By: Rosie Keller and DJ Mattair
September 20, 2023
As a summer of record-setting temperatures winds down, many look forward to the relief that cooler weather will provide. But we cannot take our attention away from the fact that the environmental stressors we’ve seen over the past months have created new risks for commercial assets. With careful planning and execution, property owners and investors can ensure optimal performance in their buildings, stay within budgets and continue to work toward overall ESG goals.
The attention to people and the built environment go hand in hand when it comes to preserving asset value. While every region has unique climate considerations requiring a greater focus on particular building operations, our property management teams undergo comprehensive training, underscoring a shared commitment to safeguarding against potential issues.
Maintaining proper building temperatures during the summer months is important for both tenant satisfaction and building performance. This begins by optimizing HVAC equipment start times through building automation systems and activating unoccupied set points during non-business hours. It is not uncommon to receive client requests for more monitoring and reporting when temperatures spike. Keeping a closer eye on performance metrics pays off as it oftentimes provides early insight into potential problem areas, and building owners appreciate the transparency.
Furthermore, maintaining a well-stocked attic inventory is crucial to promptly address potential summer equipment malfunctions. For example, having spare fans readily available for immediate use minimizes downtime should replacement parts need to be ordered. Additionally, adjusting building engineers’ work hours is a simple but effective way to combat the heat. Our teams begin before sunrise and peak temperatures, which enables them to work efficiently in cooler conditions before tenants arrive.
General Maintenance and Repair
A regular, thorough maintenance routine that encompasses electrical, HVAC and water systems is the best way to prevent the accumulation of unnoticed issues, ultimately saving buildings from costly, long-term repairs. For example, as the summer season approaches, our protocol includes infrared scans on electrical equipment to detect hot spots within switchgear, allowing for the proactive repair of faulty equipment and mitigating disruptions as the heat rises.
Moreover, when AC fans are running at full tilt, there is a heightened risk of doors not fully closing due to increased air pressure. To maintain positive building pressure, it's imperative to ensure doors are securely closed either manually or by utilizing an access control alarm system during non-operational hours.
Health and Safety
The well-being of building engineers is of utmost importance. Several key measures help ensure their health and safety, especially during the summer. First, all engineers at Transwestern receive annual heat stress training to keep them up to date on the latest safety protocols. Second, we emphasize the importance of wearing appropriate clothing to shield against harmful sun exposure. And it goes without saying that easy access to water stations at each property is imperative, encouraging team members to maintain proper hydration levels so that they can safely perform their duties.
For tenants, summer signals “fun” and is an ideal time to enhance the tenant experience. We host events to bring people together, like ice cream socials and ICEE gatherings, but we also make a point to provide practical tips, such as closing blinds during peak hours to keep workspaces cool.
Rosie Keller is a Senior Vice President of Asset Services, overseeing the property management and engineering of Transwestern’s managed portfolio in the Phoenix market.
DJ Mattair serves as Regional Director of Engineering in Phoenix, where he oversees the implementation and maintenance of building management systems, executes operations and upholds Transwestern’s quality standards.
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