Tag Archives: facility automation systems

How Facility Managers Can Handle Occupant Complaints

Did you hear the one about the employee who noticed an ant on a raisin on the floor and instead of picking it up and throwing it away, left a note for the facility manager, who happened to be out of the office for three days? Guess how many ants he found when he got back? Or how about the one where it took an IAQ study to mollify the lawyer who insisted he could smell cigarette smoke? And then there’s that old chestnut: the toilet paper is too rough, or there’s not enough of it, or there’s too much of it. Knowing how to handle occupant complaints is a key skill for facility managers.

Of course you’ve heard these, and you probably have a stack of stories just like them. Maybe funnier. Maybe worse. But facility managers know that complaints are no joke. Attended to willy-nilly, they can multiply endlessly and suck up all your time. Ignored, they can breed resentment, even bigger complaints, and the perception that you’re not doing a very good job. Dealing with complaints, especially the frivolous kind, takes strategy, even cunning. They take a serious attention to customer service, some dabbling in psychology, and rock solid policies.

Recently Building Operating Management surveyed readers on complaints, asking you to share some of your stories and your best tricks. And boy did you respond — from baby geese wrangling to elevator scheduling to a whole bunch of stories we can’t quite print, here are some tales from the trenches. And, more importantly, strategies for handling complaints as productively as possible. (Click here to read some comical, frustrating, or otherwise memorable occupant complaints, as well as practical responses from facility managers.)

Kids in the Hall

Sometimes Larry Virts, local president of BOMA Corpus Christi and property manager with REOC San Antonio, says he feels more like a high school principal. He inherited a tenant mix with glaring differences in work and life styles. In one corner, a call center making up about 25 percent of the building’s population, filled with very young employees who are loud, brash, and often not used to working in a professional setting — at least as evidenced by their behavior. In the other corner, everybody else.

And worse, the call center was clogging the elevators. The tight scheduling typical of a call center was causing this set of employees to enter and leave the facility in large groups. Where other tenants had been always been able to get on an elevator in 40 seconds, now they were waiting two, three, or more minutes — an eternity. The complaints rolled in. When Virts hired on, he resolved to improve the situation.

“The tenant had assumed that complaints made about them were because of their appearance and their loudness, their unrestrained youth,” Virts says. “I think they just assumed that it was a personality clash, never realizing they could make it better.”

After first cultivating a relationship with the call center’s management, Virts says he approached them in a calm manner to find a reasonable solution to the issue. They were very receptive and a compromise was found in staggering start times and break times to relieve long waits for the elevator. It has helped the situation, some, he says.

Up next in this 6 Day series:

Part 2: Wildlife Can Be Popular Or Pests, But Either Can Cause Occupant Complaints
Part 3: Survey: Temperature Complaints Are Most Common, Restroom Complaints A Distant Second
Part 4: Successfully Managing Occupant Complaints Often Involves Determining Underlying Reasons For Complaints
Part 5: Ignoring Occupant Complaints Can Be Tempting, But Often Leads To Further Problems
Part 6: Survey Results: How Facility Managers Handle Occupant Complaints

Let’s Connect. Collaborate. And Partner Together! Learn how to not only manage occupant complaints, but minimize them! Info@setpointsystems.com

Commercial And Retail Buildings To Be The Fastest Adopters Of Remote Monitoring Services In Intelligent Buildings

London — Commercial and retail end users will drive the growth of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings, accounting for more than 80 percent of the $400 million market in 2016, according to a new study by IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

Remote monitoring in intelligent buildings is a service offered by third-party companies that audit and report on the operational performance of a building. The services have two key selling points. First, auditors can make recommendations to save energy costs by determining, for instance, a more efficient schedule for the building automation system. Second, the building owner can reduce internal staffing costs for the facility by using a third-party service provider.

The figure below presents the forecast growth for remote monitoring services used in commercial and retail buildings from 2012 to 2016, with a snapshot of what the market will look like by 2021.

“Remote monitoring services are gaining increased traction as building owners find significant savings to be made, in terms of both decreasing energy bills and reducing staffing costs,” said Sam Grinter, market analyst for building technologies at IHS.  “The drive to reduce overheads has been reinforced over the last five years by tough economic conditions.”

“Commercial and retail end users have been the fastest to take advantage of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings”, Grinter noted, “Because the slashing of operational expenses has been a higher priority for them than for government or institutional end users”.

Remote monitoring service providers have found success with commercial and retail end users by demonstrating the effectiveness of the systems in trial deployments. Then, once the return on investment is demonstrated, services are rolled out throughout the wider building portfolio. The services in intelligent buildings are looked upon as a competitive advantage, which explains why adoption has spread relatively quickly.

As the market develops further, other end-user industries such as education, government, data centers and hospitality will increasingly take advantage of the services, IHS believes. The systems are expected to not only improve building efficiency but also reduce internal staffing costs for monitoring and maintaining buildings.

Coppertree Analytics- Facility Manager

facility

Manage Alarms

Coppertree Insights

The word ‘insight’ carries the idea of a clear and deep perception of a situation. Coppertree Analytics’ Insights are designed to give you a different pair of eyes to look at your facility. Insights give you an awareness and understanding to:

  • The past: see what changed in your facility yesterday
  • The present: see how your facility is performing today
  • The future: see what changes are needed in your facility tomorrow

Mobile Insights

Insights can be accessed via tablets, desktops and any device with a web browser. Or better yet, Coppertree can deliver them to your personnel on duty directly to their mobile devices.

Fault Detection

Our insights are the basis for a more pro-active approach to facility management. Coppertree Analytics’ sophisticated engines are continually examining data from building automation systems, executing fault detection and diagnostic rules and engaging algorithms to perform statistical and pattern analyses. Whether you choose to use our growing library of analytical rules or to create your own rules, setting them up to run on your site is straight forward. once they are set up, they run automatically whether you are looking or not.

Planned Maintenance

Prioritize Time

Traditional scheduled preventative maintenance programs rely on an exhaustive re-commissioning process requiring many man-hours with the final outcome being a deficiency report detailing problems and required fixes. Further man-hours are then required to perform the corrective measures. Coppertree Analytics’ intent is to raise this process to a new level by generating performance reports or score cards from the data collected. This information will help you pinpoint specific problem areas and prioritize the work required to take care of them, effectively automating the report creation process.

Efficient Manpower

Shifting to a planned maintenance approach, the re-commissioning man-hours required in traditional programs can be re-allocated to the man-hours required to take action, hence maximizing your resources, increasing your efficiency and gaining control of what goes on in your facility.

Maintain Performance

Besides performance reports, Coppertree Analytics’ integrity portfolio of services continually probes your building automation system with an array of fault-detection-and-diagnostic rules to give you insights into your building operations. The key in maintaining performance is continuous auditing. It is as if you had a commissioning agent perpetually examining your building and advising on any areas of concern.

Reporting

Golden Standard

As a facility manager, generating reports is not the end in itself; it is the change from the ideal condition that is important. For instance, would you benefit from a detailed report that tells you how your building automation system has changed since the last time a ‘snapshot’ was taken during the initial commissioning? It might be tedious to generate what we call a golden standard report manually, but Coppertree can deliver it to your inbox daily, weekly or monthly through constant comparison between the current state and a Golden Standard you define.

KPI

Coppertree Analytics’ goal is to provide reports that are easy to understand, appropriate for the audience reviewing them and readily available when needed… all this to help you achieve your goals. Key performance indicator reports are excellent auditing tools to measure the overall success or failure of your facility to achieve a specific target. Is like getting a score card for your building and showing you where you need to direct your resources.

Live Trends

Coppertree report libraries range from detailed reports of specific systems or points to summary reports and executive reports available for viewing via web portals on desktops, tablets and mobile devices. The challenge is always to keep your reports up-to-date. Coppertree Analytics’ integration with the building automation system, and it’s abilty to overlay live trend logs on historical data all reporting can be accomplished seamlessly.

If you would like to learn more please visit: Coppertree here or contact a Setpoint Systems Corporation Account manager here for a live Demo!

executive (1)

Operational Effectiveness

How well your sites are managed operationally makes a big difference to how much they cost to run and how productive your people and process are able to be. Coppertree algorithms reach deep into your buildings’ performance giving you far more powerful insights to be able to optimize the resources you allocate to maintenance, and protect the value you have locked in these physical assets.
Resource Optimization

How do you know if you are getting value for money from the budgets you allocate to keeping your buildings running? Largely you judge this based upon ‘down time costs’ or perhaps the number of complaints or issues being resolved. Coppertree is able to give you live data which can help your operations team prioritize their time, and maintenance budgets, more efficiently by focusing attention on problems the system indicates often before they cause serious consequences. Think of Coppertree as the enabling ‘just in time’ maintenance with all the efficiencies that brings like longer equipment life, less routine servicing, and lower energy costs.

Asset Value

Your buildings and equipment probably add up to a sizable sum on your balance sheet – they are expensive to purchase and short cuts in maintenance investments come back to bite you. Wouldn’t it be nice to know you were carefully protecting those assets but at the lowest possible cost without it impacting you later? With Coppertree you can target your spending and carefully control your environment (and prove it) by monitoring your system to constantly evolve a ‘golden standard’ (building optimization). You have a window into your building performance which tells you, what has happened where and indicates where you need to make changes, so you can make the most of what you have.

Productivity

Facilities staff have to balance urgent requests with important maintenance cycles, and if you’ve delved into their offices you’ll have seen the range of systems they need to monitor and the post it note reminders plastered about – help them see the forest for the trees with some clarity provided by Coppertree Analytics.

Energy Efficiency

As every CEO knows ‘you get what you measure’ and that is especially true with energy management because it requires changes to behaviors, processes and site management to cut energy use. Leading a ‘green company’ means having easily accessible and accurate metrics which result in specific functional actions – if energy measures are not constantly visible they slip down the priority list. So it is important to make it as easy as possible for your staff to get the essential information they need for their roles – Coppertree will do this for you.

Reduce Consumption

By measuring your energy use, reporting it widely and acting on it energy savings of 20 to 33% are reported. This doesn’t happen by itself unfortunately but Coppertree gives you the understanding of which part of your building systems are using the most energy and can be optimized, and which can be powered down in certain conditions. Many larger companies have a dedicated energy manager on staff, this is becoming a more common role because generally the energy savings they facilitate more than covers their costs. Coppertree is provides invaluable insights with drill down details for these roles which makes energy management far easier to implement (so quicker payback). However if energy management isn’t a dedicated role within your organization Coppertree can help your facilities manage release many energy savings themselves.

Calculate Savings

On every investment, and your buildings are significant ones, you want to know the return. Where costs are under scrutiny Coppertree helps you defend maintenance expenditures by helping you target them specifically and demonstrate energy savings. You can see energy usages trends for sites, or individual system components to make it clear the progress you are making to reduce energy consumption.

Access Government Rebate

Coppertree can help you access valuable peak demand energy rebates, our team can help find out what energy utilities require in your area, and with Coppertree insights you’ll know which non-core systems can be powered down to cut peak demand to meet the thresholds required. Demonstrating energy savings plans can also make your business eligible for a number of special grants and tax breaks in some regions – Coppertree gives you all the data you need to demonstrate how much you are savings and how continuous commissioning will continue to progress your energy efficiency plan.

Corporate Responsibility

It can seem an expensive commitment to make a more sustainable organization a reality; in part this is because behavioral change is required. People don’t think green at work and automatically conserve resources as they would at home – Coppertree dashboards make your sustainability agenda very visible and have been proven to improve energy savings. Reporting on energy progress is also very valuable when it comes to writing the annual report to substantiate your CSR initiatives with real quantifiable data to avoid any ‘green-wash’ accusations

Carbon Footprint

Collectively the world’s buildings are worse Carbon users than all of the world’s cars. That may seem surprising but then consider your energy bills and how you spend heating or cooling your site. We all know that climate change is a reality we need to deal with now, for the sake of future generations, and businesses have a significant part to play in actively reducing the carbon they use. It can seem a hard road to start down but Coppertree can be a simple first step, which can not only highlight many energy saving opportunities available in your building but report on the progress you are making to measure the energy you save.

Alternative Energy

Energy can come from many different sources and Coppertree is able to be configured to show you the different energy inputs your building uses and measure each separately. You can be confident your renewable contribution will be tracked and measured, and when appropriate record how much and when you were able to sell energy back into the grid. Transparent energy usage reporting is a click away with Coppertree.

Aligning Goals

You can use Coppertree to help align the goals of your energy manager and you facilities managers, whom can often have conflicting objectives – lower energy usage Vs cool occupant comfort in summer. Because Coppertree can be a shared energy platform accessed by multiple users in your organization you can set shared key performance indicators visible to all. You can print and export energy reports to use in internal communications or display the dashboards in public areas to demonstrate the commitment your organization is making to carbon reduction via energy management. The experience has been that your employees will become far more engaged and contribute by changing their behaviors if you actively demonstrate progress towards clear energy targets. Coppertree gives you the perfect platform with accurate data and varied displays to set a target and track progress towards it.

If you would like to learn more please visit: Coppertree here or contact a Setpoint Systems Corporation Account manager here for a live Demo!