Dennis Flower, editor of Premises & Facilities Management looks at the options to consider when preparing for the coming winter

With October traditionally regarded by many as the start of the heating season, the autumn is also the time when many Facilities Managers are involved in discussing and setting budgets that could well provide the opportunity to review existing planned and preventative maintenance (PPM) schedules for heating and hot water plant and equipment.

After the UK experienced a particularly harsh winter across the 2017/18 season, it’s likely that systems were subjected to higher demand than normal and the placing of higher levels of wear and tear on components could result in issues arising when systems become more active over the next few months, particularly relevant for ageing plant and equipment or those that haven’t been serviced recently.

Careful consideration will help to ensure that any agreed outcome is as effective as possible.

Dennis Flower PfM Dennis Flower Editor of Premises & Facilities Management

Spares

Options to consider could include the storage of spares on site to allow maintenance engineers to resolve issues as quickly as possible and avoiding having to wait for these to be ordered.

In order to make this practice as effective as possible, FMs and their service providers can refer to their records from previous years to identify the parts most likely to be required.

Using monitored data

One of the emerging trends is the increased level of monitoring of systems through wifi-enabled sensors sending data to web-based platforms, which can be accessed from any location with an Internet connection by those responsible for the upkeep.

These have proved popular through identifying emerging issues and allowing them to be fixed before they create problems, in addition to allowing adjustments to be made without having to send engineers to the plant room.

Rapid ROI

While both of the above options require investment that could involve additional cost to the existing PPM regime, each has the potential to provide rapid return on investment through keeping systems running at optimum efficiency levels and avoiding excessive energy demand.

Managing cost is frequently regarded as a fine balancing act where those responsible are seen as damned if they spend too much and also when they spend too little.

However, careful consideration by FMs, service providers and equipment suppliers will help to ensure that any agreed outcome is as effective as possible.

Dennis Flower is editor of PFM Magazine