1. Understand All Operating Costs from the Start
You will need to know all the costs to be incurred to maintain the operations of your property before you can employ begin any cost-saving interventions in management of your property. Identifying your property’s costs begins by specifying the fixed costs i.e., the costs that do not change from month to month and noting them down appropriately. For instance, £50,000 per year paid for professional window cleaning services or £12,000 for HVAC maintenance can be accounted for as an annual figure.
An accurate identification of the fixed and variable costs of your building helps you to develop a price benchmark to compare your building’s operating costs against the price of the similar services offered in market by other suppliers, and determine if you are overpaying for the service. Ensure you have a good understanding of the service package as captured in the service contracts before finding ways/renegotiating to increase value for your money. For instance, the frequency of the building maintenance service rendered matters; are your windows cleaned fortnightly, monthly or at short notice?
Proper planning may require that you provide a contingency allowance for the settlement of the unexpected costs. This is because, even with the best of financial planning, there are costs that cannot be accurately pre-determined. You may need to rely on past budgets plans to estimate cost of a building operating service and add a fair contingency allowance for each itemized cost. Also, do not forget to account for the one-off and seasonal costs incurred to maintain your property.
2. Make Use of Technology to Reduce Manual Work and Unnecessary Costs
Building Management Systems (BMS) and digital twins have grown in popularity and will continue to play an important future role in defining how buildings can be managed more efficiently. PSR discuss the implementation of smart technology in facilities management in this article.
BMS is a computer-based system of hardware and software programs that function to control and monitor electrical installations in a building such as HVAC, lighting, energy, fire, alarm and security systems. The benefit of the BMS is that is allows property owners and landlords to minimize energy costs and at the same time provide comfort to the building occupiers. Additionally, BMS supports remote operation, allowing for receipt of commands from a maintenance staff in a distant location.
Digital twins e.g. Matterport allows the building owner to carry out a survey of the building, study the layouts and make reports on the building’s condition to help prepare building maintenance and remodeling plans. Digital twins provide huge access to a building’s information and allows for visual recording of inventory as required in a maintenance programme.
At Unify, we have availed different software platforms to our customers to enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in the administration of building maintenance services. For instance, Podfather presents to our customers the progress of our specialist cleaning delivery teams and, showing when the job is done, while also providing an automated proof of service delivery right to their inbox.
Likewise, with Ezitracker, allows for efficient management of our teams and acknowledges receipt of the necessary capitation from our customers to help us plan for work and deliver to our customers’ delight. Our customers can receive an assessment showing how much time is spent in property/office space cleaning and, how each penny has been utilized. Additionally, we have a team of experts who assess all customer provisions in facilities management agreements, mapping out opportunities to streamline service delivery and save on time and cost. Additionally, we provide various ‘value-added’ and flexible services without extra charges – which is out of keeping with the typical Service Level Agreements (SLA).
3. Increase Energy Savings
There are significant gains that can be realized by the building owner in terms of energy saving by simply switching to reliance on energy-efficient lighting and equipment or other methods like using the right standards for the building’s insulation and glazing material. However, the initial step of reducing your property’s energy bills is realizing how much energy you are consuming in your house.
Unify Energy has developed with a sub-meter technology that provides an accurate reading of the energy consumption for individual tenants living in a multi-tenanted building unit. That way, we help the building owner top ensure each tenant rightfully pays for their own energy consumed. On the basis of such a transparent assessment of the energy consumption in the building, the building owner and tenants alike can begin engagement to find ways of reducing energy costs.
Also, the building occupiers find equity and value in our sub-meter technology system because it helps them to accurately apportion the building energy bills according to each tenant according to how much energy each tenant consumes. That way, payment for energy bills in the building is proportional to the energy units consumed by each tenant over a given period. Additionally, the system relieves the landlord the responsibility of accounting for energy bills for the whole building, and can separately and directly bill each tenant for energy consumption.
4. Extend the Lifespan of Your Systems with Proactive Maintenance Practices
Ultimately, it proves to be a zero-sum game whenever a property owner attempts to reduce the frequency of the required regular technical maintenance programmes for their property hoping to cut costs. There is an undeniable need to have your building’s plumbing, heating and air-conditioning systems tested on a regular basis and as part of scheduled maintenance.
Through proactive building maintenance practices, the building owner is able to manage the small defects and deter their degeneration and the occurrence of a huge building service problem at a later time. Even the minor defects, when left unchecked, greatly reduce the lifespan of the building’s service systems, and could cause expensive repairs/replacements in the future.
At the same time, it is always useful to contact the manufacturer of the equipment or your FM partner, in case you are not sure of the specification of a recommended maintenance schedule for the service equipment in your building.
5. Don’t Disregard Legal Compliance Responsibilities
Often, there are various tests and inspection exercises building owners are legally required to conduct within their buildings. However, the responsibility for legal compliance within the building can lie with either the building owner or the occupier. Part of the legal compliance in a building is ensuring the building is safe for all those people who use it. Noteworthy, missed building inspections can be the basis for a fine or cause prosecution of the involved party.
Working with a FM partner helps you to formulate efficient programmes to test and provide you with notification in case of a change in law that is likely to affect operations of your building.