The difference between soft and hard facilities management

Building maintenance contractors focus on both soft and hard facilities management practices in order to ensure a business is fully operational. They provide a wide array of services that include cleaning, electrical testing, plumbing, air conditioning installation and testing. 

All of these facilities management services can be performed by either staff or subcontractors depending upon how the task is best completed with regards to time constraints or budgetary limitations.  

Most organizations have a specific requirement for each, but what exactly is the difference between soft and hard facilities management? 

 

Soft Facilities Management 

Soft FM focuses on long-term maintenance while hard FM typically consists of more short-term projects. Soft FM and temporary fixes can be done by in-house staff to improve the security and wellbeing of employees – making it a more efficient, pleasant environment to work in. 

Examples of Soft Facilities Management are:

  • Landscaping
  • Decorating
  • Cleaning
  • Property security
  • Waste management
  • Catering services 
  • Car parking
  • Pest control 

 

Hard Facilities Management 

On the other hand, hard FM is all about quickly resolving issues that potentially threaten public health and safety, or impact operations. 

Under these circumstances, businesses require contractors who have professional training and experience with machinery, tools, and equipment used for bigger repairs and more complex jobs. 

Examples of Hard Facilities Management are:

 

Conclusion 

Ultimately, the difference between soft and hard facilities management services lies in building fabric. Hard FM is typically thought to be more ‘traditional’ in terms of property maintenance whilst soft FM is developed out of minor corporate needs. 

Either way, both types focus on energy efficiency, cost savings, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), improving productivity and regulatory compliance.      

Here at hebs Group, we have a dedicated team of experienced and skilled building maintenance contractors who always deliver efficient facility management solutions to each and every one of our clients. Call us on 0151 2360707 for more information. 

Black Friday 2021: How can retail facilities managers prepare

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… retail facilities managers know this all too well. 

Black Friday is the event that kicks off the holiday sales season, and while it can be the time of year to see your business explode with customers, if you don’t prepare your shop properly, then it can become quite a challenge. 

With a high influx of paying customers expected in stores across the UK, having an efficient retail facilities management plan in place will keep your space operating amid all the hustle and bustle. 

Here are some simple tips to follow for peak shopping season: 

 

Promote BIG discounts 

Customers want to feel like they are getting the most value for their money when they make a purchase, so offering deals like buy one, get one free (BOGO) or special discounts is a great incentive to get them into your retail space.

Plus it gives you the chance to see what types of products customers are looking for and how much they will spend during retail events, so you can plan your facilities for the next peak in the New Year. 

 

Retail space layout 

How else can retailers improve the customer experience at their store? Well one way is by using retail space efficiently. This means evaluating your premise’s layout and signage, which should be easily seen from outside of the store to invite customers to browse. 

In response to COVID-19, arrange retail displays and furniture so customers have a wide open area in which to shop, and it also helps retail facilities managers to direct the flow of traffic. This will create an inviting atmosphere for shoppers to enjoy their time with you instead of feeling crowded. 

 

Schedule preventative maintenance 

When it comes to preparing for peak shopping season, managing and implementing a preventive maintenance program will help managers stay on top of their interior and exterior assets. 

Managers need to regularly check plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring, roofing, building fabric, fire safety equipment, lifts, tills and security scanners for malfunctions to prevent any potential issues arising and reduce the cost of lost time, productivity and expenses for emergency repairs. 

 

Ventilation 

Retail shops and department stores are filled with people ready to splash the cash. Because of this, your HVAC system needs to be functioning properly to ensure pathogens and pollutants are filtered from the air. It creates a clean, safe and pleasant environment for both customers and retail employees. 

 

Hire skilled facilities management contractors

Of course, hiring the right people to maintain your retail store makes all the difference. This may be on an annual or quarterly basis, but when you hire facilities management contractors like hebs Group with years of experience, it gives businesses peace of mind during the busiest and most wonderful time of the year.

 

If you’re in need of preventative maintenance services, or assistance in turning your retail space into the ideal customer catchment area this Black Friday, contact hebs Group on 0151 2360707 for more information.

What is M&E maintenance?

 

M&E (mechanical and electrical) maintenance covers the set of planned tasks, inspections, repairs and replacements that are required to ensure that machines or equipment continue to operate at their highest possible efficiency within the built environment. 

M&E work can include a wide range of services such as plumbing, electrics and heating systems. M&E maintenance also typically encompasses servicing items such as boilers, pumps and refrigeration units so long as they are used for heating or cooling purposes.

 

Inspections 

The frequency of an M&E inspection will vary depending on the type of machine/equipment in use and its age. For instance a heating boiler may only need a service every 2 years, whereas an air conditioning unit could require annual M&E maintenance. 

M&E inspection reports should detail any issues with individual components and general wear and tear so that early warnings can be identified before problems escalate.

M&E inspection records could also prove invaluable in cases where litigation arises relating to equipment failure, injury due to poor M&E conditions, etc.

 

The key benefits of M&E maintenance:

– Reduced breakdowns

– Reduced costs through M&E breakdown prevention

– M&E equipment life increased through M&E inspection reporting

– M&E service life extended through M&E servicing by trained engineers

 

Troubleshooting

In M&E Maintenance, technicians utilize their expertise to analyze problems with M&E assets and determine the cause of failure.

Typical M&E issues include: circuit breaker tripping, outages due to electric overload, broken fan belts on HVAC units, faulty systems controls that prevent a piece of equipment from starting up properly; and water leaks inside a facility’s building infrastructure, such as a cooling tower or air handler located in a mechanical room.

 

M&E maintenance in facilities management 

M&E maintenance frequently falls under the remit of facilities management services, which is an umbrella term that covers a number of building services including HVAC, gas, drainage, compliance, roofing and other building work. 

Facilities managers are M&E technicians who are responsible for all aspects of the buildings’ M&Es. They are tasked with documenting the condition M&E equipment, managing the procurement schedule, budgeting for purchases of new units, and ensuring maximum uptime for a commercial or residential facility, without disruption to tenants/employees. 

M&E technicians often set up M&E service contracts to coordinate preventative M&E maintenance programs that help avoid costly failures in the future, and support other members of the facilities team in planning for new additional equipment needs based on facility growth.

 

Learn more with hebs Group 

M&E maintenance is vital at all stages of a building’s life cycle; from planning to designing M&E facilities, through construction work during the build itself, into commissioning M&E installations and then execution of M&E planned or ad hoc repairs/maintenance after completion. 

Hebs Group are leading building maintenance contractors, providing a wide range of facility management services to private and public companies throughout the UK. Call 0151 2360707 for more information. 



The benefits of commercial pressure washing

Commercial pressure washing has become an increasingly popular commercial building maintenance technique in recent years.

A commercial pressure washer is a powerful and versatile tool that can be used to clean surfaces in factories, warehouses and other industrial settings by removing dirt, paint and rust from building equipment and exterior surfaces such as brick walls, steel structures and commercial vehicles. 

However all commercial pressure cleaners are not the same. There are various commercial grade power washers on the market. On average, commercial grade power washers provide water at 2,500 to 4,000 psi (pounds per square inch) with nozzles that can be adjusted to create different spray patterns for specific applications.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the benefits of commercial pressure washing so you can keep your commercial property well maintained and clean all year round. 

 

1.) Kerb appeal 

Advertising is expensive; however, commercial pressure washing is an affordable way to get your business on the map. 

Your building’s exterior will be like new after a thorough wash and any dirt or grime buildup will be removed quickly and easily with commercial-grade equipment – making it easier to stand out in a sea of competitors. Plus, if customers notice how clean your establishment is before they even walk inside, they’ll feel more inclined to check it out which creates a positive image for your business. 

 

2.) Saves you time and money 

If you have commercial pressure washing equipment at your disposal, maintenance can become a breeze because you’ll spend less time scrubbing to get stubborn dirt off – making it easier to tackle commercial pressure washing in a timely manner. 

Likewise, commercial power washers are more powerful than traditional garden hose attachments, reducing the need for harsh chemicals and sparing your hands from days of stains and odors.

 

3.) A healthier environment for employees and customers

Creating a safe work environment can be difficult when there is dust or mold around that irritates eyes, throats, noses – and even skin. 

One of the main benefits of commercial pressure washing for commercial facilities is to remove these harmful irritants that can make employees sick or adversely affect their attention span, which results in less productivity.

 

4.) Free flowing drains

Using the commercial pressures cleaner helps with drainage projects too. These work by unblocking and descaling any surface, pipeline, or sewer system, including root cutting and concrete demolition. 

Using a commercial grade high pressure water jetting unit can allow even stubborn debris to be taken out while still making sure that nothing gets damaged in the process.

 

So it’s easy to see why many businesses invest in professional commercial maintenance companies like hebs Group to keep their premises in good condition. If you’re in need of our commercial cleaning services call us now on 0151 2360707 for more information. 

 

Commercial property maintenance for Autumn

Commercial property maintenance can be very complex and facilities managers often don’t realise what is required until they get into it. 

Now as the weather starts to take a turn for the worse, facilities management companies are seeing an increase in work as commercial buildings need preparing for autumn.

It’s important that facilities managers are aware of what needs doing to ensure that building owners are complying with health and safety legislation, reduce downtime, costs and risks of injury or damage.

Facilities managers who have planned ahead benefit from operational excellence, cost reduction initiatives and compliance which reduces risk for their business. It can also enhance brand reputation which is increasingly important when trying to attract new clients. 

Having a robust facilities management plan means you know exactly what needs doing and when. Here is a list of essential autumn maintenance tasks to ensure your commercial property is fully functional during the colder seasons. 

 

Roof inspections 

Inspecting the roofs for potential damage which may require repair before heavy rainfall comes through leaves them at risk of leaks and further damages. Their replacement could be very expensive and put a building out of action for a few weeks if it’s not done correctly due to the fragile state of some older commercial properties roofs.

 

Guttering and drainage maintenance 

Checking gutters and drains on top floors is important as they quickly fill up with leaves, sticks and debris. If left unchecked, this can result in water damage, mould and – the worst case scenario – infestations which are costly to fix and could halt productivity. 

Cleaning them regularly means that the water can flow freely when it pours down and prevents build ups or clogs before they happen. 

 

Inspecting windows

Investigating window seals for wear and tear is another essential commercial property maintenance task for Autumn. If the seals are worn, this can lead to draughts, which can be expensive to repair and replace as commercial facilities managers need to ensure that no dirt gets into the building during installation.

 

Checking fire alarms 

This should be done twice a year, but facilities managers often find they look ten years older than their age due to dust build up. Therefore, hiring a professional facilities management company ensures it’s brought back up to date with new batteries and looks as good as new again.

 

Checking air conditioning units 

Examining your HVAC unit for any damage is a worthwhile investment during Autumn. With the change in climate, this can have a major effect on your systems and employees/customers. 

If commercial facilities cannot control the temperature in buildings all of the time, they can end up with expensive, costly bills and an even colder building. Remember, you can always hire HVAC specialists to come over for a quarterly check up to meet your individual needs. 

 

Damp

Damp caused by the outside elements can be a problem for commercial properties, so you will need to combat this as soon as the seasons change. One simple method is making sure that those facilities on site that are likely to suffer from dampness have been checked and serviced if necessary – such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry facilities. 

Once you’ve done this, it’s also a good idea to try and identify where damp could potentially enter your building. 

 

Call in the commercial property maintenance experts 

Are you prepared this Autumn? Don’t hesitate and get in touch now with hebs Group on 0151 2360707 where we offer fully proven and established maintenance services to clients across Liverpool and the UK. 

We help to support a building’s operational requirements, ensuring the longevity of your commercial premises no matter the season. 




How to design a sustainable office fit out

Are you looking to make your office sustainable and eco-friendly? Trying to reduce the carbon footprint of your business without impacting on functionality and style?  

Here we look at the best ways to design a sustainable office fit out that works for both you and the environment.

Assess Your Current Office

Before you can begin creating an eco-office, it’s important to know what you’re starting with.  Look at everything in your current office – from the desks, chairs, carpets, lighting, waste bins, recycling facilities right through to heating systems or air conditioning units.  

If you have any electrical equipment that runs throughout the night it’s necessary to get it assessed by an energy assessor. By doing so, you can begin to understand where more sustainable practices need to be incorporated. 

Office lighting 

It’s worth taking some time when considering how to design a sustainable office fit out that reduces energy consumption with lighting.  

When planning the lighting system in a sustainable office fit out, consider not just the quantity of light needed, but also its quality. Natural daylight ensures we don’t need to turn on artificial lights during the day, and studies show that it has a positive effect on productivity and mood.

Other ways of regulating lighting are through dimming controls and motion detection systems which can be set to monitor the use of lighting in the building at different times of the day. 

Eco-Friendly Flooring 

Flooring is one of the biggest factors to take into consideration when it comes to designing a sustainable office first out. Eco-friendly flooring falls under mainly two categories – reclaimed flooring and flooring made of sustainable materials, such as wood, cork, and 100% recycled plastic. 

Carpet is also a popular choice for flooring in office environments as it’s hard-wearing and durable. Most businesses install carpet tiles to replace one section of flooring instead of the whole area which makes it more cost-effective, with minimal disruption. 

The Desk Environment

Your desk environment is central to your employees’ wellbeing. You may not even realise how much damage your current desk is doing to your health, until you make the switch to an ergonomically-friendly desk.

When considering how to design a sustainable office fit out, go for adjustable height desks. They allow you to work at eye level which will stop you hunching your shoulders, and straining your neck and back. Invest in some office lighting at knee level too to ensure it’s easy to read documents on your computer screen without having to lean forward. 

A Healthy Office

Employee health is an essential part of how to design a sustainable office fit out and often, it’s overlooked in the workplace.  If you’re not sure where to start on an office that promotes healthy employees and high productivity levels – there are some simple ways to get started: 

  • Clean air quality
  • Ergonomic furniture 
  • Easy access to fresh organic food 
  • Bicycle racks for those who wish to cycle into work to encourage improved fitness levels and improved blood flow too 
  • Central recycling bins around the office for waste and re-use

Finishing Touches

When designing a sustainable office fit out there are often small details overlooked which can have a big impact on the overall eco-friendliness of your new office. 

Before signing off on your project or allowing any furniture or appliances into your business it’s vital to consider exactly what hazardous chemicals they may be emitting. Chemicals found in PVC plastic for example have been linked to respiratory diseases and cancer, so ensure that this is not used when designing a sustainable office fit out. 

In recent times, more and more office furniture manufacturers have been working hard to meet greener standards which is great news for the environment!

Hire a professional office fit out contractor

If you’re looking for an experienced commercial fit out company who can provide you with all the advice you need when considering how to design a sustainable office fit out – contact hebs today on 0151 2360707. 

Our highly trained and experienced staff are capable of delivering complex and challenging commercial refurbishment or fit-out to suit any business. We work closely with you in order to make sure the new office space is a healthy and dynamic working environment. 



The difference between preventative and reactive maintenance

 

In facilities management, maintenance is an essential component of keeping equipment and assets fully functional for as long as possible. 

Having a well-thought out strategy when problems arise is vital as many maintenance processes will have an impact on time and overall productivity of a business. 

But have you ever wondered what the difference is between preventative and reactive maintenance? 

In this article, we will be distinguishing the two types of maintenance to help you gain a better understanding of what’s involved, and decide which one is the most beneficial to you and your project. 

Preventative Maintenance 

Preventative building maintenance (PM) is the act of performing certain tasks before something goes wrong, and needs to be done often enough to prevent failure from occurring. 

This method is proven to be more cost-effective and more manageable for teams to effectively organise and predict the likelihood of a breakdown; using real-time measurements and historical data.

Typically, preventative maintenance works to expand the lifespan of a company’s assets, equipment and infrastructure, ensuring organisations remain proactive and minimize disruption. 

Preventative maintenance includes cleaning parts of a building or machine that are easy to access, checking equipment for signs of damage, replacing worn equipment, repairing minor damage, and checking fuses and batteries in devices like emergency exit lighting systems.

Reactive Maintenance 

Reactive building or machine maintenance is typically performed when there has been some kind of unexpected issue with a piece of equipment due to negligence. 

This is the main difference between preventative and reactive maintenance. When PM isn’t done on time, or at all, RM is required to fix the equipment on the fly and return it to its full operational capacity. 

It can be a good strategy under the right circumstances, for example, changing a light bulb when it’s finally burnt out (run-to-fail maintenance), improving a squeaky door hinge, emergency maintenance activities in responding to flooding and drainage pipeline issues, or amending a rusted part of equipment.

Unfortunately, it can lead to more expensive repairs and replacements of parts, alongside a delay in services and possibly overwhelm facility management teams when not handled correctly as a result. 

Get in touch 

Make sure your business is running smoothly 24/7 with hebs Group Limited. We offer a fully proven and established maintenance service to our customers, allowing each client to individually select which service is appropriate for their ongoing needs.

Contact us now on 0151 2360707 or drop us an email to info@hebs-group.co.uk we’ll be happy to help with any enquiries. 

 

Signs of a collapsed drain

If you have an issue with your drainage system, it can cause a lot of disruption to a building’s foundations and interiors which may become a hazard to human health as a result. 

A collapsed drain is arguably one of the more severe cases, whereby the underground pipes have undergone so much pressure and wear and tear over time, that they have started to fall apart or cave in. 

This requires immediate action once the matter is identified, and it’s important to know the common signs of a collapsed drain to help minimise damage and the cost of fixing them. 

The causes of a collapsed drain 

There are many causes of a collapsed drain, including:

  • Ground movement – Pressure from the ground above an area of pipework can crush and collapse drains 
  • Tree roots – A natural occurrence where tree roots grow in the location of your drainage system and invade the pipes 
  • Poor maintenance – If your drainage or sewer system has been neglected and left to disintegrate then they’ll fail to flow general waste and water properly. 

One of the main reasons behind a collapsed drain is being blissfully unaware of the problem in the first place. You won’t know for sure, unless regular maintenance and checks are carried out by professional drainage contractors like hebs Flowtech on an annual or quarterly basis. 

So, here are some of the warning signs of a collapsed drain to look out for. 

Strong sewage smell

Although you may not be able to see your drainage system, you will definitely smell the foul odour emanating from the ground, in the kitchen, bathroom, toilet, or the drains around the exterior of your property. 

This could be a sign of backed-up waste water or leaking sewage, so it’s worthwhile getting a drainage survey to conduct a thorough inspection before the issue gets worse. 

Damp 

Furthermore, if a drain has collapsed, then the flow of water will be heavily affected. 

Damp patches and mould can be found on the walls or flooring, creating an unhealthy environment for people and possibly cause life-threatening infections and respiratory conditions.

Structural damage 

In extreme circumstances, a collapsed drain can damage the structure of your commercial or domestic building. Cracks in the walls are caused by constant water seeping into the foundations and undermining its structural integrity.

Not only will the drainage need to be fixed but the building itself, which can become very costly in the long-run which is why contacting a drainage company to assess the situation is the best call to action. 

Slow drainage

Finally, slow running drains can be a major indicator of a collapsed drain, and more than often a blockage of some kind is involved. But if the issue persists and water is still taking its time to drain, the pipes could have collapsed. 

Get in touch 

hebs Flowtech are on hand 24/7 to help you with any pipeline, drainage or sewer related emergency, including a collapsed drainage system. Contact us now on 0151 2360707 and we’ll be happy to help with any enquiries.

 

The benefits of commercial sewer and drainage maintenance

If you own a commercial building, you will want to ensure that your sewer and drain pipes are maintained to prevent any serious issues that could affect business operations. 

Places that work within the food, retail, or healthcare industry need to have a reliable drainage system, especially if it concerns public welfare and safety. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the many benefits of commercial sewer and drainage maintenance and why it is important to keep your pipes flowing as smoothly as possible. 

Preventing blockages

An excess of grease, organic waste, oils and other miscellaneous objects can lead to drain blockages, particularly in the pipework of bathrooms and kitchens on your commercial premises. 

If pipes become clogged, this hinders the flow of wastewater to the disposal site which causes further hindrances to the use of toilets or sinks, with a foul smelling odour emitting from the blocked drains as a result. 

You’ll want to address the issue immediately, and frequent commercial sewer and drainage maintenance guarantees that your property’s pipes remain clear and free even during peak times. 

Avoid pipe issues 

Owners of commercial buildings are responsible for the maintenance of their drains and plumbing fixtures, which must be checked and cleaned on a regular basis. Over time, the pressure from a buildup of minerals or waste puts stress on the pipes, leading to breakages and leaks. 

If a pipe bursts or leaks, especially into another site or nearby building, you could be facing a hefty fine for property damage, or in the worst case scenario, closure from the local health department until the issue has been dealt with. 

Protection against biohazards 

Furthermore, commercial sewer and drainage maintenance helps protect your employees and customers from getting severely sick from exposure to biohazards. 

Blocked or damaged drain pipes can cause widespread flooding, plumbing problems, and allow septic water to enter your building, making it unsafe for people to work, dine, or shop. 

Here at hebs, our dedicated reactive teams are equipped with the latest high pressure water jetting rigs to clean, unblock and descale any pipeline or sewer system in case of a drainage emergency on your commercial premises. 

Reducing expenses

This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of routine commercial sewer and drainage maintenance as it can save time and money on repairs, sanitising contaminated areas, and possibly on new flooring or carpet. 

Adopting a quarterly or annual maintenance regime will help to eliminate these costs and protect your business from any stubborn blockages in the long-term. 

For more information about our commercial maintenance services, contact hebs at info@hebs-group.co.uk or call us on 0151 236 0707 where we aim to keep your sewer or drainage system fully functional all year round.

The importance of drain mapping

Before planning or undertaking any construction project, whether that be performing some kind of excavation, or new extension, it is vital to identify the drainage system in the surrounding area. 

As these run underground, it is difficult to know exactly where existing drains are positioned and in order to gain planning permission, as well as avoid costly mistakes, drain mapping is a key.

What is drain mapping? 

Drain mapping, or asset mapping, is the process of verifying the layout of drains and sewers beneath a property or area of land, including the location of existing foul water networks, manholes and gullies. 

By using cutting-edge GPS data and technologies such as Radio detection scanning and CCTV cameras, this allows us to gather useful information on the size, depth, and directional flow of pipes within the system to produce a detailed site map. 

The main features of a drain mapping survey include: 

  • A site map with a schematic diagram of the drainage system
  • A complete asset list detailing the location, size, manhole access points and use of each drain section
  • The connectivity of all site drainage 
  • A list of recommendations for remedial action to resolve any drainage problems 

Why is it important? 

Drain mapping is a key part of a drainage survey, especially for builders and architects who can use drain maps to visualise the entire network when planning for renovations, driveways or even roofing projects in case new gutters are required. 

Another reason is to safeguard against damage to pre-existing systems that may become more costly to repair down the line. Any cracks, leaks or root intrusions can be discovered and dealt with immediately, making repair work more efficient. Drain mapping is also important for flood risk management and pollution prevention. 

Plus, older properties may have an inaccurate chart of it’s drainage, therefore drainage mapping helps site managers and engineers make an informed decision on whether it needs an alteration or upgrade.

Find out more 

Hebs Flowtech are on hand 24/7 to help you with any pipeline, drainage or sewer related emergency. Contact our experienced maintenance team now on 0151 2360707 and we’ll be happy to help with any enquiries.