And get those expectations out in the open with your RFP.

With organizations and institutions downsizing due to the economy, there are increased PM service contract opportunities for the HVAC service contract providers. Unfortunately, as an owner representative, I wish these service companies would recognize the great opportunity they have to exceed customer expectations and become an extension of the client’s O&M staff.

In the past year, I have facilitated a few annual PM service contract requests for proposals (RFPs) for clients who didn’t have the in-house resources to maintain a proactive PM process. The service firm’s perception is usually that the client is satisfied with what they are getting for their PM dollars, while the client has a completely different perception. You could say it is a “lose-lose” situation.

The service contractor certainly loses because he did not demonstrate to his client what a great job his PM technicians were doing. The client loses because she had to start the process all over again and will now award the new PM contract to someone who is not familiar with the facility or the condition of the HVAC equipment. My solution to this dilemma is to write an RFP PM workorder scope of work that includes the following communication requirements:

Authorization to proceed.The service firm will meet with the facility manager and agree on a PM workorder schedule (e.g., complete work around the school’s academic calendar). From the client’s asset database, the service provider will generate a library of PM workorders, each indicating special instructions, tasking, and frequency for the equipment in the PM service contract. These workorders will be the paper trail that demonstrates that work is complete when submitted with the monthly invoice.

Monthly invoicing. Include a one-page cover letter that states the number of PM workorders completed and number of PM workorders open (e.g., waiting for a part), plus a list of potential unscheduled work for consideration in the next three months and/or to be considered in next year’s operating budget.

Completed PM workorders.In addition to the invoice, I require the service firm to attach all the completed PM workorders as a means to demonstrate what tasks were completed. These completed workorders can then be entered into the client’s CMMS system by the client’s facility CMMS operator.

When soliciting PM service bids, my preference is to separate the automatic temperature controls (ATC) system from the HVAC systems. With this arrangement, the ATC service firm will be required to report monthly on energy conservation opportunities. The format for energy conservation reporting will be:
  • No-cost ATC adjustments made during the past month, (e.g., changing a setpoint to conserve energy). A second no-cost opportunity is to work with the facility manager to aggressively change occupancy schedules (e.g., room-by-room based on the classroom schedule).
  • Suggested low-cost ATC program changes that will incur some cost but the energy savings would be significant (e.g., less than one-year ROI).
In my RFP, the successful service firm will be required to submit a quarterly report that includes the following:

Introduction. Cover sheet showing a graph of PM workorders completed vs. total assets (e.g., 240 pieces of equipment PMs out of 1,400 pieces of equipment). In year two of this contract, the service firm can show in graph form first year PM workorders completed for the quarter vs. second year PM’s completed. The visual goal is to show proactive, planned maintenance.

Utility consumption graph.With energy conservation measures being an integral part of the monthly PM effort, the service firm should obtain the utility bills for the previous year or two year’s quarterly consumption and dollars spent vs. this quarter’s utility consumption. In year two, the energy consumption after the start of this PM service contract can be compared to the previous year(s). The visual goal is to show a reduction in utilities.

Unscheduled workorders graph.The service firm should obtain the number of unscheduled workorders from the previous year or two years and compile into quarterly totals and into a graph comparing this quarter’s unscheduled workorders. In year two, the unscheduled workorders can be compared to the previous years. The visual goal is to show a reduction in unscheduled work that, as a rule, is disruptive and costly.

Facility condition master planning.Based on the monthly reporting of potential unscheduled work associated with equipment in fair-to-poor operating condition and/or at the end of its useful service life, an Asset Management Log prioritizes deficiencies based on disruption liability (e.g., a group of classrooms will not be able to be used due to equipment offline) and repair/replacement costs, and groups them into cost-effective implementation schemes. The goal is to summarize the information into repair and replacement work bid packages that can be competitively bid at a time that benefits the client.

So, if you are a PM service contractor provider and you think you are doing a great job, think again.ES