As the economy improves, changes in the maintenance and repair industry are beginning to surface. The last few years have been tough for our sector, but as spending picks up and we go into an election year, here are some of the changes I see on the horizon.
Increased maintenance spending on large projects. During the recession, many facilities managers cut their operations down to the bare minimum. Now that the economy is improving, they are willing to spend money on projects that have been left untouched for at least two years. HVAC maintenance will definitely become an issue. Maintenance on HVAC equipment used to be conducted at least twice a year, but this may have been put on hold to cope with leaner times. Maintenance and repair workers who are tackling these projects should expect to see large repair bills and discover how much work needs to be done on these projects.
Green is here to stay. Going green is more than just a fad. Expect to see more environmentally friendly products on the market and more companies undergoing energy-efficient upgrades. LED lighting is going to continue to improve and become more efficient as maintenance engineers continue to look for lighting products that produce less wattage and reduce utility bills. The federal government is also still investing heavily in green initiatives, and this year identifying leaks as a way of improving a building's energy efficiency will become more popular.
Lean and mean is here to stay. Many companies managed to stay in business by learning to operate for less, and as the economy improves don't expect those thrifty ways to disappear. Retailers will continue to look for ways to reduce costs such as using reverse e-auctions or RFPs to lower maintenance costs.
Proactive maintenance work. Maintenance industry workers are going to see more requests to protect their clients against slip and fall claims by increasing the safety of walkway surfaces. This is one of the top liability claims for commercial building owners.
These are just a few of the trends that I expect maintenance and repair industry insiders to see. By reviewing some of these predictions we can adjust our resources and manpower accordingly, and anticipate what challenges we will face.
Greg Denning is president of All American Mechanical Contractors, a Brea, Calif.-based facilities maintenance company. Denning is a facilities construction and maintenance professional with more than 25 years of diverse experience providing full-service maintenance, construction and remodel services to Fortune 500 firms. For more information about All American Mechanical Contractors, Inc.
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