Bringing the FM Cost Down

Shishsir Kant - January 02, 2022 - - 0 |
Bringing the FM Cost Down

In these problematic times when the incomes of the average households are not rising at the same rate as the cost of living, the million-dollar question is ‘How can we bring maintenance charges down in a Residential Complex?’

Though difficult to envisage, but the fact of the matter is that despite the fact that the maintenance charges are directly impacted by the input costs that are rising by the day, it is possible to contain and even reduce them. In my opinion the best we can do is to go for optimization and make sure that every single penny we spend is counted.

We all know the expenditure incurred in Common Area Maintenance (CAM) comprises of Man, Material, Equipment, and Utilities & Taxes. In this write-up I would like to decipher how we can bring down the cost of CAM by implementing certain good practices and using advancements in technology to help us increase the efficiency of the equipment, the systems and help us in optimizing the CAM expenditure.

Good Practices:

  1. Handing Over of the Complex to the actual owners of the complex:
    • The residential complex should be handed over to the Association of Allottees (AOA) within the first year of  commencement of occupation.
    • AOA as a unit owner’s body, can help in the administration of the complex at ground level & handle various issues more effectively especially in establishing Complex Norms, Society Rules & Regulations that are very important in maintaining harmony in the complex.
    • Ensures 100% transparency in the system, especially in terms of Expenditure of Money vs Services given & controlling wastages & pilferages.
    • Efficient & optimum management of day-to-day operations including safety & security, upkeep of the complex and common services provided in the complex.
    • Services provided by AOA are GST exempted upto Rs. 7,500/- per member per month (Savings of 18%)
  2. Proactive maintenance of the building and equipment:
    • Proactive Maintenance means Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) of the civil structures, and equipment installed chosen to bring down the  Building Maintenance costs.
    • PPM costs are something that must be factored into the facility management budget for any building.
    • PPM approach can help all team members do their jobs more effectively and involve much less all around stress with less manpower.
    • PPM means that reactive repairs are less likely to be needed and this reduces downtime.
    • However, if someone takes a reactive approach to maintenance and only arranges for repairs when something breaks down, one may find that the budget that has been set aside quickly becomes saturated.
  1. Asset lifecycle management & timely replacement: 
    • All assets including structures & equipment have a limited life cycle.
    • Asset lifecycle management (ALM) allows us to better understand when the building, equipment, parts and systems need to be repaired or replaced. This allows us to plan for work to be undertaken at the least disruptive times, and ensures that the work is carried out cost-effectively.
    •  ALM involves periodic testing and inspection of the building, equipment & systems.
    • ALM apart from physical / visual observation may include ultrasonic sound analysis to help spot leaks, infra red thermography scans, to identify heat build-up in electrical equipment, oil analysis, and vibration analysis of pumps & motors.
    • Sometimes managing and maintaining an old system can prove to be costly. Hence, replacing the pumps, air conditions or lights, which are beyond repair can help cut down the maintenance costs.
  1. Manpower Audits, Energy Audits & Conserving Natural Resources can help us in huge savings, not only environmentally but monetarily as well: 
    • A proper energy audit can pinpoint the wastages and ways to reduce / fix such wastages. It can help us in optimizing the utilization of the manpower deployed & energy utilized.
    • Conserving natural resources will save a lot on utility charges e.g. by preventing water leakages from OHTs or seepages from the UGTs, or minute leakages from the WCs can do wonders.
    • Adding solar panels for generating electricity can be a great choice to cut down the electricity costs. The generated electricity from the solar panels can be used for lighting the common areas like the car parking area, lobbies, parks, and so on.
  2. Creating an upkeep Schedule:
    • Having a proper maintenance schedule in place would help to ensure that every part of the property is clean.
    • When each area is cleaned from time to time, it can reduce the workload and the manpower required for the same.

Use of Technology:

  1. Facilities Management Software (FMS): 
    • To Reduce Building Maintenance Costs FMS brings together a wide range of information, including preventative maintenance workflows, asset tracking and lifecycle cost data, quotations and resource allocations etc.
    • FMS keeps all data centralised and accessible by those who need to access it.
    • FMS eases the workloads & reduces the dependence of manpower by eliminating reliance on multiple spreadsheets, emails, phone calls, or post-it notes to jot down facility-related maintenance issues.
    • FMS also improves workflow, and communication helps to keep in touch with all members of the team regarding work orders. The process of issuing, assigning and completing work orders is made much easier through one centralised system. All members of the team can log in and see what maintenance needs to be done, by whom and when.
    • FMS Tracks Building Expenditure and helps by tracking any spending concerning building maintenance and repairs. This helps to avoid maintenance costs spiralling out of control and ensures important financial records are kept accurately. You can use this financial data for budget forecasting in the future.
    • FMS has built-in reporting, allowing you to extract essential data on a click when needed. For example, you can produce expenditure reports and see which facility assets are the most expensive to maintain.
    • You can also calculate the true lifecycle cost of all the building assets using this data to make well informed decisions about whether to repair or replace equipment, parts or systems going forward.
    • Any good FMS can also integrate with IBMS thru IoT devices (if any) such as Water Supply System, Fire Fighting System, Electrical Supply System, Sewage Treatment Plant, Elevators, External Lighting System etc. Using data from such devices can help you identify building running costs, grey areas and wastages to get a complete overview & analytics which can increase the efficiencies by reducing sinful wastages.
  2. Implementing Intelligent Building Management System (IBMS):
    • IBMS makes our complex Smart or in other words we get Smart environment which enables us in Controlling, Reporting, Scheduling and Raising Alerts. IBMS uses IoT technology to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, which makes all machines, systems & equipment alive.
    • Smart Data: The smart buildings give us the necessary data pertaining to electricity, water consumption, hourly space utilization, etc. This data further helps the users to take corrective action pertaining to their constructive utilization. The best part is all the data gets collected centrally and hence simplifies the entire process even further.
    • Energy Efficiency: Smart buildings behave in such a way that the energy gets utilized efficiently irrespective of the internal and external conditions.
    • Increasing the asset value: Smart energy efficiency measures ensure that the building is well maintained and hence doesn’t depreciate or ask for replacements over longer periods.
    • Decreased consumption: For lowering the consumption, one can always conduct energy audits at very short notice or instantly and based on the inference, implement effective measures to lower the consumption and hence further decrease the cost.
    • Real-time action: With data flowing-in, one has access to the energy numbers in real-time. This analysis of data helps in the control and monitoring systems that are placed in the building. The real-time action helps to plan and act well in advance. Preparing for any adversity well in advance makes the smart building concept a big hit these days.
    • Anticipate in Advance: Malfunctioning is well taken care of with the help of sensors placed in these smart buildings. An alert gets triggered as and when there is an issue with any part of a system within the smart building. All this helps in predictive maintenance of the facility, saving both costs as well as time.
    • Green Norms: There is no wastage of energy in its premises, which goes on to show that they act as per the ecological consumption guidelines.
    • Increase work efficiency: Smart buildings tend to provide a healthier, productive and comfortable space for the people residing in them. Be it a workspace or residence, with advanced climatic and lighting controls, smart buildings improve the indoor air quality and lighting in a significant way.
    • Saving operational cost: Responsiveness goes to another level because of the adoption of smart technology. Switching off lights automatically in a space that does not have any occupants at any point in time is a perfect example of how automated systems are efficacious in a smart setup. This goes on to save the operational costs and increases the life of the equipment.

The above are some key measures that when undertaken, can will help in bringing the overall maintenance costs come down quite significantly.

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