Being a facilities manager means you playing a key role in a company or organisation. After all, what business can run without a safe and efficient premises? Therefore, it’s important to have a thorough maintenance checklist to make sure the business meets its duties and responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other important premises-related regulations.
Most facilities managers divide their checklists into inside and outside areas. All buildings have some form of external facade or area that must be checked for maintenance and safety. For example, the roof of the building must be checked to make sure it’s in good repair. The car park must be checked for a good surface, sufficient lighting and sensible parking. Entrances and paving to buildings must be checked to ensure they’re free of obstructions and provide safe underfoot conditions. As for the building itself, their facades must be checked to ensure the general condition of brickwork and painting is up to scratch. Windows need to be checked to make sure they’re in a good state of repair and not cracked or dangerous.
Gas and Electricity
The Electricity at Work Regulations requires that electrical installations are regularly checked and maintained by a competent person. Visual checks are also required. A facilities manager will be able to carry out some of these checks themselves but must enlist the help of a competent person for the more involved testing and checking. Portable appliances must also be checked and tested (PAT testing). The same rules that apply to electrical installations also apply to gas installations within a building. These fall within the scope of a facilities manager’s responsibility.
To comply with the fire safety regulations, as well as having a fire risk assessment in place, a facilities manager must ensure that all escape routes are kept clear. This means that no combustible materials can be stored on escape routes. For example, the route must not be blocked by items such as stacked chairs or rubbish etc. All emergency exit doors must be unlocked while the building is occupied and the facilities manager must check that push bar escape exits function properly. The frequency of these checks depends on the risk assessment in place.
Fire Alarm Systems
A facilities manager must regularly test the fire alarms for the premises and carry out periodic evacuation drills too. All tests must be logged and records kept for auditing purposes. Once again, frequency depends on the fire risk assessment.
Lighting levels must be suitable and sufficient for the premises, which means that the facilities manager must check all light fittings are in good working order and replace and lights or bulbs where necessary. This also applies to emergency lighting, which must be part of the fire risk assessment and tested and checked regularly. A facilities manager may integrate these checks as part of a daily or weekly ‘walk-through’ inspection of the premises.
A Clean and Tidy Workplace
Since employers have a duty to provide a safe place of work, a tidy workplace goes a long way to ensuring this obligation is met. A facilities manager must check to make sure the workplace is tidy and that work areas are being used appropriately. General clutter and a build up of combustible materials can pose all sorts of hazards must be eliminated. A facilities manager must ‘police’ this! Cleaning is also an important area for a facilities manager to check. Often, they will be the line manager for a team of cleaning staff and must check their work on a daily basis.
Fixtures and Fittings
All fixtures and fittings within the premises must be kept in a good state of repair and in working order. This means that a faciities manager must check fixtures such as doors and fittings such as blinds, curtains, etc., to make sure they don’t pose a hazard to users of the building.
Floor surfaces such as carpet, laminate and tiles can degrade over time and cause slip, trip and fall hazards to those using the building. A facilities manager must regularly check all floor surfaces to make sure they are safe and in good condition. This can be performed as part of a walk-through inspection and must be logged as having been carried out.
Water Supply and Air Conditioning
Water facilities such as taps, showers and toilets must be kept in good condition. The same applies to air conditioning plant. Additionally, a premises manager may need to instruct a competent person to carry out a legionella risk assessment for the premises in relation to water and air conditioning.
Risk Assessments and Record Keeping
A facilities management maintenance checklist is likely to be one of the ‘control measures’ mentioned in mandatory premises risk assessments. Most premises will need several risk assessments e.g. for electricity (PAT), gas and fire safety as well as more general risk assessments. Record keeping is one of the most critical parts of a premises manager’s job and a good maintenance checklist will form part of this.