QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What To Do When Moving In

This Question of the Week comes from the International Facility Management Association Group on Linkedin.

Does anyone have any resources that they could share that provide a list of things to consider when opening a newly constructed commercial office building? I’m not necessarily looking for details on move management, rather things such as service contracts, staffing, and other considerations of a facility manager. Thanks for your help!

Trevor Gamblin
Manager, Facility Management Division
City of Saint John
New Brunswick, Canada

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  1. There is a difference between owner-occupied and tenant- occupied buildings.
    For owner-occupied space some of the key considerations are:
    • Do you have emergency egress plans?
    • Don’t forget to conduct fire drills (OSHA requirement).
    • Store all your construction warranty information in a readily available format.
    • Read your warranties (for example you may void the roof warranty if you walk on the roof).
    • Have your insurance information available at all times (even when you are at home).
    • Set up a cost-tracking system that will allow you to benchmark with IFMA or BOMA benchmarks.
    • Set up a “call center” – phone number or e-mail address to accept complaints/ work requests.
    • Set up a data base of vendors to call for a specific problem.
    • Set up a Preventive Maintenance program to maintain your equipment.
    • Set up maintenance contracts for HVAC, emergency generators, elevators and other specialty equipment.
    • Don’t forget to get snow removal in your budget if you are up north
    • Will you have a space charge-back system for departmental lease space or specific charges to departments or will you absorb all costs?
    • Occupancy plans showing departmental boundaries on a furniture plan and even “who sits where” are helpful.
    • Create a sq. ft. database of the gross, rentable and usable space in your building
    • Have a parking database. Often you need a plan with labeled parking spaces
    • Have more than one person on the call list for security issues.
    • You absolutely need to have a contract with a remediation contractor (they need to be set up in your system so you you can call them to fix your overflowing toilet and associated damage at 3 AM so your building is up and running by 8 AM).
    • You need to track work orders and requests – there are a number of systems (Work Order Management Systems) that are quite good available in a wide price range. A spread sheet will work at first.
    • You will be getting many invoices each month – you need to set aside time to review, code and pay them.

    Strategic Facility Planner
    Labarre Associates, Inc.
    Denham Springs, Louisiana

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