Facilities Managers (FM’s) have complex roles and they need to manage a range of different activities every day. More often than not, their success is highly dependent on the performance of a range of third party suppliers, especially in the area of maintaining your heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which requires specialist knowledge. Given this heavy reliance on third party suppliers, we thought it might be useful to clarifywhat you should expect from your suppliers to ensure that they help rather than hinder you in your role ..
Facilities Managers are often deemed to be doing a good job if things DON’T GO WRONG, rather than whether things are GOING WELL. This is particularly the case HVAC – you certainly notice the difference when heating or air conditioning fails or malfunctions. So you need to know that you can rely on your HVAC engineers to do a good job. This article highlights the 5 things that FMs should expect of their HVAC contractor to ensure they perform well.
5 basic service standards that you should expect from your H VAC contractor
The following is a list of the five basic standards that you should set for your HVAC contractor:
- Competency and qualifications: Repairs, installations and servicing of HVAC systems require professionally-trained engineers with relevant qualifications and accreditations. This ensures you get the best service and advice from knowledgeable professionals. When you enter into a service agreement, be sure to enquire about the level of training received by engineers, their experience, knowledge and accreditations. Incompetence or inexperience may lead to rather undesirable and costly consequences for both FMs and building occupants.
- Equipment register: Your contractor should have a clear understanding of your premises, equipment and assets. A comprehensive asset list that includes all pertinent information to assist in capacity planning and the drawing up of maintenance schedules. The complexity around HVAC equipment demands a thorough understanding of its age, service history and utilisation trends.
- Quality of equipment: Insist that your contractor uses the best equipment that you can afford when installing, repairing or replacing parts in your system. It may seem an attractive option to use less-costly replacement parts, but this will compromise the general quality of your system that may lead to issues involving safety, hygiene, longevity and overall performance.
- Clearly defined service: Assumptions around the scope of service provided may lead to FMs facing added difficulty in emergency situations and tension between provider and client. Your service providers should clearly stipulate and agree the specification to which they are working and identify which elements fall outside the scope of the agreement. This prevents you from receiving an unexpected bill from your supplier for “out of scope” work performed.
- Guarantee on work performed: Finally, be sure that work performed by your contractor carries a quality guarantee that safeguards you and your business from potential financial loss incurred by poor workmanship. The lifespan and reliability of an HVAC solution largely depends on the quality of work performed on it.
Contractors should be your partner and understand your unique requirements
We have described here the five basic service levels and capabilities that you should expect from any HVAC service provider. These are the fundamental elements of any service level agreement (SLA) between you and your service provider. In the event of a dispute, your SLA acts as the “go to” material to clarify misunderstandings and safeguard all parties involved. A focus on these basic service standards will help you to ensure that your HVAC goes unnoticed by customers and staff in your premises.
In future posts, we’ll take a look at how your HVAC service provider can deliver value added that is “above and beyond” the basic contract.