Moving Up in the World

Special Feature: Starting out on the right step when planning a new maintenance facility.


Outgrown—Small and large contractors continue to grow. Missions increase. New businesses mergers develop and the size of your staff grows, as does the size of your fleet. However, the size of your operations yard seems to decrease. Costs associated with purchasing, vs. renting, storing and delivering asphalt millings, recycling concrete that create huge storage piles, tank farm storage for emulsions and/or fuel for asphalt plants and equipment fueling end up consuming your yard.

Outdated—Old facilities can become expensive to operate. Structural deficiencies often accumulate and building occupants are none the wiser. Roofs develop leaks, mechanical and electrical systems become expensive to operate, limp along, and frequently breakdown. Older facilities were not designed to take advantage of some of the technological improvements, and are often very expensive to upgrade to accommodate today’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment. A FMFP can provide you with a “Facilities Condition Report,” and tell you what the cost to update your facility will be visa vis replacing it.

Wrong Location—Many contractors over the years have expanded and the home base from which they started is no longer the focal point of where there source of operation really is. In some cases the operation has moved into neighboring counties and, in some cases, states. The cost to transporting equipment to and from the actual construction site to the repair facility can be staggering in both miles drive and labor required to transport the equipment.

Outcast—Many times owners will try to take a short-cut and purchase an existing facility, converting it to a new repair facility. We have cautioned numerous owners on the pitfalls to this type of facility. Many of these facilities have been damaged by fire, damaged by water, or may fail to meet current codes and standards, such as those associated with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Some have been determined to be hazardous; sometimes these facilities have been boarded up and abandoned for years. Many of them lack adequate floor thickness for vehicle lifts, can’t meet air quality issues, offer low ceiling height, lack overhead lifting and most always improper lighting. The list goes on and on.

What results is an old building that costs more than new construction, and still doesn’t fit the real operational needs of the company. A FMFP can collect information for you so you will know whether your facility is salvageable or whether you should consider another approach.

THE PLANNING STAGE

Facility Programming and Planning should begin when it is determined that facilities might be outdated, outgrown, wrong location or an outcast is being considered. A professional FMFP can and should be retained before an architect is called in to design the new facility. Architects are vital to the facilities design process, and they, too, benefit from the Facilities Programming and Planning effort. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that architects now hire professional Fleet Facility Programmers to reduce their costs, and help them design better facilities for their clients. Moreover, the type of professional service provided by the Fleet Facility Programmer can reduce architect costs by as much as four percent, another number you can use to justify cost savings to the owner.

As a matter of course, the Fleet Management Facilities Programmer assesses the work you do and/or the services you deliver as a function of your facility. The size of each area within the facility is based on this assessment. Your staff can tell the FMFP what they feel is needed, and the FMFP will use this information to augment the assessment. Ultimately, specific and general information about the current and proposed facilities are collected without prejudice. Perceived needs give way to actual needs.

HOW MANY TIRES?

Tire storage and repair are good examples. Often, organizations with tire storage in, say, a 400SF area will insist that 500SF is essential for the projected facility. The FMFP will examine stock on hand—are too many tires being stored? Too few? What are the associated tire shelf lives? How can the most effective vertical space utilization be achieved? Should tires be stored on the tread or on the sidewall? Does it matter? What are the clearances needed to accommodate replenishment or to remove tires from a rack? Where should the area be in the facilities plan? What are the recommended adjacencies? Can the supplier store tires for you and deliver them on short notice?

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