Facilities Managers know the stuff contractors need to know

It’s common, these days, for handover meetings to mark the end of a contractor’s involvement with a building project. They too will have meetings with their clients at 12 month defect stage. I suspect only a few of the more responsible firms hold review meetings to discuss lessons learnt once the building is in use. That’s a pity because the dwindling practice is one of the few ways in which a Facilities Manager can influence the contractor’s decisions for future projects.

Ironmongery provides an example which illustrates why contractors need to learn from Facilities Managers. The cost of a project’s ironmongery may be tiny in terms of the total budget – statistics show it averages less than 1% – but the hassle poor choices can cause is immense. Facilities Managers suggest hardware equates to 50% of the problems they handle on a day to day basis.

Often the nature of a project means that lock cylinders are replaced at the last minute – a security measure that makes a great deal of sense. We speak to a lot of Facilities Managers who very soon after handover are ordering additional keys and changing cylinders to accommodate different suiting. Maybe some of this is unavoidable. The rush to meet deadlines is an understandable cause of minor issues.  It must be galling, however, for a Facilities Manager to find a brand-new building has been completed with inferior quality product or that have been poorly fitted in the rush to complete. They know, right at the outset, that there will be trouble ahead.

If contractors were to ask Facilities Managers for their input, things would change. Materials would be chosen with more focus on their in-use qualities and longevity rather than cost. Perhaps some of the issues caused by last-minute changes could be avoided. Contractors having more emphasis on life cycle costs of the building rather than merely the build cost.

The knowledge is out there, and contractors need to make use of it.