It also allows employees to quickly access vehicles and connect to the necessary equipment needed to meet the immediate service needs, thus eliminating the loss of productive labor associated with preparing vehicles and equipment for operation.
A minimally heated environment enhances the performance of fleet vehicles, eliminating potential delays associated with cold engines and frozen equipment, and reducing the incidents of unscheduled maintenance.
Interviews with fleet managers confirm a higher rate of unscheduled maintenance services for fleet vehicles stored outdoors. These unscheduled maintenance tasks affect routine preventive maintenance tasks, ultimately reducing the amount of scheduled preventive maintenance performed, which decreases fleet efficiency.
5. PROTECTION OF EQUIPMENT
One of the most important reasons to store the vehicles indoors is to protect the investment in equipment. Many municipalities and businesses have millions of dollars invested in this equipment.
Locating vehicles indoors helps reduce maintenance costs, protect the vehicles from corrosive conditions, extend the useful life of the vehicles and protect vehicles from exposure to potential vandalism.
Current studies show that in fleets where engine and hydraulic oil analyses are conducted, vehicles and equipment stored outdoors have higher counts of metal particulate in the samples taken. This information illustrates the relationship between cold weather starts and a shorter equipment lifespan.
6. IMPACTS TO ABUTTERS
Outdoor storage of vehicles can jeopardize good relations with abutters due to the noise output and exhaust emissions, especially in instances where vehicles require extended periods of idling.
For fleet vehicles on-call for emergencies or storm events, these extended idle periods could take place late at night or during early morning hours, increasing the inconveniences already imposed on neighbors.
7. IMPACTS TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Storage of vehicles and equipment outdoors increases potential impacts to the environment associated with oil or grease entering the stormwater system. Engine fluids from leaks or hydraulic line breaks have the potential to be washed into the stormwater system if a vehicle is stored outdoors.
Conversely, any leaks that occur within a vehicle storage garage will be captured in a closed floor drain system that will prevent potential contaminants from reaching the stormwater system which, in turn, assists in protecting the environment.
Ironically, a vehicle and equipment storage garage is one of the most inexpensive spaces to construct, but it is responsible for protecting the single largest investment in equipment in many communities and businesses. Some communities and businesses have already realized the benefit of indoor fleet storage.
A survey of departments of public works managers of recently designed facilities indicates that planning for indoor storage of all vehicles and equipment was the number-one priority of the project.
To determine the most cost-effective ways to incorporate best management practices for indoor fleet storage into your program, visit with operations and maintenance experts. They can help provide objective recommendations for long-term storage and management options.
Jeffrey Alberti, LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional), is an engineer and team leader at Weston & Sampson. (www.westonandsampson.com.) He has 20 years of specialized experience in service facility programming and design. Michael Hicks, AIA (American Institute of Architects), is a principal architect at the company, with more than 40 years of specialized experience in the design of fleet buildings. A former fleet manager with more than 25 years of comprehensive fleet management experience, Roger Thompson is a fleet management specialist with the company. Weston & Sampson is a full-service environmental and infrastructure consulting firm that offers capabilities ranging from project development and planning through design, construction and long-term operation and maintenance.
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