Head of Facility Maintenance, Director of Plant Operations or Building Systems Manager—these titles are all fancy sounding names that don’t begin to describe the roles and duties of the people that take care of the special places that many people call home. Office buildings may require a janitor. Apartments may have a building super. Across the spectrum of senior living options, the buildings and campuses require a much broader skill set by people who wear many hats and perform a wide variety of tasks. These people are critical to the success of a community.
AG Architecture has been involved in many repositioning projects on small single building sites and on large, city block sized campuses. In each case, the person we want to meet with is the person who keeps the daily wheels turning. Our goal when expanding or renovating any community is to meet the needs of all parties involved. This philosophy trickles down to those responsible for taking care of a leaky faucet or changing the light bulbs in the stairwell.
The best building managers:
- Are attentive to the daily upkeep of building systems (HVAC, lighting, water heaters, elevators, etc.).
- Practice preventative maintenance planning. They have knowledge of the equipment as well as the materials and sources needed for replacements and upgrades.
- Establish service contracts and relationships with local contractors to oversee complex systems and equipment.
- Have a financial awareness and long term view for annual budgeting and capital expense planning.
- Have the patience of a saint for dealing with the residents who call the building home on a daily basis.
That last point may sound trivial, but may be the most important. It is always interesting to observe the interaction between the head of maintenance and residents. As a front line ambassador of the ownership and management, this person has frequent and personal contact with each resident. Most times, everyone is greeted by name. Then as we pass down the hall, we are filled in on some little detail of that particular resident’s concerns and potential issues. Like a good bartender, individual nuances are committed to memory to ensure the best service is provided.
Does your maintenance department have a voice in the design process during a repositioning effort? Their knowledge of the existing buildings and their ability to anticipate future issues after the project is complete is a valuable resource to have at the table from conception to completion. A successful design is one that produces a building that functions and performs long after the grand opening. You want a building that stands the test of time. No matter the title—Head of Facility Maintenance, Director of Plant Operations, or Building Systems Manager—these people have valuable knowledge and direct connections to your residents. They are an organizational asset worth tapping into and one worth celebrating.
At AG, we appreciate all that they do. We will do our best to make their jobs as efficient as possible as we all work together to create and maintain the special places your residents call home.