Wednesday, November 25, 2020

I might have a new "gig"


There I was, standing on the corner minding my own business when out of nowhere this guy comes up behind me and sez, "Have you ever considered a second career in Facilities Management?"

Then he said "My regular guy isn't as young as he used to be and he could use a break."

 In round numbers it is a total of about 60,000 square-feet under roof and two locations.

 I may have scared the guy off. I asked for time with the senior fellow so I could learn about:


  • Distribution panels and breaker boxes (breakers)
  • Schematics of distribution
  • Outlets
  • Lighting (bulbs/lamps)
  • Critical information technology
  • Uniform Power Supplies


  • “Boilers”
  • AC compressors
  • Air distribution
  • Fans
  • Belts
  • Ducts
  • Filters


  • Distribution
  • Valves
  • Faucets and fixtures
  • Drains
  • Traps
  • Access ports


  • Roofs
  • Drains
  • Doors
  • Locks
  • Windows
  • Floors
  • Trip hazards
  • Walls
  • Crawl-spaces and “confined spaces”
  • Entrance placards
  • Cement work

Kitchen equipment

  • Refrigeration
  • Grease handling
  • Smoke hoods


  • Drives and walks
  • Parking lots
  • Grass
  • Snow removal
  • Outdoor equipment


  • Exterior lighting
  • Fire suppression
  • Alarms
  • Intercom
  • Extinguishers
  • Periodic inspection 
  • Placarding for evacuation
  • Chemicals
  • MSDS for cleaning materials
  • Storage

Maintenance contracts and contacts

  • Electrician (Emergency contacts)
  • Plumber      " "
  • HVAC         " "
  • Insurance company " "
I am sure there is a bunch of stuff I am forgetting or not aware of.

Any suggestions regarding a good, basic Facilities Management handbook will be much appreciated.

Mr B. I am expecting you to chime in here and tell me what I am forgetting.


  1. Replies
    1. When you get to be my age that becomes a priority. And Joe, you and your family have a great Thanksgiving. ---ken

  2. doing a catch-all on electrical, should be broken out to high voltage which you seem to have mostly covered and low voltage which i guess is under crit. info. tech. any facility these days will have voice/data drops hopefully at least cat5, need to know where they all start and end. unless you have an available physical layer geek, you'll need to know what's where in the main and secondary distribution rooms, networking, voice, UPS systems, etc.
    i'm assuming (ahem) that you'll have voice in there, either POTS (old analog) or newer VOIP, that may be a small notebook by itself.
    also under lighting, break that down to interior and exterior. outsite fixtures, especially parking lot units on poles are a PITA.
    so you'll need a low voltage geek/point of contact and a regular high voltage guy/gal on call also.

  3. Pretty good list.
    (UPS is Uninterruptable Power Supplies, generally)
    ADA stuff is always an issue, especially when the Dems are in charge, so add that to your list. Depending on the business, a hazmat/cleanup company on call as well.
    Interior emergency lighting too.
    Possibly emergency power backup generators.

    If you have them, find an expert on garage/rolling/loading doors.

    More as I think of it.

    1. It doesn't matter which political party is in control. ADA stuff is always an issue. Everything from restroom access to percentage of slopes on sidewalks/handicap parking to heights of things like touch screens and wall hung telephones. Also there are minimum clearances to be considered for roll under on desks or counters, drinking fountains and clear floor space around fire extinguishers, just a whole plethora of things to consider.

      There are federal guidelines and if they are more strict, state and city rules to follow. As a disclaimer, I used to do ADA compliance and mitigation for a major pharmacy corporation all over the country. Our company was licensed to work in 44 states.

    2. You may believe that the political party in charge makes no difference, but as a person who has had to work with the compliance folks for over 25 years, I can tell you that the attitude changes dramatically when the political winds blow differently.

  4. At least around here, all things IT will fall under an IT department, usually located under Finance. You do find IT as a stand-alone group occasionally, but usually in much larger organizations. They should handle all things data and communications.

    I didn't see video surveillance systems or access control systems mentioned.

    Don't forget safety items such as first aid stations, eyewash stations and showers. Do they have a dedicated OSHA person, or does that fall to your position? Is there a safety program, and who manages that?

    Also didn't see fencing systems.

    Don't forget to discuss budget in depth. Number of positions, pay scales and turnover rates will give you an indication of how over-worked people are and how they are treated. If it's a union shop, how is that relationship? Discuss the line item budget in detail. Do they skimp on things like maintenance contracts, expecting staff to know everything?

    Like B, I know I'm missing things (migraine today), but I'll try to add more if I think of them.

  5. 1. Didn't see security systems mentioned here.
    2. Would ask to see a list of who you call for help with specialized services, electrical, plumbing support and emergency response, snow removal etc.
    3. Would ask to see a copy of the department budget and maybe YTD expenditures.
    4. Would ask to see the calendar for statutory inspections, Fire dept, Dept of Health, etc. Are they out of compliance for anything, any outstanding issues or writeups?
    5. Would ask to see their Emergency Response Plan. A lot of the time it's not even been drafted. Inspect the muster areas, fire systems, etc.
    6. Would ask about their management systems for the facility. How are things like periodic maintenance, certification of equipment, etc, handled? This is an indication of how far ahead of the game they like to play, or is it catch-up?
    7. I would also review the safety stats - reportable incidents, recordable stoppages, injuries, that kind of thing will tell you a lot about a facility.

    My two cents from the oil patch.

  6. Frankly, Joe, after being an employer for 46 years and watching how employees and government has been in ever increasing trends for theft and control I would just stay home and re-read "Atlas Shrugged" and go totally John Galt. It is much less stressful an easier to maintain ones dignity.---ken

  7. Go Galt, leave it all behind and live in a wood shack in a gully somewhere. You'll be happier in the long run. Been doing 'facilities' since 1990, and have learned that you're never done learning, and what you learned already no longer matters because someone decided it wasn't pretty enough, fast enough, accurate enough or compliant enough. When you've spent $1m changing something for the sake of changing it, only to change back because the change wasn't changey enough (his words, not mine).
    If you're good at everything, it still won't be enough. You'll be unhappy no matter how happy everyone else is, because the things that mattered didn't get done making it pretty enough to please everyone.
    447 days until I'm eligible to retire. 34yrs is enough. I miss swinging hammers and turning wrenches, and that's what retirement is going to entail. If I want to.