Facilities Zone Management

Transitioning to a Zone Model for Facilities Maintenance and Renovations

Topics: Administration and Finance, Facilities and Operations, Energy Management and Sustainability

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Summary

Traditionally, most college and university facilities departments have operated under a centralized maintenance model, in which a central facilities unit assigns a single pool of facilities workers to perform maintenance and renovations across campus.

The key advantage of this traditional approach is that it gives the facilities department the flexibility to allocate all of its resources to the highest-priority projects. However, centralized maintenance also creates unpredictability, both for facilities staff and for campus units. Because technicians may work in any building on any day, they rarely learn the peculiarities of a particular building or the unique needs of its occupants, potentially leading to subpar service. Further, because campus units cannot predict which technician will respond to a service call, they may feel distanced from facilities staff or frustrated by the need to repeatedly explain building operations to new workers.

To combat these problems, many institutions are switching to a zone maintenance model, in which designated groups of facilities workers serve as first-response units for small “zones” of buildings. These groups proactively visit each building in their zone on a weekly (or even daily) basis and independently handle minor maintenance and repairs, with little involvement from the central facilities office.

This white paper outlines the advantages of a zone maintenance model, and how an institution can implement this model on their campus.