Guest post from IRC Building Sciences Group
Winter is coming, and when it comes to facilities management in Canada the old slogan, “Why wait ‘till spring? Do it now!” still applies. The winter is the perfect time to plan the maintenance and repair work that needs to be done in the spring and to get the construction documentation and resources ready so that the work can proceed without delay.
Although it is human nature to wait for the spring to think about construction work, many property managers have learned that there are ways to take advantage of the “off” season. For example, although the snow covers roofs and landscaping, most aspects of Building Condition Assessments, Life Cycle Costing studies, and studies of specific problems can be performed so that priorities for major repair and replacement work can be set.
In fact, winter is the time to see how your facility and its equipment perform during the cold season and to make plans to address energy efficiency issues. An Energy Audit can help you plan strategies to make your facility more comfortable and to find efficiencies that will save money.
If you have already done your planning and you know what work will need to be performed in the spring, then you are one step ahead of the game and you can use the winter for other tasks:
- Find and apply for any available funding programs
- Hire an engineering firm to prepare drawings and specifications for the work
- Tender the project to line-up a contractor
- If you already have interior work that is ready to proceed, now is the time
There are many important advantages to getting as much work done as is possible during the winter. For example, it is much easier to hire engineering firms and contractors than it is during the building season when they are typically bombarded with work. In many cases, money can be saved because there is more competition among engineering firms and contractors for the available work. In addition, engineering firms and contractors will have more time to prepare and can spend more time ensuring that your project will go smoothly.
Other advantages of using the winter for planning and preparation of construction projects are that you can take advantage of the entire building season and you can get funding and contractors lined-up, avoiding the possibility that the resources won’t be available when you need them.
It’s all about being proactive and this applies to other seasons than winter. Ice damming and leaking foundations tend to occur during the spring and driving rains in the fall can cause leaks at windows and doors. Seasonal problems can be studied and addressed when they occur or, better yet, they can be anticipated and addressed in off seasons.
Some emergency repairs and rush projects can’t be avoided but using the seasons to your advantage can help to reduce the emergency phone calls and the expensive repairs that are needed when building systems are neglected or fail. Remember that the winter can be your friend.