The first thing you should look at is the objective of the survey. I have seen for years many companies and people seeing it as simply a process they need to do because they were told.
This isn’t the case and its further down the line they realise that more attention should have been taken at the beginning. This guide will step you through each part of a survey and what you should look to do to achieve the goals needed to make your survey a success.
What is your primary objectives?
- Obtain an asset list that can generate a full PPM planner.
- Obtain an asset list that can be cross referenced for compliance.
- An asset list that can be cross referenced to budget costs.
- An asset list that can output the labour force quantity and skill types.
- Identify all critical plant equipment for running the site(s) .
- Identify all business critical assets and grade maintenance accordingly.
- Create a knowledge base of assets to identify parts required for repairs.
- Create a forward planning maintenance program.
- Barcode assets for easier identification and “scanned” maintenance.
- Value a contract to confirm that it is viable.
- Identify equipment, plant and sites that are in and out of scope.
- Identify business risk.
This list isn’t exhaustive but the key elements above should be the minimum your looking to create. Although you may decide that you have 2 years left on a contract and don’t want a forward maintenance and replacement program. But simply “red flagging” of assets likely to fail before the contract ends.
Engaging with senior management prior to the survey beginning can assist in ironing out any issues before they occur. Also clarifying what is agreed and how it will be carried out and by whom. This also allows the onsite management to put forward ideas and strategies for the survey that may also be utilised on other sites.
Engagement with the surveyors and their management is also paramount to a successful survey. Although senior management have agreed a survey will be carried out confirmation of expectations, scope and terms of reference are extremely important before the survey begins. Also for access requirements, passes, parking etc. to make the most of the surveyors while onsite.
Many surveys are “task based” with low engagement where an external company may be hired by senior management with low to no engagement with onsite management. This creates a divide that does not assist any parties involved. Senior management often have a different objective to those on the ground e.g. confirmation of bid price. Often pushing a strained budget to “just get it done”, while the onsite teams may feel they will not get the quality required to operate the site after the dust has settled. While the surveyors may take direction from offsite management within their company.
Which is why collaboration between all parties is extremely important to have everyone pull in the same direction. Where surveys fail are normally caused by the following :-
- Poor access issues.
- Poor planning – Change of scope, assets to be collected etc. mid survey.
- Poor budgeting with unrealistic targets – Instead of downsizing the data capture pressure is added to get the surveyors to finish quicker. The end result is a poor survey with a lack of detail and risk of mistakes.
- Unrealistic time frame – One of the most common problems and a survey that wasn’t completed properly 7 years ago in 6 weeks. Doesn’t mean that you can get a new survey completed in 4 weeks. Analysis of the previous survey should have had a lessons learned. If not I recommend speaking to anyone who is still available from the initial survey to find out what went wrong.
- Collecting wrong assets – This gets back to planning on what you should be collecting before the survey begins. But often its not clarified and as such can create inconsistent data and extend the timeframe of a survey.
These are a few pointers to get managers thinking about what they need to aim for when a survey will be taking place on their site(s).
We carry out condition surveys on all buildings, primarily for Mechanical and Electrical equipment. Although we have carried out condition surveys for housing association stock previously and “Fabric” of commercial buildings.
What is the advantage of a condition survey? The first thing you will receive is a status of your assets. E.g. you may have an air handling unit in very good condition but the maintenance on its motors have been run to fail. As such the condition of the motors is in a far worse state than the air handling unit they serve. Highlighting this issue allows you to pre-plan replacements or take a look at your maintenance regime to see if you need to improve maintenance.
The important thing here though is you get a better overall perspective of all your assets and equipment on site. As a Facilities Manager this could mean approaching your client and explaining that some maintenance needs improving and more investment. As a client you can pass judgement on if that investment is required or should you continue with running things as they currently are.
The 2008 recession seen a lot of maintenance cutbacks and they are beginning to show in equipment in recent years. As such I highly recommend getting a condition survey if you are unsure of the condition and what assets you currently have. Adding to this if you have a full asset survey undertaken with condition and age you can build a forward maintenance program for the upcoming years.
As an asset surveyor and lead I have worked in the industry for almost a decade. As well as having over 20 years experience in the Facilities Management and maintenance industry.
We have experience and knowledge that has evolved over the years from data collection for confirming bids and contract values to :-
- PPM regimes based on FSG20.
- Identifying staffing levels required on contract.
- Barcoding for easy identification of assets.
- Site auditing for logbooks, maintenance and compliance.
- ESOS – (Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme).
- TM44 – Inspection of air conditioning services.
- Confirmation of maintenance regime inline with O+M from manufacturer.
With experience in the Middle East, Asia and the United Kingdom myself and associated surveyors can offer services of high quality and consistency throughout. As well as support services if so required.
All surveyors have a minimum of 5 years experience within asset surveying as well as backed with over a minimum of 10 years Mechanical and electrical knowledge.
Telephone UK : +441213189630 | Telephone Spain : +34693100715
In all honesty I think that due to the reduced number of people coming through with relevant qualifications and experience the opportunities have increased.
When I began in building surveying for housing associations I often found many of the staff were lacking relevant skills to carry out the work. They are often internally recruited and as such often struggle in the roles due to a lack of experience. I found many people left due to stress, sickness or in several cases alcohol abuse problems.
All of the above are still relevant today in leaving posts open for those with the right background. Also adding to that often the jobs advertised are of the perfect employee and not from the batch of available people. This is why if your looking for a surveying post I highly recommend going in via an agency on a temporary basis initially as often you may not have their “perfect” requirements at hand.
But once working for them and showing your more than capable of doing the job you will no doubt get offered a permanent position. Salaries aren’t normally great but its a starting point for many who want to move into other things later on. Also good due to the hours for carrying on with your college course in the evenings which also shows to the company your committed and looking at this as a long-term career move.
What I do find though the salaries between Private and public sector vary considerably and its why I am often found working in the Private sector more than public myself. I do like a mix of both though to be honest as I find that the government work is more varied and you meet a lot of interesting people and problems.
Author – Matt Wilkie.
There are multiple reasons housing associations carry out condition surveys not only for incoming and outgoing tenants but also for new and old stock. Several of these key areas are explained below.
With old stock properties bathrooms, kitchens, windows, boilers not only have standards to adhere to for the home to be liveable but also legally have to be compliant with changes in regulations. For example you will find heating boilers have moved in many homes and this is primarily for safety to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although most people in the general public don’t follow these strict guidelines and often unaware until their boiler breaks down, housing associations and other organisations in a position of trust and responsible for others will always have to adhere and often ahead of government changes.
Bathrooms and kitchens in ex services quarters are often well maintained but extremely old and outside of an acceptable standard for housing associations. So upon ownership transferal there is a need to rip out bathrooms, toilets and kitchens which normally have already seen a life of 35 years far beyond what is acceptable even if in good condition.
We have a standard that is nationally set and need to comply with it where possible. Even if we cannot carry out the repairs and upgrades at that time a program will be set for the replacements for the near future.
On hand overs between tenants though its often a different reason as tenants can and do change things without informing the housing association first. Many a property I have found walls missing, new kitchens, altered bathrooms etc. etc. All seems a good idea at the time by the tenants until they want to move out or exchange homes. The housing associations are often flexible in these types of situation as long as an acceptable standard has been met. Only issue normally comes around is when things need to be ripped out to be put back to fit for purpose e.g. a kitchen that has been fitted by a tenant that cannot be maintained by the housing association or that the tenants have made something dangerous.
All in all though the condition surveys carried out by housing associations are to the benefit of all parties to not only make sure the building is in a safe and liveable condition but also its maintained to a level that can be sustainable and often improved upon.