Why You Should Retro Commission Your Office Building

Retro commissioning is a way to improve a building’s efficiency and systems operations. It is when an existing building is examined and updated to improve the cooperation between the equipment and its occupant’s comfort. Of course, cosmetics and physical appearance is always something to consider, but retro commissioning also heavily focuses on the internal functioning and design of a building. By retro commissioning your building, you reap valuable benefits. These benefits range from reducing costs to fixing any past flaws to increasing efficiency and comfort of the people using the space.

Here are some main reasons you should Retro Commission your office building:

·         Design Flaws are uncovered when a building is being analyzed during a plan for retro commissioning. Retro commissioning begins with identifying what is currently in need of improvement in an existing space. It could be faulty piping or leaking valves, poor wiring all the way to thermostat malfunctions and switches. Design flaws that exist can drive up costs of building operations and effect occupant comfort in a negative way.

·         Reducing costs is a huge benefit that comes from retro commissioning your building. Reducing costs is always a bonus for any sized company. Retro commissioning helps with reducing costs by improving on energy consumption as well as equipment and systems operations. As a byproduct of retro commissioning that affects the reduction of costs is being able to extend equipment life.  By improving the existing building’s systems and operations, you are improving building efficiency as well.

·         Improved Efficiency is one of the main advantages to retro commissioning. Improved efficiency includes better lighting, more up-to-date equipment, better heating and cooling systems and more advanced and accurate controls and air quality. A retro commissioned office building has more efficient operations that positively effect both time and money. Retro commissioning the existing space will evaluate the existing space and help what equipment could be more efficient for the building overall.  

·         Going Green goes along with improving efficiency, but is a huge benefit to retro commissioning. A retro commissioned building will, on average, lower energy costs by 15%. That is simply by taking the existing space and improving it. This in turn, reduces operating expenses by having more efficient equipment.

·         Occupant comfort plays an integral role when retro commissioning. Arguably the most important factor, the occupants and guests inside a building are the ones who benefit from a more efficient space. Also, looking at equipment such as heating and cooling systems, can improve air quality. Looking at the space, a redesign could open up space previously not used to result in increased comfort as well. Retro commissioning improves both the functionality, wellness and productivity of everyone in the occupied space.

Retro commissioning has a multitude of beneficial results that improve upon many important factors that go into a successful workplace and workflow. Are you wondering how your office space can benefit from retro commissioning through better efficiency and occupation comfort? Contact HF Planners today to have our team of adept facility managers let you know how your space can improve.

Emergency Action Plan

Any type of emergency can take seconds to escalate.  Being prepared in the event of an emergency is critical for protecting your employees and your business. Your facility needs to have a comprehensive emergency action plan in place.  It has been proven that workplace emergency plans can maximize response times and minimize the impacts to employees and your facility in the event of an emergency. 

Once you have created your emergency action plan, there are four other ways to ensure that your facility and your employees are prepared for an emergency.  By considering these items, you can protect your business.

1.    Mitigate facility/site conditions: Often, there are conditions that exist in your site or facility that could impact safety or a successful response.  Your facility operations manager should conduct regular site inspections to eliminate any posed risks that exist which could cause harm to employees, the environment or infrastructure. 

2.    Conduct regular risk assessments: Once potential threats are determined; actions can be taken to minimize their impact or possibly eliminate the risk of an emergency. 

3.    Emergency Response Training: Regular emergency response training is crucial so that all employees and staff know what to do in the event of an emergency. Training should include reviewing the response plan and making sure that all employees are familiar with it, identifying the roles and responsibilities of individuals, refresher courses (if necessary), and plan review training when updates or revisions have been made to the emergency action plan.

4.    Response Drills and Exercises: Drills should be conducted not only to prepare the staff but to test the response plan and its effectiveness and any potential problems.  Employees will also understand the expectations and the procedure more effectively through regular drills.

To help your company get an effective emergency action plan in place, give HF Planners a call.  We provide Facility Planning, Management, and Design services to help you manage resources and meet your organization’s goals for its facilities. HF Planners, LLC has a proven record of successfully completing projects of all sizes for well-known companies across major industries. We would like the opportunity to work with you!

How to create an evacuation procedure

Every workplace or facility needs to have an emergency action plan in place which will ensure employee safety in the event of a fire or other emergency. According to OSHA, not all employers are required to establish an emergency evacuation plan/evacuation procedure, but it is a fairly easy task to accomplish and will protect your employees and your business if an emergency situation should arise.  As you work to create your plan, keep these things in mind:

  1. Include your management team and employees in the establishment of the plan.  The goal is to protect lives and property in an emergency event, so it is beneficial to include management and staff in the process because their commitment and support to the plan is a critical component to its successful implementation.

  2. Include a wide variety of potential emergencies. As you consider your plan, it should be specific to the types of potential emergencies that could occur in your facility.  A hazard assessment should also be conducted to determine the types of physical/chemical hazards that exist and could cause an emergency situation. If there are multiple buildings in your facility, each one should have a plan tailored to their needs.

  3. Your plan, at a minimum, should include: an evacuation policy/procedure and route assignments (i.e., floor plans, workplace maps and safe or refuge areas).

  4. An organized plan is critical. Disorganization during an evacuation could lead to panic, property damage, injuries or even death. When developing your plan, it should include the following:

○     Conditions that would require an evacuation

○     A clear and direct chain of command--who are the people authorized in your company to order an evacuation or shutdown. 

○     Specific procedures for evacuation.  Employees should know exactly what to do, the route they will take and how to safely exit the building.  These procedures need to be posted where all employees can see them.

○     A system for accounting for personnel after an emergency

○     Procedures in place to assist employees with disabilities

5.  Have more than one evacuation route.  All plans should include primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits.  Exits should be clearly marked, well lit, wide enough to cover a large number of personnel

 To ensure the safety of your employees and your business, creating a thorough and organized emergency action plan/evacuation procedure is critical.  At HF planners, we care about your safety and can help you put an emergency action plan in place, give us a call today!

New Standard to Help Facility Managers Prepare

Facility managers are tasked with the responsibility of preparing employees and occupants of their facilities for the unexpected. Keeping your employees safe during a crisis starts well before the situation starts.  Planning, communication and organization will be the reason that resources and lives are saved. 

The new standard includes requirements for high-risk facilities. For facility managers, the efforts required to adhere to the standard should be minimal if the facility has a comprehensive and up-to-date all-hazards risk assessment, emergency response plan, or business continuity plan. 

For more information on the new standard :

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Who is in the Facility?

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“To answer the call for better and more security, equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders have created a unified, centralized, integrated “building intelligence nexus” which enables facility management and security personnel to assign “who” is authorized to enter as well as “where” and “when” they’re authorized to do so.”

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