Watts Sector

A stitch in time... saves money

In an economic climate where all expenditure is under scrutiny, now is the time to ensure that a diligent approach is taken towards the upkeep of public buildings.

Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) and Stock Condition Surveys are an essential tool that enable local authorities to monitor and control costs, as well as optimising the value of their property portfolios over a pre-determined timeframe. At a time when estates departments are under close scrutiny to make every penny count, local authorities are still under pressure to provide effective frontline services – and this means continuing to deliver well maintained buildings that are fit for purpose.

Making the right decisions across the whole property portfolio requires a thorough, strategic and systematic approach, bringing together the critical components of building fabric and services, energy and carbon.

To manage property effectively it is vital to measure performance and determine future requirements. A successful PPM programme enables estates departments to do this by relating the condition of their property assets to projected improvements and their cost over a range of different timescales. With carbon management now high on the green agenda, PPM also has a key role to play in promoting an understanding of the direct impact on carbon and energy reduction associated with a broad range of strategic property decisions.

A successful PPM programme is key to the effective management of an asset portfolio and prompts consideration of a diverse range of property issues, timing projects to achieve economies of scale. A good example is that of a window replacement programme which could be tied in with other structural works such as roof replacement or external redecoration so that scaffolding only has to be erected once. With effective long-term maintenance in place, internal refurbishment programmes can also be scheduled to include disabled access work and works can also be brought into line with the green agenda so that, for example, a roof replacement programme could incorporate installing a green roof.

In collaboration with Franklin & Andrews, Watts has now developed a software tool linking lifecycle cost with in-built carbon and energy impact assessments. One of the key benefits of this software is the ability to perform scenario testing on different maintenance strategies at the touch of a button, enabling clients to make the right decision about their asset strategy. This can be employed across an entire portfolio or at micro level, looking at a single component, such as roofing, in one building.

The tool is underpinned by extensive, reliable product resource and maintenance data which are essential for planning deployment of increasingly scarce resources within estates teams. This approach to PPM embraces life cycle costing models more commonly associated with new buildings and translates them into the existing building environment. The aim is to help estates departments to plan their maintenance effectively and incorporate any necessary (or simply desirable) environmental improvements while setting realistic budgets and reducing the likelihood of unplanned future expenditure.

For more information, contact Dan Tapscott, Associate at Watts Group, on 0117 927 5800

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The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

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