In this short piece, I want to spotlight the importance of finding a balanced approach to maintenance that helps facilities managers meet legal requirements as well as optimising energy efficiency and equipment lifetimes.
There are many day-to-day challenges for facilities management teams so finding the service and maintenance sweet spot can really help.
Focusing on this area means that you can meet regulatory requirements, don’t break budgets and can also deliver on corporate energy efficiency and sustainability goals.
If you were to identify what ‘looks good’ for a service and maintenance regime, you would have to start with meeting the basic compliance requirements of UK law and manufacturer warranties.
Tools such as the widely-used SFG20 can help FM providers keep up to date with ever-changing regulations and Standards.
By 2030, the minimum EPC rating will be B which is a huge change from the current minimum of G
Raise the bar
But we should consider that level of S & M as the lowest common denominator because ‘Good’ needs to go further.
This means including another level of planning – getting ahead of potential breakdowns before they occur, for example. This isn’t simply about keeping equipment running but allocating resources (human or financial) most effectively.
Planning has always been important, of course, but building use has changed radically in many sectors, leading to less predictability than ever. Take offices, where the pattern of Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 is on the way out for good.
Occupancy levels may change daily, and tenants are putting a high value on flexible space that can be open-plan one week and switch to individual office pods the next.
A planned service and maintenance programme can help support the effective operation of equipment under pressure from changing usage patterns.
Finding the ideal programme for S&M is further complicated by the growing complexity of equipment in today’s buildings. Cloud-connected services such as valves and fans are helpful, but they can produce a flood of data on performance and energy use that’s difficult to handle, creating more problems than it solves.
To this mix, we can add challenges such as the Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements (MEES) that are putting the focus on energy use in commercial buildings.
By 2030, the minimum allowed EPC rating will be B. That’s a significant change from the current minimum of G and will necessitate many building owners and managers to achieve much more energy efficient building operation.
This puts increased pressure on building services, particularly heating, cooling and DHW requirements in flow. Modern building services equipment, such as chillers, for example, is designed and manufactured to be robust – but planned servicing will help to keep it optimised during these fluctuations.
A ‘good’ maintenance regime must therefore consider all these factors. At Mitsubishi Electric Service & Maintenance, we believe that means adopting planned preventative maintenance (PPM), particularly with building services such as heating and cooling.
Prevention is better than cure
PPM can be easy to introduce with support from the right team. However, working with service providers who are prepared to listen to your requirements is particularly important. For example, it’s easy to assume that energy efficiency is on everyone’s agenda, but not all S&M teams will focus on this.
The benefit of PPM for equipment such as chillers is that it not only ensures your equipment meets regulatory requirements for annual air conditioning checks but also means it’s a lot easier to spot potential problems before they lead to breakdowns – and the loss of cooling and heating in a building.
Good maintenance will also make use of the latest technology, harnessing internet-connected equipment to carry out remote monitoring. That way, the exported data can be tracked off-site, allowing experts to ensure systems operate optimally. For example, Mitsubishi Electric’s Service & Maintenance team can use our MELCloud solution, which logs errors and provides support information. It can also offer live controls and weekly seasonal timers for a single device or location.
Deciding what ‘good’ maintenance looks like for your building is the first step in an ongoing process. But it is worth talking to experts about your needs.
Building on the ‘basics’ of S&M and going further with an energy efficiency-focused programme is an investment in better building operation.
A ‘good’ maintenance programme can reduce your operational costs, and cut the risk of unexpected breakdowns while also helping to manage energy bills. And that certainly looks ‘good’.
Kris Swiderski is Head of Service and Maintenance