The day-to-day role of a facilities manager is to help maintain a safe and efficient environment that meets a worker’s needs. A company’s facilities manager therefore knows the ins and outs of the site, and will know when it’s time for a renovation. It could be hard for the team to be productive alongside construction work, so ensuring renovations are completed before the deadline and to budget, as well as to the business’ expectations is critical. Here Tom Dunn, vice president of sales at National Flooring Equipment explores how facilities managers can work with contractors to ensure smooth surface preparation.
Facilities managers take on a variety of responsibilities when overseeing a building, conducting checks and maintenance to ensure that daily operations run smoothly. So, when the building no longer meets the needs of the team, a facilities manager can provide valuable knowledge on how to renovate the space effectively.
What about the floor?
While it may not seem like the most important part of a building renovation, businesses should think about the floor, because it will be integral to daily operations. Foot traffic, equipment needs and the intended use of the space will all be impacted by the floor. For example, thick carpet in hallways with high foot traffic used to transport equipment from room to room will be quickly trampled on and need regular maintenance. On the other hand, cold, ceramic tile might make a small break-out space feel cold and unwelcoming.
Collaborating with the contractor
Hiring a contractor with surface preparation expertise will help a facilities manager gain insight into the best covering for the different spaces in the facility and how to achieve the desired finish. When choosing a contractor, facilities managers should also clearly communicate their needs and preferred timelines so that they can find a contractor that has access to the best equipment for the job.
Inviting the contractor to assess the space before construction work starts can improve productivity later down the line. A contractor can look at the existing covering and the concrete substrate underneath and understand the desired finish to determine what machinery, tooling and materials they need. Showing them how to access the building could also influence the equipment choice — for example, if working on higher floors with no lift access, contractors will only be able to use smaller, lighter machines.
Preparing the space
Clearing the site before the contractor arrives will help streamline construction work and prevent delays. Removing any equipment that can move and covering anything affixed will prevent damage and eliminate obstacles for the contractor.
Facilities managers should also make staff aware of the work taking place and relocate them to ensure both the team and contractors are kept safe. If team members remain on site during the renovation, facilities managers should instruct the contractor so that they can limit access to the site and take steps to reduce dust inhalation.
Delays to renovations often occur when there is a lack of communication between contractors and the facilities managers. Everyone involved in the project needs to understand the clear expectations of the final building and the deadline for the renovation, so that everyone works to the same goal.
Daily check-ins with the contractor enables the facilities manager to understand progress and provide any support that could improve productivity. While facilities managers may want to return to normal operations as soon as possible, they should also understand that proper surface preparation takes time. Rushing the process could cause the new covering to be loose or bubble, which is both visually unappealing and can put workers at risk.
Once the work is complete, contractors can advise on how to extend the lifespan of the flooring, for example any extra coatings to prevent damage or advice on how to maintain the new surface.
According to a workplace safety survey from Staples, 73 per cent of employees said that well-managed offices enabled them to do their job more efficiently. By taking an active role in renovations, facilities managers can effectively communicate the needs of the team and work closely with contractors to successfully deliver a more welcoming and efficient space.
For more advice on managing surface preparation work, contact National Flooring Equipment.