Thorough Inventory Lists: A Key Component of Efficient Maintenance

Oct. 25, 2017

Whether maintenance is outsourced or done in house, use these lists to maximize your budget.

You probably have lists you’ve created for maintenance purposes, but are they really doing the job? Do you even know where they are?

To maximize your maintenance dollars, your lists should be up to date. The first is the inventory list. Even if your in-house staff does little of the work, the inventory list is critical. It is the first thing that a prospective outside vendor should ask about.

According to Wayne Duggan, General Manager of Facilities Services for Apollo Solutions, a thorough inventory list should have the following information:

  • Type of equipment (boiler, chiller, RTU)
  • Manufacturer
  • Model and serial number
  • BTU, HP, GPM or tonnage

Model and serial number are handy if you must search for a service manual online. The year installed will help you to be aware of remaining service life and any imminent need for a major, non-routine task such as an overhaul. Redundancy available can be expressed as a percentage, where 50% would mean that other equipment can pick up half of the given equipment’s demand. Finally, the loss column (Y/N) will indicate whether your facility can function or not if the equipment is down.

Your building’s use is also important for creating a solid maintenance plan. The use prescribes revenue generation and working requirements that should be reflected in your plan, helping you to determine the cost and impact of downtime, the need for redundancy, and the necessary budget.

Equipment Complexity

 In addition to the basic inventory, Duggan says it is useful to have a list that spells out the complexity of each piece of equipment. This list assigns equipment complexity as a percentage, indicates whether any maintenance tasks are outsourced (Y/N), the outsource level (%) and any in-house tasks associated with the equipment.     

Accompanying the complexity list is a staff analysis that specifies particular tasks that can be carried out by in-house staff people. For example, a list of technicians would include the following:

  • Any certifications or licenses
  • Skill level and special skills

Keep in mind that your plan should include maintenance tasks that are not routine or annual, like a chiller overhaul. This task can cost $20,000 per machine and typically would be done only every five to seven years. However, if you have an up-to-date history of that machine, you would know how long it has been since the last overhaul and whether the time is approaching to confirm its status with analysis of oil, refrigerant and vibration.

Duggan acknowledges that completing lists takes significant time – weeks, even months – but the task should not be rushed or allowed to fall in priority. Take your time, get detailed, accurate data and develop the maintenance plan that fits your facility. Then build the budget, not the other way around.

Use the List for Procuring Maintenance Services

You need your completed plan if you are outsourcing maintenance. Any RFP should include detailed lists of tasks rather than broad language like “Follow manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.”

“If a mechanical contractor sees a boilerplate spec, he will give a boilerplate response,” Duggan says. Providing very specific requirements ensures that you are asking for the right maintenance to be done.

For more on efficient maintenance, see the free online webinar, “Maximize Your Return from HVAC Maintenance Plans,” under the Education tab at www.BUILDINGS.com.

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