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Building Services & Maintenance


n The specification of the kitchen and FF&E was left in the hands of the main contractor who value engineered to such an extent that a ‘domestic’ kitchen was installed, which fell apart after a couple of years with water damage and heavy use from students. The simple solution – we developed robust, water-resistant kitchen units and worktops and insisted developers specify them and builders install them.


Developing a lifecycle strategy, which


is suitable for each type of ownership and building is critical: n Is the developer/investor going to hold on to the building or sell it? If the latter, the generous common areas for communal use and the specification for lifecycle can be less important.


lifecycle strategy, which is suitable for each type of ownership and building is critical


‘ 108 FACILITIES Developing a


n We operate a very pro-active summer repairs strategy where a team carry out minor repairs and touch- ups across the accommodation during the vacation which leads to a much longer interval between major refresh cycles and is more economic over the lifecycle.





n For common areas it’s a similar lifecycle to a shop-fit, with some well-used areas being refurbished on a three to five year cycle. For kitchens and bedrooms the lifecycle


is very much determined by the product specified and installed. Unfortunately all too often these can be different as main contractors value engineer the schemes on-site to make savings against their tender.


n Alignment of lifecycle works is also important. If a carpet has a 12-year guarantee/life expectancy and the decoration is needed six yearly then the carpet is replaced in the second cycle. However, if in the same scenario, a carpet has say a nine-year guarantee/ life expectancy then either another cycle of works needs to be introduced (which involves additional prelims) or the carpet needs to be replaced in the first decoration lifecycle – thereby not optimising its life.


The timing of maintenance is also critical. Many areas are private to students and for their quiet enjoyment, and as operators we need to respect this and avoid intrusion. Access protocols providing as much notice as possible are essential: n Planned maintenance works such as carpeting, redecorating or replacing fixed FF&E cannot be carried out except in the summer vacation which is normally 10 weeks; or in the case of studio rooms which can be let for 51 weeks, we only have a week!


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