Niche FM’s Brief: An Overview of the Project
Our initial brief from Environment Canterbury was to complete a Health Check on the existing arrangements for facilities management. We focussed on building compliance, facilities management, contract and contractor management, overall building performance, management procedures such as quality assurance and health and safety, commissioning, building handover processes and asset management.
Following receipt of the Health Check Report, which detailed a raft of medium and longer-term recommendations for the ongoing maintenance of the asset, our brief was significantly expanded into ‘make it happen’. We were also asked to assist with the resolution of outstanding issues with the building systems. The end of the Defects Liability period on the new build had passed with little or no resolution of performance issues, particularly with the mechanical plant. Most of the warranties had expired. Maintenance had been sporadic during the twelve months since occupation, which proved problematic when trying to obtain a Building Warrant of Fitness. Our brief was to put the organisation on track to ensure that the asset is properly maintained and managed for the whole of its life.
There is one phrase that comes up time and time again when considering how to manage an asset long-term; Best Practice. We proposed the application of tried and tested, internationally recognised methodologies to achieve the client’s goal of robust contractual arrangements with contractors who not only understand the client’s business but are willing to engage with them to provide a successful outcome.
A simple plan is, more often than not, the easiest to achieve. Once the recommendations arising from the Health Check had been discussed with, and prioritised by the client, we set about writing specifications and contracts for the provision of maintenance services, both to cover the immediate need and for going to the market later for an overarching Facilities Maintenance Services contract. At the same time we re-established communications with the Engineer to the Project, the Project Manager, the main contractor and the major sub-contractors to agree an action plan to clear the remaining mechanical and electrical defects. Structural defects were added to our brief at about the six month mark.
Those contractors who had been performing had their service formalised and those who had not were replaced with locally based suppliers who demonstrated the desired culture and commitment. Clarity was provided with detailed specifications, scopes of work and plain English contracts complete with Relationship Management processes and Key Performance Indicators. These were then incorporated into the RFP documents for the Facilities Maintenance Services contract. A formal structure was implemented to manage the resolution of building defects.
This project has taken several months to complete and significant improvements have been realised, not least completing the RFP process to put in place the Facilities Maintenance Services contract and the resolution of all outstanding building defects. The client allocated adequate time to work through the complex recommendations arising from the Health Check and we have now developed a robust and enduring contract management framework to ensure optimal operation and long-term management of their assets. Such a framework, alongside healthy relationships with expert providers and fit for purpose software, has allowed Environment Canterbury to focus on core business without the need for onerous client input.