Facility shutdown – building management in the time of the coronavirus
The UK lockdown has been extended for another three weeks but as other European countries are slowly opening shops again, owners of non-essential businesses in the UK remain hopeful. For owners and managers of production facilities, hotels, vacation resorts or office buildings it’s more uncertain when they can switch back to full or even partial operation.
While research is ongoing to find a vaccine, governments around the world are taking steps to curb the spread of the virus. Air traffic has largely stalled, trips have been cancelled and people are quarantined or encouraged to stay at home. These necessary measures to save lives are proving to be a strain on the global economy.
Production plants and office buildings are almost empty due to the government’s guidance on social distancing in the workplace. The hospitality industry’s lack of customers has become a big problem. Mass cancellations across rooms, events and conferences may cause many hotels and restaurants to close for good or take on risky loans.
“Tui, the world’s largest tour operator, has frozen payments, suspended contracts with hoteliers and taken an emergency €1.8bn state loan as it copes with the global lockdown.” -Financial Times
Many property owners and facility managers are asking themselves what options are available to keep the COVID-19-related losses in sales and the need for ongoing FM services in balance.
Infrastructural facility management vs technical facility management
At first glance, one might think that the costs of building management services required would balance out, with a reduced need for personnel mirroring a reduction in customers due to government measures. However, this mainly affects the area of infrastructural facility management (cleaning services, catering, rubbish disposal, etc.) and less that of technical facility management (system maintenance, technical equipment maintenance, renovation works, etc.). These technical services, which facility managers might not be able to postpone, will still consume their budget.
Advanced building management with PlanRadar
Regardless of how long the situation takes to resolve, we can agree that a proactive approach, such as properly training your staff, will help everyone to get through this time more efficiently. The earlier you – whether a property owner or a building manager – coordinate with your colleagues, the faster and more effectively you can react in an emergency.
As businesses go back to work it’s imperative to provide your staff with appropriate COVID-19 Health & Safety checklists. These can include one-off tasks like making sure that property entrances allow 2m clearance or taping off every other seat in a canteen. Daily tasks might include managing the supply of PPE and hand sanitizer or disinfecting common areas. A checklist will help keep staff and users of your property feeling safe and give you the ability to track all the measures that are being taken.
This requires a project communication platform that keeps you up to date with your teams and is free of charge for subcontractors. All of these requirements can be easily managed with PlanRadar:
1. Technical Facility management even with smaller teams
Communicate and share information instantly
Strategic facilities management involves a lot of communication in face-to-face meetings. Now that both maintenance technicians and inspectors must coordinate remotely, it might be a challenge to keep up the quality of communication.
Using current technology, you don’t always need to meet in person. With the right ticketing system, you can set your team up for remote working in facility management. Encourage your team to work collaboratively on digital plans. Have a colleague on-site document the before and after of any repairs with photos, comments or voice messages. This lets project members that are not physically present know the current status of works gives them the chance to comment and assign tasks to their teams.
With PlanRadar you can create several tasks in just a few clicks. These tickets not only document existing and upcoming problems but also let you track their progress. All project information is stored securely and centrally on the cloud and can be called up by the different teams at any time and from anywhere. Project members are informed instantly via push-notification whenever important information, such as health & safety guidelines are updated. For example, you can let everyone know at the same time when certain entranceways or staircases need signs or tape to ensure 2m clearance between people.
Instead of switching between emails, phone calls and SMS chats, you can use the dashboard or the user metrics menu (shown above) to see which tasks have to be carried out where, how far they have progressed or whether they are assigned to the right people.
READING TIP: All functions in a glance
2. Simplify on-site hygiene processes for daily use
Even if fewer people are in the building, they need the facilities to ensure proper hygiene. To make hygiene measures part of a daily routine, they must be easy to carry out. They can be as simple as checking hand sanitizer levels, whether workers are using gloves and gowns, or monitoring regular disinfection of light switches and door handles. The use of specially created protocols regarding new hygiene regulations will help you to minimize the risk of infection. You can also export customizable hygiene reports with PlanRadar for rooms with special requirements. It’s easy with our individually configurable report templates:
Step 1: Create a suitable ticket layout and name it something clear such as “Increased hygiene measures” –> Here’s how you do it
Step 2: Customize a report template –> Just like this
Step 3: Apply ticket layouts immediately for the relevant tickets and export your report
3. Daily health and safety checklists
Due to the uncertainty of the next weeks and months and especially for insurance-related reasons, it is important that you not only take stock of your entire inventory or document the condition of your premises, but also check the access arrangements for your property. Make checklists like this one with PlanRadar:
With PlanRadar, you and your team can work quickly and remotely with collaborative checklists like the one above. Document the conditions of your facilities thoroughly with date and time stamps and locate them directly on your digital plans. Protect yourself in the event of having to provide data for an insurance claim.
Keep your facilities ready for the upcoming months. With our flexible and practical app, you have the ability to create processes that maintain critical services. In uncertain times like these, you have the chance to act quickly and be ready for when the situation has normalized again. When the time comes to switch back to full capacity, you’ll be prepared.