Once a facility has survived devastating weather, how it bounces back from serious operational problems, like a hurricane, drought or winter storm, can become a monumental challenge for a facilities manager.
The emergence of more dangerous and volatile weather patterns via climate change has many professionals in a variety of fields considering a brand new way of thinking about operational plans, thanks to the concept of resiliency.
Resilience is the ability “to adapt changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance,” as defined by the Resilient Design Institute.
So, with everything you do as a facility manager to “keep the trains running” in your buildings with shrinking budgets, how can you incorporate resiliency into your operations?
The recent numbers from a study conducted by Haley & Aldrich, offer mixed signals. Although half of the firms polled have plans in development or are formulating them now, none have a resiliency program in place.
Also, 94 percent cited tough obstacles to resilience plans, including concerns about funding and educating stakeholders.
The shining light at the end of the tunnel: Two-thirds of the respondents polled are combining resilience with sustainability plans (think on-site renewable energy) that reduce emissions and provide redundancy during extreme weather.
Committing to resiliency-related measures isn’t easy, but facilities managers can make the process easier, if you take some simple steps to get started.
1. Schedule a meeting with your facility’s stakeholders whose needs must be met during an emergency event — building maintenance, IT and electrical operations — to better plan for what systems need improvements right now.
2. Look for the easy fixes first. For example, determine how to manage the behavior of your occupants in the event of an emergency. This may involve training sessions with workers and better signage.
3. It’s time to schedule a meeting with risk engineers at your facility’s insurance company so they can inspect it and make recommendations.
4. Do the windows in your facility need replacing? If they don’t open now, you may want to replace them with windows that do to provide extra ventilation.
For more guidance on improving resilience at your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.