Commercial building operators are continuously challenged to improve operational performance and increase tenant satisfaction, all while tightly managing both Operational Expense (OpEx) and Capital Expense (CapEx) budgets.
It can be difficult to find balance, especially when under the time pressure of items that need to be fixed immediately.
Tactic 1 : Keep Tenants Top of Mind
Tenants often are the first to notice when a HVAC or plumbing system breaks. These issues can be as innocuous as a hotel room split-system that can’t hold a set-point, to a large water heater leaking through multiple apartments. Some tenants are more forgiving than others, and may not notify you of an issue right away. Others may leave you a poor review online at the slightest hint of indoor chill on a cold day.
Technology now exists that allows you to understand the type, age, and condition of your equipment in your buildings, and across your portfolio. By leveraging this information while making your investment decisions, you can keep your tenants top of mind while keeping your systems maintained.
Tactic 2 : Balance Internal Staff with Outside Contractors
Business of all shapes and sizes are being asked to do more with less. Commercial building operations are no different. It can be quite valuable to review the type of work that internal staff is completing daily. Often, this analysis can provide valuable insight into how to optimize work loads of internal staff and external resources. Additionally, external contractors usually carry lower hourly burden-rates than employees, and can provide needed ‘flex-time’ without paying for additional overtime or headcount.
Tactic 3 : Streamline Routine Work & Operational Expenses (OpEx)
High use buildings like multifamily, hotels, and senior living require ongoing and routine maintenance. By cataloging those tasks that are 1) done the most frequently, 2) have the highest labor rates, 3) cost the most to perform, you can optimize your ongoing efforts. Those items that check two or more of these boxes are prime candidates to streamline.
Perhaps you can streamline your equipment sourcing on some, while optimizing your labor rates on others.
Whatever the repetitive tasks and equipment may be at your facility, there is certainly a way to improve either the equipment or the labor supply chain to optimize monthly operational expenses.
Tactic 4 : Understand Equipment Failure to Optimize Capital Expenses (CapEx)
Often when a single HVAC system or water heater fails at an apartment building or a hotel, others are likely to follow. Mechanical and electronic systems typically fail along a ‘bath-tub’ curve. This means you are likely to see a few failures early on, nearly zero failures during the middle of the warranty period, and then an ever increasing failure rate as the systems age beyond their warranty period.
By collecting information on these failures, along with the information on system age and condition, you can optimize your capital investments to the systems that are most at risk of entering a steep failure rate, and prevent unnecessary downtime or tenant disruption.
Tactic 5 : Get a second opinion
When receiving quotes for routine repair, replacement, and preventative maintenance projects, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Even when you’ve developed a strong relationship with a good local contractor, a second opinion can help keep your numbers tight and your projects running smoothly.
As technology advances, there are now more options than ever to help source quality equipment and qualified local labor for your buildings.
Get Started : Implement These HVAC & Plumbing Tactics
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Originally posted on LinkedIn.