FMs – let me set the scene for you. It’s Christmas Day, and you’re sat with a glass of red wine, having devoured in one sitting the same amount as would usually be consumed in a week – the eyes are starting to go but falling asleep at the table would be deemed anti-social. Suddenly, you are awoken from this stage of ultimate relaxation by the tone of your mobile phone. It’s the security guard of a retail park that you manage and he is trying to tell you that there has been a major leak and water is working its way into the Argos unit. Your mind suddenly floods (excuse the pun) with images of the store manager hunting you down in the morning to explain why he can’t open on one of the biggest selling days of their year – for the Boxing Day sales.
We only have to look back to last winter, a winter that wasn’t cold. The weather certainly brought with it a number of surprises, and Christmas proved to be a difficult period with excessive rainfall and flooding. If there is one thing that erratic weather has taught us – it is that we all need to plan, for any eventuality.
Between December 01 and February 28, our reactive maintenance helpdesk received a whopping 21,753 calls – a 42 per cent increase on last year – all as a result of the weather.
Adverse weather puts properties and tenants at risk, and it gives FMs a real task – forcing them to attempt to call on contractors operating on skeleton staff and contact tenants in an effort to make safe their properties.
Should the weather cause any issues during the festive period, it’s likely that FMs (and their contractors) will be called upon to come to the rescue. And, even if the weather remains mild, reactive issues may still occur, especially where leaks and heating issues occur.
Having a helpdesk that understands your business, properties and the tenants, means that there doesn’t need to be a knee jerk reaction; situations can be efficiently and effectively planned for and managed – whatever the weather, and whatever time of year – even if the FM can’t be reached.
At the end of the day, FMs have a lot of balls to juggle – they just need to be safe in the knowledge that should anything occur at any of their sites, there is someone on hand to manage the issue at hand – no matter what time of year.
Ian Robertson, director at Propertyserve