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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scheduled Maintenance of Infrastructure and Systems: An Often Forgotten Component of TCO

Proper maintenance of infrastructure is an activity that is often discounted by owners. If you don't believe me, ask any plant manager who operates a 10 year old chiller if his maintenance plan includes the following: Recommissioning, Eddie Current test, Oil Test, tube cleaning, Vibration Test. 

This past Wednesday, I attended the monthly ASHRAE National Capital Chapter meeting and the dinner topic was presented by Bob Baker, PE, Fellow ASHRAE and one of the thought leaders behind ASHRAE Standard 180 (Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems).

The lecture focused on the importance of implementing a Maintenance Plan in a facility using guidelines such as ASHRAE Std. 180 and  FEMP Operations and Maintenance Best Practices.  Mr. Baker showed examples of successfully implemented plans and how they actually reduced the TCO of a system.  This was not particularly aimed at data centers, but we can extend conclusions to any mission critical facility. 

One of the key slides in the lecture (snap shot above) summarized the content of Standard 180. The reason I like this slide is because it captures a "common sense" idea that we often forget to include as part of a maintenance plan. Dialogue and Discussion with the owner/facility manager. It struck me how little we think about this bullet point. Simply talking to the owner and asking him/her what inventory do you have? What documentation do you have? Catalogs of existing equipment? Records? Commissioning reports etc...

Compared with the outcome of an unplanned outage - mainly customer satisfaction and cost, implementing a proper maintenance plan WILL definitely have a cost impact to capital budget, BUT it will result in a reduced TCO in a facility. 

This was definitely one of the lectures that I really enjoyed and want to make it a point to catch up on the content of both 180 and FEMP. 



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