Adapting to Green Regulations in Facility Maintenance

May 30, 2012

(Written by IE Biz Magazine)


When most people walk into their favorite retail store or restaurant, they expect that they won't slip on the floors and that the air, heat and lights work properly. But they don't think about the people who keep everything running smoothly. That is where Greg Denning and his team of maintenance engineers at All American Mechanical Contractors (AAMC) come in.  


All American Mechanical Contractors is a regional facilities maintenance and repair company that services multiple location retailers, financial institutions and restaurants. All American Mechanical Contractors, Inc. also serves several big-box retailers and banks with locations in the Inland Empire. According to Denning, many of All American's clients are high-profile companies who place great importance on maintaining a professional image.


"Fortune 500 companies feel it is essential to keep their clients happy and protect the integrity of the brand, so having a discreet, 24-hour maintenance personnel is essential," Denning said.


In many cases, All American personnel have been called in to repair a damaged sewer system, or plumbing problems for a high-profile customers without alerting their customers that there is a problem. Denning has learned that Fortune 500 clients want their service contractors to do everything possible to get their stores and facilities back to normal.


"They want to make sure the environment is safe for their customers and employees," Denning said. "It's less about the cost of the repairs, and more about preserving the client's brand identity."


Many emergencies require All American staff to work around the clock to resolve the problem. A few years ago All American was called in to work on a restaurant which had been flooded with sewage due to a broken sewage line. The job involved making sure all the carpets were dried and sanitized and the underground piping repaired, so the location could be up and running the next morning. Because of the high-profile nature of many of the firm's clients, All American has changed its uniform. 


All American service technicians used to wear tan uniforms, which had a more industrial look, but now they wear blue pleated pants with pinstriped shirts, which have a more professional look. This helps them blend into professional environments, according to Denning. Denning has been in the maintenance and repair industry for more than 25 years, and has seen how the field has changed. Now there is a lot more emphasis on green initiatives and energy conservation. Companies are now turning to energy-saving initiatives to reduce costs.


"Energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems are becoming a buzz word in the maintenance and repair industry as companies become greener and look at ways to save money," Denning said. "Maintenance engineers can reduce plant costs by controlling energy usage with automated controls, such as motion sensors that shut off lights when there is no movement in a room."


Green regulations have also changed the way maintenance and repair workers conduct their jobs. Denning said workers used to be able to easily dispose of wastewater through basic drains, but government regulators are much stricter about enforcing water pollution laws. Even the simple task of washing down a parking lot comes with new regulations.


"The wastewater has to be collected and properly disposed of," Denning said. Chemicals showing up in wastewater is a big problem according to the California Department of General Service. As a California resident, Denning is faced with some of the toughest environmental regulations in the country. These new regulations have added to the cost of doing business, Denning said. A cost that is often passed onto the customer. He added that some less scrupulous companies try to save money by cutting corners. "Some companies offer lower prices, because they don't follow the regulations," Denning said.


"In the long run it's better to go with a company that is following the regulations and helping to protect the environment," Denning said.


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