Should You Choose Full Service or Planned Building Maintenance Services for Your Commercial Building?
Large purchases can and should be viewed as investments. When you invest your hard-earned money in something of value, it only makes sense to make an effort to protect what you’ve purchased: to care for it and do the best you can to keep it in top form for as long as possible.
That's the spirit behind our two HVAC maintenance programs for commercial buildings: planned maintenance and full service maintenance.
Why consider a building maintenance program at all?
Before discussing the differences between the two types of maintenance programs we offer, it’s important to establish why any building owner or facility manager would bother to spend money on a maintenance program rather than just handling maintenance on their own.
When you buy a used car, you could always take care of it by yourself too. Maybe you know how to do some basic repair work, or you’re just willing to wait until something breaks to have a professional fix it for you. There’s not much peace of mind in that, and every time you open the hood, it may be trial and error.
The basis of this decision really comes down to a cost/benefit analysis and an honest appraisal of your own comfort level as an owner or manager. Below are the basic benefits you’ll receive by purchasing a building maintenance plan for your HVAC system. Review the list and ask yourself: “Is it worth it to me to pay for these benefits for my building?”
A building maintenance program:
- Will reduce the overall cost of building ownership and operation because trained technicians can take a more proactive approach to maintenance and operations – repairs are more predictable and planned versus being reactive and frequently done in emergency situations.
- Will reduce energy costs significantly, since the system will remain running at peak performance and efficiency.
- Will shift risk to the contractor who has responsibility for maintaining, repairing, and replacing the maintainable components (although actual benefits vary between a planned maintenance program and a full service contract.)
- Will extend the life of the equipment since it is properly maintained, and maintenance also allows for proactive planning for replacement when equipment is reaching the end of its useful life.
What are planned building maintenance services for commercial HVAC?
A planned building maintenance program is a standard contract for professionally maintaining the components that keep your HVAC system running right.
It provides a schedule for preventive maintenance over the course of the contract. The plan is customized based on the specific equipment and special needs of the client. Trained technicians are always on the lookout for warning signs of any additional needs while they're handling the maintenance tasks, so you always know that a professional has recently inspected the system.
For brand new systems, this can be a cost-effective and valuable option to keep your HVAC investment safe and operating at maximum efficiency for years to come. Planned maintenance can also greatly increase the life expectancy of covered HVAC components.
It's important to note, however, that under a planned maintenance program, service calls, emergency repairs, and replacements are billed in addition to the basic arrangement.
What is the full service HVAC maintenance program for commercial buildings?
A full service maintenance program expands dramatically on the planned maintenance contract. The initial cost is somewhat higher, but in return, your system is fully covered for both planned maintenance AND emergency service calls, repairs, and proactive planning for necessary replacements.
Both time and materials are included for all covered services, meaning your full HVAC expense for each contract period is set in stone. No surprises.
Full service maintenance is for those companies that prefer a fixed cost contract and a business partnership that is financially justified through collaboration and due diligence, and measured through key business success indicators.
While a full service plan isn’t necessarily right for every building, it is wise to allow energy engineers to complete a financial review and building cost-benefit analysis to determine the expense. Choosing an appropriate maintenance plan requires a deep understanding of the building systems, repair costs, operating costs, energy spend, and impact of system equipment on the core business processes and results.
When the numbers line up, many find that a full service maintenance agreement makes more sense as it can mean lower overall costs in the long run as well as peace of mind for the building owner or facility manager.
Having the full service plan in place also saves facility managers a tremendous amount of time and effort that would otherwise be spent:
- seeking out a quote on repair work
- approving it
- bidding it out
- processing an invoice
Another positive aspect of the full service plan is the level of trust it engenders between a commercial property's management team and the HVAC services provider: since the provider is taking on a financial risk, the client gains peace of mind knowing there is a vested interest in keeping the equipment in top shape and avoiding all unnecessary expenses. It also is usually indicative of a long-term partnership since these contracts can range anywhere from 5-15 years in length.
If you're in the market for a maintenance program on your commercial building's HVAC system, contact us to discuss your options with one of our experienced energy engineers and we'll help you decide which program is right for your unique needs. Or, download our ebook to learn more about the ROI of HVAC maintenance.