a building that filters tend to take up. It allows for filters to be changed out on a regular basis and this helps to maintain a ‘clean’ building. We offer a secure on-line ordering system that tracks and stores your orders. We encourage building owners to change their filters regularly because it will save you money in many different ways (including energy costs).”
“Next to IT/technology and HVAC/mechanical, flooring is one of the highest cost components of a commercial building,” said Josh Eike with Corporate Care Midwest. “In addition, it is extremely disruptive and not environmentally friendly to remove and replace worn out flooring surfaces. Our maintenance programs follow all manufacturers’ recommendations and have specific processes built in to make a floor that may normally have a 7-10 year useful life last for 20+ years. One example of this is our power pile lifting process. In high traffic areas in a carpeted floor, many times the actual fibers will get crushed and wear patterns will become apparent and hence the carpeting will start to look bad. We have a machine called a power pile lifter that helps to keep this crushing from occurring and results in the carpet looking new and crisp at all times.”
“Another service we feature is tile and grout restorative cleaning and polishing,” continued Josh. “Many times the tile and grout in restrooms can get so dirty and dingy that the building owner thinks it is in need of replacement. We have a proprietary process in which we can remove all dirt and polish the tile to make it look like new again. Our process costs pennies on the dollar compared to removal and replacement. And once again this is much more environmentally friendly.”
Sometimes it makes sense to make improvement or upgrades in your building, especially if it’s older and may have outdated systems or features that are costing you money or are causing safety issues. The control system of your building is one area that might deserve some attention. “With the ever-changing technologies in today’s commercial buildings, a system that was installed ten years ago could be upgraded to include numerous new technologies that a business owner would want to integrate into the control system,” stated Pat Killeen with Engineered Controls. “These might include adding internet interface to the control system, remote interface via mobile telephone technology, graphical interfaces, and metering equipment. Additionally, building owners want their building to be more “green”, whereby everything is integrated, optimized and environmentally friendly too.”
“Buildings account for 68% of electrical consumption, 12% of total water consumption and 39% of carbon dioxide emissions. Reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy and providing clean air and water for future generations ultimately affects the security of the nation,” explained Rick Swarbrick with Superior Lighting. “Superior Lighting’s niche is reducing the energy consumption of our customers. We do this by reducing their light bill, which accounts for 40% of the energy usage in a building. We are seeing the costs of the technology required to do this come down as new technologies, such as LED lighting, are becoming more economically feasible. We help our customers reduce costs by replacing obsolete high energy use lamps with modern energy conserving systems. This not only includes using lamps employing the latest technology, but also installing sensors which detect room occupancy and automatically shut down lighting.”
Outdoor Preparation for Spring
While February may not seem like the time of year to begin thinking about landscaping and sprinkler systems, a little pre-planning can go a long way in smoothing the transition to spring. Weather in Nebraska is quite unpredictable at times, but once spring arrives, lawns and landscaping will need proper watering. The best way to accomplish this is to contact your lawn and landscape sprinkler system contractor, such as Heilman Irrigation, LLC, while spring is still several weeks away. Heilman Irrigation recommends this approach, as the arrival of the spring season is a very busy time for sprinkler and landscaping contractors. Making arrangements now for Spring Start-Up services can ensure you receive priority scheduling and your plants aren’t left waiting for water.
Employing the services of a trained sprinkler contractor to complete your Spring Start-up can save you time, money, and aggravation during the growing season. System start-up is the best time of the year to ensure that everything is working properly. Heilman Irrigation includes several valuable services as part of their Spring Start-up. “We ensure the system is properly turned on, inspect for damage and leaks, adjust heads for optimal coverage, and program the controller,” explained J.D. Heilman. “We will also instruct the customer on how to operate the controller and adjust watering amounts and schedules, should the need arise. Recommendations for any needed repairs will be made, and most of the time, we can complete those repairs while we are on-site, eliminating the need for another service call.” When the system is properly turned on and prepared for the upcoming growing season, the need for additional service calls over the season is minimized. This saves time, money, and helps to protect your landscaping and turf investment.
Stormwater runoff can lead to costly repairs if problems are not detected early. Downspouts should discharge a proper distance from the building and be inspected for clogs or leaks. Settling pavement or soils around the building foundation can direct water back towards the building.
According to Kyle Vohl, P.E. and Senior Project Manager with E & A Consulting, runoff also is the main cause asphalt and concrete pavement failures. When pavement starts to crack, run off repeatedly infiltrates and then freezes underneath causing heaving. As more water works under the pavement, the sub-grade can be eroded leading to sinkholes. The potential liability due to slips and falls that may occur on your property is too much to ignore. While most of these issues can be solved by having a contractor seal expansion joints or cracking, sometimes removal of deteriorated sections of the parking lot is necessary.
If you are replacing pavement or having water inside your building on a regular basis you may need to get an engineer involved to look at the issue from a holistic view point and find a long term solution to the problem. While up front this may cost some additional dollars over the lifecycle of building and parking lot it can save you thousands of dollars a year in maintenance and increase your bottom line.
Managing, maintaining and upgrading your buildings or buildings is a big responsibility, and one that cannot be taken on alone. By working with the proper professionals, you can make sure that your building is safe, clean and efficient for those who work or live in it.