By Lynn Pearcey, MBA, Copywriter, AIA Contract Documents
April 10, 2023
Aside from your people and products, your facility is your most important asset. It’s where you hatch products and solutions and the creative forces that drive your business lives. Even in a world where remote work is becoming prevalent, where your staff and business reside, the home base is still one of the most critical pieces of your model.
Since your facility is so important, it stands to reason you’d want to make sure it receives proper care. Proper care is where Facility Maintenance (FM) comes into play. In years past, who would handle this assignment was a no-brainer as it fell into the hands of onsite personnel. That’s no longer the case, as more than 50% of North American, European, and Middle Eastern facilities use an outside FM vendor.
If you’re considering joining the outsourcing crowd, here are four things you should consider before making that change.
You’ll receive many responses whenever your bid to maintain your facility goes out. Respondents will make promises, extolling their services as they work to win your business. As you comb through those responses, remember one crucial fact: all FM vendors aren’t created equal. Every vendor will respond to your requirements and say they’re capable and up to the challenge. But a closer review will tell the whole story.
Research their services and ensure they align with your facility’s needs. If you find they’ve maintained a facility like yours, ask about their challenges, how the vendor overcame them, and what they learned. Lastly, ask how those learned lessons apply to your facility.
Technology is a central piece of FM. Gone are the days when a mop, broom, squeegee, and bucket were enough to service a facility. Your facility is a living organism with needs that require advanced technology to address them. So, before signing on with a vendor, ask how much of their strategy revolves around the latest FM technologies.
Depending on your facility, the use of technology could be a deal breaker. So, in this area, take advantage of the opportunity to determine if and how technology influences their service. What kinds of software will they use as part of their offering, and how will it deliver value to you? Ask about Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Find out if those technologies will be at your facility and the benefits you’ll derive from their inclusion.
Scope of Services
Before hiring your FM vendor, consider how your facility will grow in the coming years. Next, consider whether the vendor you’re considering can scale up to meet your changing needs without compromising quality. A good rule of thumb is not to hire for where you’re at; hire for where you see your facility going.
If you determine the vendor can scale with your facility, look at quality. Will the quality of service diminish as they try to keep pace with your needs? Service is a significant part of the scaling process, so by all means, pay close attention to this area.
Checking references is something most employers do before they make a hiring decision. It’s one final bit of due diligence to ensure the prospective new hire aligns well with their organization. Reference checks are essential for employers looking to bring a new hire aboard and important when hiring an FM vendor.
Remember, your facility is an asset, not just a place where your team clocks in and out. With that, treat it as such, approaching the decision to hire a vendor to maintain your facility with the same vigor as you would with a prospective employee. Ask for references, call them, and get a feel for the team you’re considering. Find out where they’re weak and what they do well. From there, decide how those responses will play with your facility’s needs.
Your facility matters, and you must go the extra mile when hiring an outside resource to maintain them. Ensure the vendor you choose has a skill set capable of servicing your facility. Technology is changing how we live, work, and maintain our facilities. Find out how your prospects are leveraging technology to drive results.
Equally important as technology is the scope of services. Make sure the scope of services aligns with the needs of your facility. Last but certainly not least, do your homework, and check references. The feedback from past and current customers will give you insights into what you can expect. It might seem like a chore and burdensome, but in the long run, doing these things will ensure one of your most valuable business assets gets the care it deserves.
AIA Contract Documents new facilities maintenance documents are designed to address the business conditions and legal environment of facilities maintenance. The documents are intended to be used when a client hires a contractor to perform any building repair, maintenance, or improvement, and are further described below. Learn more here: AIA Contract Documents New Facility Maintenance Agreements
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.