Can’t breathe this

Facilities Management Middle East - - COMMENT -

Not too long ago my si­nuses were act­ing up on a daily ba­sis, mostly when I re­turned home from work. I grew a bit weary of the sit­u­a­tion and called the prop­erty man­age­ment com­pany that I deal with for the lease of my apart­ment.

Fol­low­ing which a few tech­ni­cians were sent over to my place for the re­me­dial job of per­form­ing an HVAC main­te­nance. Fol­low­ing a four-hour ef­fort I was told that the job was done with a big ol’ thumbs up com­ing my way from the rather re­lieved look­ing tech­ni­cians.

On en­quir­ing and quizzing them as to why it took longer than planned — I was told it would take no longer than an hour-and-half — a tech­ni­cian showned me pic­tures of the HVAC vents that they snapped while work­ing on it. I flinched look­ing at the sight of the ghastly state of af­fairs that was trans­port­ing the air which me and my wife breathed. ‘ How are we even alive?’ said my wife.

Over a cup of tea with the tech­ni­cians I re­alised that planned pre­ven­tive main­te­nance and a thor­ough clean­ing of the HVAC sys­tem within an in­door space has to be car­ried out ev­ery four months, at least.

What in­trigues me is how of­ten are FM op­er­a­tors car­ry­ing such HVAC works at your client sites?

There won’t be as many cu­ri­ous clients such as me who re­port some­thing that po­ten­tially can­not be seen. And that’s quite wor­ry­ing.

HVAC main­te­nance firm Ep­sco’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ge­orge Thomas echoes this sen­ti­ment in say­ing,

“HVAC main­te­nance al­most goes un­no­ticed as it’s out of sight”. Thomas makes a valid point: Strin­gent KPIs are im­posed on you all for mat­ters per­tain­ing to the floor and even a few hard ser­vices such as chillers that are not al­ways in the oc­cu­pants sight — but what about the HVAC sys­tem?

Does it take the oc­cu­pants health to de­te­ri­o­rate be­fore an FM com­pany steps in?

About the au­thor Nikhil Pereira is the deputy edi­tor of fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment Mid­dle East.

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