Sub-standard construction work

Sameh Awad, business development director, Gentech calls for construction work standards to increase.

General International Technical Company, COMMENT, Facilities Management

Sameh Awad, business development director, Gentech calls for construction work standards to increase.

Construction of any project is a difficult task at the best of times. Because of strong pressure to produce highly innovative and trend-setting building concepts, many property owners and managers have been overwhelmed by perennial problems such as the lack of knowledge about who to hire, determining the responsibilities of each member of the construction team, and the type of technologies and approach best suited for the project.

There is also the need to regularly monitor the quality standards in all phases of construction, which is critical in ensuring the long-term stability of the project.

All this is on top of the core responsibilities that have to be carried out on a day-to-day basis - resource-intensive activities that by themselves could already cause a significant strain in any organisation's internal operations.

From a quick glance, modern-day real estate projects may be more than a match for any enterprising property owner or manager, that is, without the help of a reliable outsourcing agent.

Professional advice

In view of the complex nature of the whole construction process, property owners are more frequently utilising the expertise of facilities maintenance providers to acquire pertinent professional resources and know-how, and subsequently reduce costs and the strain on their own internal resources. Facilities maintenance primarily involves a broad range of services, from engineering and landscaping to cleaning and security.

I believe the role of facilities maintenance during the construction phase is particularly relevant, as the facilities maintenance supervisor applies his extensive experience from previous maintenance jobs to foresee how the architectural and engineering development of the property under construction may impact future maintenance requirements. Thus, recommending changes at an early stage of the construction.

This, compared to the more tangible elements associated with maintaining a finished building, will ensure that much more subtle aspects are addressed during the construction period of the project. What's more, many of these construction issues have a huge long-term impact on the life of the project.

Tangible savings

To be sure, facilities maintenance helps property owners create savings through reduced cost of materials by identifying better priced alternatives, while also maximising the construction progress by having a reliable and constant on-site monitoring presence. As such, this field of expertise is an important area that needs careful attention from a highly reliable facilities maintenance provider, who will play a critical consultancy and advisory role in the whole project.

Amid the vast number of developments being delivered across the country, many owners, time-and-again, discover various defects such as cracks in the wall, leaks, peeling paint and other engineering flaws in buildings that are even barely a year old. Such defects are a result of sub-standard finishing work routinely carried out by some contractors, who succeed in hiding potential problems or defects focusing on and highlighting areas that are more exposed.

While such imperfections may not be initially obvious, they can be easily identified and prevented by securing the services of a facilities maintenance team to offer high-level consultancy and advisory services throughout the whole construction process.

Quality assurance

We have experienced substandard quality in real estate projects, particularly in terms of finishing work, which is usually hastily completed by contractors to beat deadlines and avoid cash penalties for failing to deliver the project on time.

I believe there is an art involved in facilities maintenance as not all technicians can handle the maintenance and repair requirements, dealing with various tenants occupying residential or commercial properties, and more importantly ensuring that any mechanical or electrical breakdown is fixed promptly with the least amount of downtime.

The tangible benefits of having a reliable facilities maintenance arm are indeed very attractive. Properties can physically look newer and stronger than their actual age, while equipment such as HVAC systems and pumps tend to last longer, reducing replacement and repair costs, plus ensuring a longer life cycle. Furthermore, our scope of work also spans to include providing assessments on power and water consumption in a property.

Monitoring these statistics over a short period enables our team to observe a trend and thus recommend solutions on managing the usage of these utilities, consequently further reducing costs. These advantages ultimately result in a consistently high appraisal of the property, allowing owners to generate substantial returns on investment and give them the leverage to ask for a premium should they decide to sell their properties.

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