As colleges and universities prepare for the 2021-22 academic year and with campus members away for campus break, the summer months make for a perfect time for facilities staff members to reassess the grounds and facilities maintenance needs. There are a few different areas that facilities staff should consider to make their facility as modern and safe as possible. Some include:
To be more cost efficient, older lights in buildings can be replaced with LEDs that use less watts. A lot of older lights can be anywhere between 70 - 250 watts, which can be replaced with LED lights that are only 30 watts or less. This not only saves money, but it saves energy as well.
Utilize modern smart campus technology by installing different devices such as cameras, sensors, and machines which are all embedded with smart technology. One example includes smart sensors in athletic stadiums to improve operational efficiencies by using sensors to send data about water usage, concession sales, and even noise levels. Other schools are using smart sensors to remotely manage the electricity, heat, and cooling on campus by using WIFI to determine how many people are in a room and sending that data to the HVAC system to automatically adjust based on that information.
Schedule a professional energy audit to systematically identify and develop opportunities to help reduce energy use in a building. This can help the facilities manager see where the school may be wasting energy and hopefully lead to a decrease in operating costs.
Delegate work such as painting, cleaning, or simple plumbing tasks to the facilities team instead of outsourcing. A lot of facilities hire outside contractors to paint and fix other blemishes in the facility. They also hire cleaning crews to come in, especially in the summer months, to deep clean the facilities. The facilities manager can step back and reassess where they can delegate these tasks to the facilities team to lower operating costs.
Take a proactive approach to maintenance - to make sure small problems don’t escalate into larger ones. Facilities managers can do a walk through every so often and document what needs to be addressed immediately so prevent larger issues. Some things to inspect for repair/replacement are: doors (door sweeps, door stops, sticking locks, etc.), corner guards, tile and grout, light switches and faceplates, ceiling tiles, countertops and shelving, cabinets and hinges, and fire extinguishers.
Always record when they have inspections. This helps comply with OSHA regulations and reminds the facilities manager when they should schedule the next inspection.
Invest in technology solutions that can provide multiple contact points when alerting campus members of potential hazards or incidents to ensure that everyone receives an alert. For example, students may use their phones more regularly to receive campus communications whereas faculty and staff may be more prone to checking their email for those types of communications. If you implement a robust communication system, which offers emails, text alerts, and other forms of communication, it guarantees that all users will receive an alert.
Ensure facilities documentation is consistent and up-to-date. Institutions can consider moving away from paper records and move into the digital space, which can provide easier means of updating records on the go. Inaccurate and out-of-date documentation can decrease campus safety by causing incidents, accidents, injuries and more as well as increase the likelihood of potential lawsuits. Up-to-date documentation can also help with taking a proactive approach to facilities maintenance.
Facilitate assessments and document the conditions of all main equipment and systems. By documenting assets, facilities managers can note when the equipment needs to be replaced, the condition of the equipment, and any incidents that occur.
Implement an EHS or Facilities Management Safety Software, which allows facilities managers to organize and access information and helps them ensure their compliance. Facilities management software systems can also provide a customer facing solution for reporting improvements and tracking requests. They can allow students, faculty, and staff to report hazardous incidents at the time of the occurrence. Users are able to immediately get notified when an incident has been reported. Facilities managers can leverage their software system to make EH&S benchmarks transparent. Facilities managers are able to immediately alert the public about incidents that range anywhere between hazards in a specific building to weather conditions or road closures.
Facilities managers can use facilities management software systems such as the Vector EHS platform to assist with all of the tips. Following these tips all year round will help a facilities manager stay organized and easily know information regarding the facilities.
Vector EHS can reduce lost days, property damage, insurance premiums, loss payouts, OSHA fines, and indirect costs such as training a new employee or an employee’s valuable time. It can help your institution increase overall safety, better manage safety data, and identify risk areas on campus that need to be addressed.
Vector EHS can help you manage the following activities:
Improve campus safety with our configurable Vector EHS Platform, which empowers you to efficiently record and trend safety data, reduce risk, and ensure compliance. Vector EHS is an environmental health system that streamlines all products for safety reporting. Vector EHS can assist with these main challenges: