Facility Maintenance – Coordinating on Site Work with Ongoing Operations
By Alisa Schneider, Manager and Counsel, AIA Contract Documents
November 2, 2022
As an office building owner, you will need to procure services throughout the life of your building in order to maintain it and keep it in good working condition. The building may need ongoing services, such as snow removal, and landscaping, or you may need to procure as needed services, such as a roof repair, or the replacement of a roof top cooling unit. In any event, you will need to consider the current use of your office building and determine what, if any, considerations, you may need to make in order to coordinate the work while the building remains occupied. The information below will highlight considerations that an owner or a facility maintenance manager may need to make when coordinating on site work for a building that remains occupied.
Site Access. When considering site access, this may mean access to the parking lot or the access to a certain location in the building where the work will be performed. Many office buildings may have a code for the parking lot, or a badge may be required to access the building. You may need to coordinate with your contractor to determine how many people may need a code, or a badge in order to access the site where the work will be performed.
Security. Once you grant access to your contractor, how will you ensure that you secure the building while the work is performed, and after the work is complete? How do you ensure that a contractor visiting the site does not have access to office documents and information unrelated to the work that will be performed? In this case, you may want to consider a company-designated escort in areas where it is hard to protect company information and property.
Business Disruption. Proper planning for the work will be necessary to ensure that the contractor performing the work will not disrupt the ongoing operations of the business. A few examples of this include:
Work hours. If the work is loud, or particularly disruptive to office staff, you may want to consider defining specific work hours to perform the work when office staff is offsite. The special work hours may apply to the entire work scope, or only to discrete tasks performed during the contractor’s period of performance.
Traffic. In some cases, the contractor’s access to the work may be the same access point used by employees throughout the course of the business day. If so, you may need to schedule the contractor’s work during times when the employee traffic is low to prevent any traffic flow impacts in the office. The work may also block access to certain portions of the office used by staff. In which case, you may need to coordinate the best time to perform the work to ensure minimal disruption to the office staff or find another route for contractors and office staff to access certain areas of the building.
Use of power or other office utilities. To the extent that the office will supply the contractor with use of power, access to the network, or use of other utilities, you may want to consider whether the use of such utilities will pose a risk to the continuity of business operations. To the extent the risk is big enough, you may want to have the contractor procure temporary utilities separate from the utilities that already exist for the office staff.
In any event, careful planning for the contractor’s work on your office building will ensure the work is performed well, and with the least amount of disruption on the office staff using your building.
AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.