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9 Things Every Facility Manager Should Know: Part 2

By Michael S. Teller, A.I.A., NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, President

Continuing with items 4, 5, and 6:

4.   Wood Rots:

The good and the bad news about modern paints, is that they do not contain lead.  Good from a health standpoint, bad from a performance standpoint.  Modern painting systems last no more than five years.  So unless you have your entire campus on a five year repainting schedule, you are not keeping up with the protective coating necessary for your exposed woodwork.  Anytime you see peeling paint, and the wood substrate is exposed, you are viewing wood that is in the process of decay.  Wood is a very inexpensive material, and is easy to install.  However, the drawback is that it needs more maintenance than other materials.  It is critical that all the wood elements on the exterior of every building be put on a periodic painting schedule so that they are coated every five years.

5.   Green Buildings Need to be Maintained:

The green building movement is here to stay.  Sustainable concepts include healthier building
materials that do not outgas, more natural light, and more views to the exterior.  Energy conservation measures including high-tech HVAC systems and water saving measures are also critical to any high performance building.  However, they require that building personnel be trained to operate and maintain the equipment on a periodic basis.  Without the ongoing attention to the systems, the benefits of “green technology” will be lost.  The follow-up to every green building must be the training and maintenance aspects of the system to insure the long-term success of each assembly.

6.   Hazardous Materials Are Everywhere:

Not too long ago, before each building project, testing was performed for lead paint and in some cases asbestos for obvious materials such as pipe wrap.  These days, there is a greater awareness of the various hazardous materials that exist in every building and prior to any project that may involve demolition, even removing windows for example, a thorough environmental assessment report should be performed by a qualified consultant (who is
heavily insured in that market).  All existing paints and coatings, including masonry coatings, should be tested for lead, asbestos, and PCBs.  Sealants and caulking should be tested for asbestos.  An inventory of exiting systems throughout the building, including fluorescent light ballasts, fire extinguishers, air conditioning refrigerants, and even old paint cans should be inventoried in advance so that any aspect of the construction addressing these materials will be covered by a specification that directs the contractor and references all the appropriate codes and regulations on the local, state, and federal level.  This could be the single most important way to protect yourself and your institution on a building project.