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Prepare Your Maintenance Staff & Recover Costs for Extreme Weather Events

By Bob Bittner
Dec 29, 2012

Facilities Management

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As many communities across the country recover from one of the most devastating and costly years in US history due to extreme weather, Mother Nature dealt another blow this week with a destructive and deadly tornado outbreak and crippling winter storms Euclid and Freyr.  Much of the country continues to feel the effects of these storms and will start the New Year with major cleanup efforts and discussions about preparedness and execution for future events.

At a time when the frequency and intensity of natural disasters seem to be increasing, having a well documented plan for your maintenance staff and facilities is critical to minimize impact, ensure the safety of workers and the community and recover costs from damage.  As a former Facility Director having been through major storm and fire damage let me offer some actions my staff and I took to make restoration safer, simpler, and allowed us to recover all our cost caused by the damage.

First and foremost never take safety for granted.  Remember, you will have your staff working under conditions that are far from normal and their safety and the safety of your community should take top priority.  Plan to use the buddy system; your maintenance workers should always work with a partner in these conditions.  Make sure they have been trained to OSHA standards before assigning work tasks that require special training and take into consideration when assigning partners.  Have training records easily accessible.  Most importantly, ensure that workers have all required personal protective equipment before starting work.

Second, as tempting as it may seem not to do this you must record all your activity in your work order system as you assess damage and perform the restoration work.  In order for you to recover cost from the damage from either your insurance company, or FEMA you will need detailed documentation to substantiate the cost of restoration.

  1. Create a special project code (e.g. Sandy Storm Damage 2012 was assigned to Hurricane Sandy, etc.) and use that project code on all work orders for all work performed during storm clean up and building restoration. This will allow you to run reports for FEMA and or your insurance provider as proof of work performed.
  2. Take pictures of the damage and attach them to the work orders as you do the work.
  3. You should already have developed an hourly wage rate for all your maintenance employees and have it setup in your work order system. This should be a loaded rate. Make sure you have an overtime rate and record all of the hours on your work orders.
  4. Be sure to document all work done by contractors on work orders as well. When their invoices come in create a PDF of the invoice and attach them to the associated work order. This will save a lot of time for you when auditors from FEMA or your insurance company come in and want justification for the moneys spent for restoration.
  5. FacilityDude serves many clients that have been affected by these disastrous events, remember you have unlimited user support and if you need any help with report generation or help in setting up a “project” code please call our support line and we will be glad to help!

For all of the communities who have been affected by these events, FacilityDude would like for you to know that we’re keeping you in our thoughts. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about efficiently tracking or reporting storm damage, please do not hesitate to contact us at 866-455-3833 or by email, info@facilitydude.com.  Let us know how we can help.

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