Why more businesses are deciding to combine their building asset services

For a long time, many building operators have relied on separate providers to manage and monitor their essential building asset services (fire, HVAC, and electrical maintenance).  Regardless of industry or use, most were cautious about trusting one provider to carry out every service.

But lately, the approach has changed. Operators are realising there are benefits to combing services that outweigh their concerns, resulting in an increased demand for suppliers who can do it all.

As with most changes, however, the decision to make the switch is not that simple. Combining services can provide benefits, but it also requires a lot more trust in your provider. So, do the positives outweigh any perceived negatives? Is this a trend, or a more sustainable choice?

In the end, it all comes down to how you set up your services, how much work you’re willing to do yourself, and your choice of operator.

When outsourced management becomes an in-house problem

Traditionally, sourcing a specialist for each individual service was the ‘normal’ way to do things. It made sense in order to ensure quality service and expertise, and protect yourself from the consequences of putting all your eggs in one basket.

If the basket (i.e. your provider) is faulty, all your eggs are at risk. It makes sense in theory, but it becomes more complicated in practice.

Forget about your supplier’s competency for a minute, and consider your role in this service. You’ve got a lot on your plate and you need an outsourced expert to take control of essential management and maintenance. However, having multiple providers then means:

  • You need to coordinate all providers to come together for integrated system testing, which occurs at least once a year. This testing requires the participation of all providers at the same time.
  • Paperwork is multiplied. Not just in number, but in format. Invoicing, reporting and other vital communication will all be delivered differently and at different times from each provider.
  • Maintaining communication and building relationships with multiple contacts from multiple companies. Constantly keeping up as roles move and change.

For a job that is meant to be outsourced, there is a lot of in-house organisation and management required.

If you’re going to do it, do it right

It’s not too hard to see why people have cottoned onto the fact that combining building asset services might be easier. Doing so offers you the chance to make these services more efficient without compromising their effectiveness. If you do it right.

The risks that originally haunted buildings are still there. The faulty basket and broken eggs still exist, even with all the benefits. So, if you’re thinking about combing services (or already have) the approach requires some safeguards.

Separate contracts

Ensure your provider will happily supply separate contracts for each of the services they’re providing. That way, if they’re delivering well on one but not the other, you don’t need to terminate the contract entirely. This agreement provides you with a little bit of insurance if you’re still unsure about combining services.

Trusted provider

Combined services only work when your relationship with your provider is solid. A strong relationship with a trusted supplier who really cares about the service they deliver provides peace of mind. The stronger your basket, the less risk to the eggs.

Proven expertise

Does your provider have proven expertise in multiple fields? Make sure your provider isn’t just trying to meet demand by offering more services. Checking for proof of knowledge and expertise in all service areas – as well as demonstrated, quality service – is a must before signing them on.

Run out of excuses? Time to combine

It’s safe to say that combining building asset services isn’t a trend. It has shown itself to be a sustainable way forward for many businesses.

Some building operators have their own reasons from staying away from combining. But if you’re second-guessing the benefits, ask yourself why a couple of times. It’s likely you’ll soon run out of excuses.

If you follow the above steps, it’s pretty easy to try it out and go back to separate providers if you need to. But it’s unlikely you’ll want to. If you do it right with a good service provider, you’ll find yourself with:

  • More time – to get on with other tasks, and to build a better relationship with the one provider you’ve chosen
  • Better consistency – across reporting, communication, and invoicing
  • Greater cost-savings – less admin work, less overheads, and less overtime spent chasing up loose ends

TCM Solutions has been providing Victorian businesses with Fire Safety and Essential services for over 25 years, Thanks to recent increased demand, we have also introduced an Electrical Services division.

We are one of few providers that can offer specialist expertise in all three services through one provider. For more information on services, click here, or click here to speak with a service expert.