Single-Source Solutions: The Assessment Report Asset (April 2000)
The End is the BeginningStep one in an assessment of deferred maintenance is to "always begin with the end in mind." Quite often, the decision makers for a capital project will be individuals who have little knowledge of the intricacies of the mechanical and electrical equipment and systems within the building. They are not facility technicians and/or building engineers. They are probably also not design engineers. Presenting solutions to these professionals should be done in a manner that they can easily comprehend based on their limited knowledge of the infrastructure.
When performing a facility assessment, the D-B firm needs to first start with a method of presenting the final report. Before a company sets out to create the solutions, they need to understand what the end product (final report) is going to look like. They need to "paint the picture" for the customer. Doing the building survey and identifying "what's wrong with this picture" is the easy part for D-B engineers. They often will know very quickly what is wrong with the equipment and/or systems based on their years of experience. What the D-B team doesn't know is "How will the customer embrace the proposed solution(s)?"
Method B: Incorporate a digital photograph of a pipe leak showing the paint on the ceiling that is peeling from steam. The report page simply shows the photo and a footnote: Building damage from leaking pipes.
Illustrate the PointA proven presentation method today is to capture the problems in photographs. The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" is even more important when you think about the words that would traditionally be in an engineering report. Technical jargon for the layperson can become a foreign language to the reader. Which method do you think your customer would understand and react to when presented the following?
Report Method A: Low-pressure steam supply (schedule 40, black iron pipe) is showing signs of fatigue and leaks based on a detailed survey of the distribution system. Due to lack of a good chemical treatment program and pipe that has reached and/or exceeded its useful service life, we strongly recommend the piping system be removed and replaced with a new, more efficient, forced hot water distribution system.
Method B: Incorporate a digital photograph of a pipe leak showing the paint on the ceiling that is peeling from steam moisture and the adjacent wall covering that is stained from condensate. The report page simply shows the photo and a footnote: Building damage from leaking pipes.
Using a series of photographs, footnotes, and reference to benchmarks (e.g., estimated useful service life, energy operating budgets, life safety issues, and current code compliance) can make a technical report a layperson's "action agenda." Within this agenda, include an executive summary that again, simply put, is a decision matrix that prioritizes the photographs into Urgent, Highly Recommended, and Recommended action items.
Wrapping it All UpFinally, the report needs to document a schedule to complement the decision matrix. The D-B firm should be looking at and identifying the "windows-of-opportunity" that will assist the customer in implementing the action items in a cost-effective and efficient manner immediately and/or over a programmed timeline.
Companies that are strategically positioning themselves to enter the design-build arena should consider a format such as the above when focusing in on providing solutions for deferred maintenance problems.