Knowledge Base

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Church Facility Management Solutions Webinar 3/22/2018 - Security in the Church

General Maintenance

How long does carpet last?

If properly maintained, good quality commercial carpet can reach 20 years of service life. However, for planning purposes you should expect 10 years of service life. It may still be serviceable but may be dated.

Is there an advantage to moveable versus fixed seating?

It all depends on the “why” of your space. That will drive the determination as to whether you should have fixed or permanent seating. With modern seating companies there are a great deal of choices out there.

What kind of caulk should I use if I am doing exterior maintenance?

The surfaces and exposure rate to the elements dictate what type of caulking is best. Other factors can include if you plan on painting it or not and frequency you are able to re-apply. In everything, use a caulk that says specifically that it is designed for exterior use. Painters caulk is readily available, but it will require a protective coating (paint) to be effective. Single part urethanes are a good choice due to their elasticity and general resistance to UV. Make sure you clean the surfaces of all dirt and debris before applying caulk, as well as making sure the required temperature ranges are met.

What can I do to patch/seal my asphalt parking?

There are many products available online or at your local hardware store. When patching or resealing asphalt, some basic considerations apply. If patching, it is always best to cut around the patch area to create a solid vertical surface to the patch to adhere to. Most concrete cutting tools will easily cut asphalt. Pay attention to what is in the sealer you want to use; some sealers use coal tar which is banned in some areas. Preparation of the area is the most critical part. Prep the area as the product specifies and you should be fine. You can find some good info here at https://www.asphaltkingdom.com/video-center.html.

What is “VCT”?

VCT is Vinyl Composition Tile is the common name for the widely used tile in commercial buildings today. Its composition is bits of vinyl combined with other binders and fillers (like limestone). It is usually found in a 12”x12” tile size, and comes in a variety of colors. It can be stripped and waxed several times over its life, when properly installed.

What is “LVT”?

LVT is stands for luxury vinyl tile which is an industry term, not a standard. LVT is typically a 100% vinyl product with a pattern or color layer and a protective wear coating. VCT is very common, but the myriad style and design choices with LVT is causing it to increase in popularity.

What is the best type of paint to use?

This depends on what your needs are. Understanding the three basic parts of paint are helpful. Paint is composed of pigment, binder, and a solvent. Pigment is the material that provides the color. The binding agent serves as a vehicle for the pigment, assists in adhesion, and helps provide the protective characteristics of the coating. The solvent (which means what allows the pigment and binder to remain suspended) is what allows for the transport of the coating to the surface it is being applied to. The recommended tool and brush cleaning media on the paint can in simple terms tells you what the solvent is for that particular coating. This is important to know because paints that use water as a solvent do not adhere well to paints that have used a solvent base. You can apply them, it just takes a bit of proper prep work.

  • Many times solvent (oil-based) paints are used on metal building components.
  • Water-based (latex) paints are more common, and typically used on all other surfaces.

Here is a quick article on paint selection, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/493-the-basics-of-paint-selection/  A good rule is to buy the best paint you can afford from a reputable paint or building component company. Always keep a record of what type and color of coating you use in your facility.

What does the different sheens in paint mean?

This question has a long answer, so to start here is a good article https://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/ask-sherwin-williams/painting/interior-painting-how-tos/interior-planning/sw-article-dir-selectingafinis

In simple terms, sheens (in order from non-reflective to most reflective) are flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, gloss, high-gloss. The different sheens also help indicate how well the hold up to scrubbing, the higher the sheen generally equates to higher scrubbability. I personally am a fan of using the experience of your local paint supplier to help decide what is best to use where. Here is another starting point: https://www.sherwin-williams.com/property-facility-managers/facility-solutions/commercial.

How big of a walk mat should I have, and what is the best type?

It depends on what you are needing the mat for. For typical dirt, water, and debris reduction at entrances you need to plan on at least 15 feet of matting in some configuration that allows for heavy scraping, light debris removal and initial drying, and final drying. You can find combination mats that offer different blends in one continuous mat to achieve that goal, or use a combination of mats. Fatigue reduction, wet area safety, and protective matting are all very situation and location specific.

It is important to make sure that the matting is cleanable and able to be properly maintained. this includes moving it if necessary to take care of the floor underneath the mat as needed. Here is a good article on matting: http://cmrris.com/news-real-estate-details/79/how-to-select-a-proper-floor-mat.html.

I have to replace a door, how do I know what “hand” it is?

While there is some debate among manufacturers, many agree that determining the hand of the door (except egress doors, more on that later) is based on information gathered while you are on the outside, or non-secured area, of the door. As you look at the door, the side that the hinge is on determines if it is right or left “hand”, and if it swings into the facility (or secured area) it is an inswing. If it swings out it is either referred to as a “reverse”. I know you think it should be “outswing”, but that is part of the terminology for egress doors. Egress doors will always be some type of right or left outswing; outswing lets you know that it will have some type of panic or crash bar to open so people can always exit.

This will help further explain: https://www.cdfdistributors.com/door-handing-chart/

What does “type of keyway” mean in a lock?

Type of keyway refers to the shape of the key necessary to properly engage the lock. If you have purchased a standard Kwikset ® lock, for example, the key that it requires is generally referred to as a K1, or kwikset, keyway. A Schlage ® lock will have a the SG1, or schlage, keyway.

The preceding are some of the most common; in commercial locks you can get much more complicated requiring you to know what number of pins your keyway is, and is it a master or subordinate key. If you are not sure and cannot tell from the lock, your local locksmith is a good place to start. To give you an idea of all that is out there: http://mysecuritypro.com/a-zofkeys.aspx.

Why is it important to know how many Square Feet I have?

From budgeting and planning to getting insurance quotes, knowing the square footage of your facility forms the foundation for many of your critical tasks. You cannot determine how much to budget for carpet replacement if you do not know how much carpet you have. Are you over or under-insured? You have to know your size to adequately determine that. How many people you can legally have in a room is based on many factors, to include square footage. As one responsible for maintaining the facility, it is important not only to know the total square footage, you should be able to access a spreadsheet that lists square footage for each individual space as well.

How long should a roof last?

Service life of a roof can vary greatly due to many conditions, but in general the following is a good range for expected service life for common roof types:

  • 3-tab Asphalt shingle - 15 years
  • Architectural Asphalt shingle - 20 years
  • Slate (real/synthetic) - 50-75 years (or longer)
  • Metal standing seam - 50-75 years
  • Modified bitumen roofs - 20-30 years
  • Single-ply roofs - 20-50 years

This is not every type, rather it is what we find the most. Every roof can be extended with proper inspection and preventative maintenance. Here is a resource regarding roof life: https://www.rmcumc.org/files/forms/pension/roofingproductcomparisons.pdf.

How do I dispose of old paint, electronic equipment and furniture?

Always start with your local authorities, as every municipality can have different rules. Many of the large waste companies offer hazardous material collection (http://www.wm.com/enterprise/municipalities/residential-solutions/household-hazardous-waste.jsp) and many City public works departments offer certain levels of recycling. One thing to know about paint is that it is considered hazardous in liquid form. Allowing it to fully dry allows for normal dumpster disposal, with some possible exceptions (check with your waste service provider).

  • If you can dispose of dried paint, an easy way is to lay out some plastic, place scrap cardboard on it, and pour out cat litter on it. Pour the paint on the cat litter and allow to dry. Repeat as necessary until all the paint is dry. Sweep up the dry paint and cat litter mix, bag it, and dispose of it.
  • Electronics may have monetary value for you. Check with your local scrap dealers and electronic repair shops to see if they want to scrap them. Some Goodwill locations and technical schools also will accept old electronics for teaching purposes.
  • Most furniture and bulk trash can be disposed of in your dumpster, but it generally requires you to break it down into smaller pieces. The smaller the pieces, the easier it is to process.

Electrical

Do you always have to change the fixture when upgrading fluorescent troffers?

Not necessarily. Of course, you should always consult a licensed electrician when considering changes to your facility. However, it is possible to convert an older T-12 ballasted fixture to a more energy efficient T-8 ballasted fixture by swapping the ballasts and using the correct amps. The tombstone for a T-12 lamp (where the lamp connects to the fixture) will also function with a T-8 lamp.

There are also several LED replacement systems available that allow you to remove the ballasts completely and direct wire into a LED setup.

Do we need to leave an accessible route in front of our electrical panels?

Yes.

The OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.303 (g)) requires sufficient access and working space around all equipment serving 600 volts or less. For equipment serving between 120 volts and 250 volts, the regulations require a minimum of three feet of clearance. The width of the working space in front shall be 30 inches minimum or width of the equipment.

The OSHA standard (29 CFR1910.305 (d)) requires a dead front on electrical panel boards.

The National Electrical Code (NFPA 70 110.26) requires a minimum of three feet of clearance for all electrical equipment serving 600 volts or less.

The National Electrical Code (NFPA 70 110.27) requires live parts of electrical equipment operating at 50 volts or more to be guarded to prevent accidental contact by approved enclosures.

Is conversion to LED always the best option?

The answer is a hard “maybe”. Without going too much into lumens, color temperature, foot-candles, etc; there are many things to consider. Where will it be, how will it be used, what you want to illuminate, does it need to dim? These and other questions need to be answered. For energy savings in the long-term, LED are cheaper to operate. The savings are from electricity costs as well as maintenance costs. Here is an article regarding bulb types: https://hub.currentbyge.com/current-articles/cfl-vs-halogen-vs-led.

Do I need battery backups?

Yes. Battery backups (UPS – Uninterrupted Power Supply) can save and/or extend the life of your servers,/critical electrical components. You should not only consider them for your computing equipment; your AVL equipment would benefit as well. With some exceptions, even high-end units will cost you less than most insurance deductibles. http://stimulustech.com/technology-tips/are-battery-backup-units-necessary/.

What is the difference between my worship center dimmer and a house dimmer?

Most worship center spaces, that use theatrical style lighting, have a dimmer rack. This is different than household dimmers in many ones. One fundamental difference is that theatrical dimmers run a mild current (about 5-10 volts) through the circuits to “pre-warm” the lamps. For the longest time the standard in lighting was halogen lamps, the pre-warming allowed them to turn on and off quickly without burning out as fast. If you begin to upgrade fixtures or controllers in the space, make sure that the whole system is compatible. Not all dimmers can control newer equipment.

What is the difference between T-12, T-8, etc?

Generally it relates to the circumference of the lamp. T-12’s are larger around than T-8’s, T-8 is larger than T-5. Fluorescent lamps run off of ballasts, and that is has some critical info for you. The older T-12 magnetic ballasts are no longer manufactured, T-12’s are phasing completely out. If you still have T-12 fixtures in your building you have an opportunity to improve lighting and cost of operation by upgrading your old T-12 fixtures.

Where are the best areas to target lighting efficiency upgrades?

Any areas that have lighting that is on set periods, like parking lots, exterior “dusk-to-dawn” lighting, and hallways are always good candidates. Consider solar, LED, and occupancy sensors when appropriate. Occupancy sensor switches are great for restrooms.

Do I need a backup generator?

Only if you plan on needing to operate or have services during an electrical outage. Keep in mind that some areas do not allow buildings with life safety systems that are off-line due to power loss to operate.

Is there a difference between emergency power and stand-by power? How often should they be tested? How should they be tested?

There is a great deal of technical information regarding this topic, this is where much of those engineering fees go when you are building new. In the simplest of terms, emergency power is power that immediately engages upon the loss of a utility provided power source to provide continuous operation to systems that are critical from a life-safety perspective. Think emergency lighting, fire alarms, elevator equipment, and certain ventilation systems. Stand-by power is an alternative power source, think generator, that can be engineered to be able to support operations in the event that a utility service is lost. It can be part of the emergency power plan or stand-alone. NFPA 110: Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems is where most of the regulations are found. It can be found here: http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards/detail?code=110 you can sign up to view the codes for free at the NFPA site. Here is another helpful article on this: https://www.generac.com/Industrial/professional-resources/news-whitepapers/industry-news/standby-vs-emergency-power-in-mission-critical-fa

Testing should be done monthly for most emergency power systems (emergency lighting, etc), stand-by systems should be checked per the manufacturer's recommendations, at a minimum annually but quarterly may not be a bad idea either.

Janitorial

What kind of vacuum is best?

There is no answer that settles this question definitively. The answer to the question really begins with understanding features of different vacuums and selecting the correct tool for your need. In a commercial setting, you are generally choosing between an upright or a backpack vacuum. Both can provide great debris removal, robust filters, and quiet operation. Uprights offer brushes that can assist in debris removal as well as help restore height to the pile; backpacks can be used to clean a variety of surfaces to include ceiling vents and upholstery very easily. From a production standpoint, backpacks can clean more square footage per hour than uprights. Defining what type of space you need to clean, how often, and how much all factor into what is the right choice. Regardless of whether you choose an upright or backpack, always get the largest motor, best filter, and quietest operation you can afford. A good commercial vacuum starts around $350.00 and goes up from there. Invest in quality, properly maintain it, and you will get years of use.

Here are come additional resources:

http://www.issa.com/video#387

https://www.issa.com/articles/article-details/archived/are-backpack-vacuums-back-in-the-limelight

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/guide/710/commercial-vacuum-cleaners-buying-guide.html

How often should we clean carpets?

If you are referring to general cleaning, clean them as often as necessary to keep them free of debris (after any event that causes them to gather soil).

Deep cleaning, or extraction, is only necessary to remove the debris that builds up during standard cleaning. While frequent standard cleaning will reduce the frequency of deep cleaning, it will not eliminate it. If you are seeing traffic patterns, discoloration, or sunken pile; those can be indicators that a deep clean may be warranted.

Proper general maintenance and periodic deep cleaning will help extend the service life and the look of your carpet.

Is insourcing or outsourcing the best for facility cleaning?

Talk about a hornets nest. There are very vocal proponents of each choice, and even a few that advocate a mix. It will always come down to what is your capacity to supervise, what you can afford, and what you need to accomplish.

  • Capacity to Supervise - To field an in-house staff, you have to have a program that properly trains the team on cleaning as well as OSHA requirements, etc. Without the training your team will not perform at the level you need them to. With an outsourced team, you have to have an individual on staff that understands what properly cleaned should be and is able to hold the company accountable to that standard.
  • Affordability - Outsourced teams can be more affordable for the church. There is a known fixed cost, and you are not dealing with all the other costs associated with having employees. If you need the team to perform other tasks in addition to cleaning, in-house might be more affordable. You also need to remember that with an in-house team you also have to provide the equipment to clean, and that can be very expensive. Outsourced cleaning has some economy of scale due to the cost of equipment being spread out over multiple clients.
  • Purpose (what you need to accomplish) - If all you need the team for is cleaning, and it can be done at night, out-source is a strong option. If you expect multiple room uses a day that need cleaning and reset, in-house becomes a little more preferable.

Bottom line, both have their pros and cons; the determining factor is going to be what you as a church feel is right for you. Regardless of the choice, supervision of the team and holding them accountable for performance is key.

http://facilitymanagement.com/outsourced-cleaning/

What is recommended for mop heads?

With the improvement in design and increase in efficiencies, microfiber mops are a great choice for most churches. Like any technology, proper training on how to use the system is key to realizing all the benefits. CPI is a manufacturer that has many great free resources for you to check out, here is one of their blogs:

http://www.creativeidea.net/blog/benefits_microfiber

Are all chemicals the same?

No, they are not. Cleaning products can be broken down into their primary function; either cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting. Make sure you understand the difference, and follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to safely use the product and where. Here is a little more on the difference:

https://www.espace.cool/2017/10/13/welcome-to-your-dirty-clean-building/

HVAC

What is normal life expectancy for an HVAC unit?

Depends on who you ask, and what type of equipment it is. A generally accepted range is 15-20 years for most equipment, 20-25 for most furnaces, and a bit longer for geothermal systems. All of these ranges are directly impacted by the level of maintenance performed on the system. A good service company performing a full preventative maintenance schedule for your equipment can extend the life by 20-25% or more.

Life expectancy is also impacted by proper sizing and installation of the equipment, environmental factors like exposure to extreme conditions, and runtime. An AC will run for more hours in Arizona than it will in Alaska.

Improvements in efficiency and phasing out of refrigerants also impact service life. If the cost to repair the unit exceeds 30% of the cost of installing a new unit, consider the replacement.

For planning in a life cycle sense, you have two options. You can utilize an average of historical data if you have that, or a conservative range of 10-12 years. Your systems will hopefully last a bit longer, but trying to set aside the cost of a replacement system within 12 years will ensure that you are prepared to handle replacement with cash on hand.

One of many articles on the topic: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/132909-hvac-system-life-cycles-how-long-should-it-last

Are mini splits a good HVAC option?

In the European and Asian markets, Ductless systems are the norm, not the exception. In the US market, Ductless systems are gaining ground, but adoption is still slow.

However, the reasons that they are so prevalent overseas make them a good option for new construction as well as retrofits. With the proper engineering, they can handle almost any size space or configuration. they are very efficient, and interior air delivery options include wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, floor mounted, and cassettes that mount into a suspended ceiling.

The biggest difficulty in considering Ductless systems is there is a smaller selection of qualified installers and maintenance personnel for the more complex systems. As more adopt the technology in the US, it will get easier.

Pros for adoption: flexibility, energy efficiency, lower cost, smaller footprint. Cons for adoption: lack of technicians with advanced understanding, lack of easy parts availability, more units needed for larger spaces, additional drainage and power needs.

http://neea.org/docs/default-source/reports/ResidentialDuctless.pdf

Is there an advantage to keeping my old HVAC equipment that has been replaced?

Many times when you replace a HVAC unit the installer will haul off the old equipment. If you have the room and personnel, you may want to consider requesting that they leave the old equipment with you. Once the system is drained of all the hazardous chemicals, there is monetary value in the scrap. While metal has a relatively low scrap value, the copper and coil is worth quite a bit. If it was a large enough system, you can earn several hundred dollars off of the scrap. That is a great opportunity to invest in some new tools, or even buy lunch for your facilities team.

How often should I change the filter in my HVAC equipment?

That depends on the unit, its location, and filter type used. Some filters are advertised as 3 or 6 month filters. In practical terms that is not usually the best choice for churches. We recommend going no longer than 3 months, but generally every month, for filter changes. If you change a filter every month, you are looking at your equipment regularly and can head off potential maintenance issues.

Administration

What trade organizations would you recommend to further my education or get other data?

There are many organizations you can start with. The National Association of Church Facility Managers (http://nacfm.com/) is a great resource for your facility manager. Administrators would benefit by checking out The Church Network (https://www.nacba.net/). There are also state and regional organizations you should seek out. For example, Church Supplies and Services Inc. (http://www.churchco-op.org/)

There are also International organizations that you can consider like International Facility Management Association (https://www.ifma.org/), and ASIS International (https://www.asisonline.org/Pages/default.aspx).

Is there a checklist available to get us started with a proactive facility management initiative?

Yes, CFMS has checklists available for you to use as you develop your program. They are located on the resources page.

If you want to develop your own, always start with your “big-ticket” items. These are going to be the systems that have the greatest effect on how you do church. They typically include HVAC, lighting, roofing, plumbing, and parking lots. Of these, HVAC, roofing, and parking lots represent a large part of the replacement cost of your property.

  • HVAC - create a spreadsheet that notes model number, serial number, type of unit, filter size and quantity, install date, area served for each piece of equipment.
  • Lighting - Note majority of fixture type and bulbs needed. Create a weekly walk-through of either the entire building or sections, depending on size, and replace bulbs as needed. Identify areas that are prime for upgrading, i.e. still T-12 or may benefit from an LED fixture.
  • Roofing - Identify roofing type, date of install, any active warranties, number of squares (roofing squares, 1 square = 100 sq ft), known areas of concern.
  • Plumbing - Identify all building meter connections, back-flow preventers, any points that they feed HVAC systems, sprinkler connections (both fire and lawn), number and age of toilets and urinals.
  • Parking Lots - Age of install, date of last reseal, square footage of each lot, number and type of parking spaces, condition of signage.

Once you have collected the data on the preceding, you simply create a scheduled time to review and re-inspect the items. You also note the required inspection or certification time-table, and schedule accordingly. For example, most cities require annual inspection and certification of back-flow preventers. Fire sprinkler systems require annual testing.

Is there a good rule of thumb for prioritizing maintenance and repair projects?

Yes, here is a flow chart example you can use:

Flow chart

Is there a difference between Safety and Security?

We believe there is a distinct difference when discussing safety and security. Safety is a word that many use,, but defining it is as varied as the people you ask. For our purposes, we offer that as it pertains to church facility management, safety is defined as this: Any policy, procedure, action, or physical installation designed to keep occupants free from harm as it pertains to facility condition or workplace conditions.

If safety is defined in that manner, what is security? Again, for the purposes of church facility management, security is defined as this: Any policy, procedure, action, or physical installation designed to keep occupants free from harm as it pertains to the intentionally harmful actions of others.

Is “security” a facility management responsibility?

Yes. If you look at how we define security, many of the components that you might utilize in a security plan will need to be maintained by the facility team. Facility teams also tend to be the folks at the facility the most, incorporating them into the security plan makes the most sense. No one knows the facility better.

How many facility staff do we need?

There have been many studies on this, and according to data collected by the International Facility Management Association you need to consider maintenance coverage at one person for every 25,000 to 35,000 square feet, depending on facility use. This can be in-house, outsourced, or volunteer driven. Regardless of the staffing source, they need to be consistent and dedicated to maintaining the space. Anything less than this ratio and your building will begin to fall behind in maintenance.

How does our church get our facility team trained?

There are many ways to seek out training for your team. You can start with your local chemical and paper suppliers. Many times they offer training on the chemicals and machine they sell. You can also seek out assistance from your local churches, see what they do. There are also opportunities and local, state, and national conferences that you can seek out.

Online options are prevalent as well. Many manufacturers and companies offer online training. Not everything is church facility specific, but certain standards are universal.

Church associations and networks are also sources. NACFM and The Church Network are places to start.

Of course, facility team training designed specifically for your needs and application are also available from companies that focus on church facilities. Cool Solutions Group offers training in everything facility related.

How much should utilities cost our church?

National averages range from $1.00 to $1.50 per square foot. (Gas and Electric combined). When determining what you are paying, make sure you include all utility billing, as some areas provide a separate bill for parking lot lighting. Anything higher than $1.50 per square foot indicates that there are available opportunities to improve that will have a swift ROI.

How much money should be set aside in a capital reserve account?

Short answer is as much as possible and more than you think. the best planning number is a minimum target goal is $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot/per year set aside for future needs. Ideal would be between $2.00 to $3.00 per square foot/per year. This account ideally would only be used for replacement costs of existing assets.

We are thinking about having a daycare…what questions should we be asking?

It will start with your State Daycare Licensing organization. For example, in Texas daycares are regulated under the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and they list the standards regarding every type of facility. Seek out info from the State agency relevant to your church.

Additionally, you will need to consult with your attorney, your insurer, and your Fire Marshal. The rules regarding child-care facilities are different than providing care for church activities. You will also need to consider if the daycare will operate under your Tax ID number or will they get their own? There are advantages and disadvantages to both routes. You will also need to consider the additional cost of operation to your facility. Not just personnel; impact to utilities, inspection costs, increased maintenance, wear and tear, furniture needs, additional life safety devices, and administrative costs (for example collecting fees) are some additional areas.

Providing a Christ-centered daycare in your community can be a great missional outreach as long as it is done to the best standard possible.

Are there rebates or incentives available for my church to upgrade lighting?

In many cases, yes. Churches are not excluded from many rebate programs, though they may fall into a different rebate or incentive program than other commercial businesses. Check with your utility provider or even your local electrical contractor to see what they are aware of. You can also check out the services of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) at : www.dsireusa.org. You can find additional information here: https://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/21072/title/finding-rebates-and-incentives-for-lighting-upgrades/viewall/true

How much authority does the local Fire Marshal have on our facility and its use?

Without going down the rabbit hole into all the different regulations that apply to churches, the simple answer is the Fire Marshal will have the authority to shut down operations in your facility if they are able to show non-compliance with certain life-safety codes or any other regulatory area they have been authorized to enforce. If the Fire Marshal asks you to correct an issue, or change how you do something, or even suggests that doing something differently may be safer, you need to listen. Here is the very positive thing, most Fire Marshals want you do operate safely and successfully and will work with you. They are a great resource to make sure you are doing things safe within your facility.

IoT

Is system integrations something we should be considering?

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, integration is inevitable. You are seeing it already with the streamlining of function within one device (think of your phone and how it can control all sorts of different things through apps). For the church it means that you will be able to track, gather data, and control many different functions from one platform. By integrating scheduling, HVAC, security, and any other systems that you can on your campus you can increase your operational efficiency, save money, and spend more time on other areas rather than turning stuff on and off. Investment in integration is equivalent to hiring additional staff but without the ongoing and increasing costs associated with more people on the payroll.

How do I integrate HVAC software with scheduling software?

That depends on the way in which the software communicates. If the HVAC software has an open (or public) API (application programming interface) it should be easy to communicate with the scheduling software. Having skilled integrators available makes this task easier.

  • For the systems that allow third-party access, you should also make sure that the software that communicates with the HVAC can communicate with any other scheduling or ChMS system that may be in use. This may allow you to utilize a system that can communicate to both of your legacy systems and operate in the background. This allows for your team to continue using a system they know on the front-end while a newer more capable system coordinates all the activity in the background.

If the HVAC software operates on a proprietary system, then you will have to utilize only what is available from the original equipment manufacturer.  

  • This reason why is when you consider any IP based control system you should try and make sure they are capable of communicating on a universal protocol, like BACNET
Are all WIFI thermostats the same?

Yes and no. Yes they are the same in that they allow communication via a WIFI network. That is where the absolute comparison ends. WIFI thermostats are like cars, they all are initially designed to get you from A to B. The difference lies in how many options you want on the journey. Differences to consider are does it allow for multiple setpoints throughout a day, and multiple schedules throughout the week? Is the scheduling capability tied to software that exists on a cloud, a local PC, or in the thermostat itself? What band does the thermostat transmit on, and does it communicate through other thermostats or only directly back to an access point? Will it retain programming if connectivity is lost? Can it be accessed and scheduled through a event scheduling system? Does it have and/or require a special app that I can then use my smartphone to monitor the thermostat? Does it collect and show data on efficiency and operation? Will it control all the functions of the unit I want to connect it to?

A well equipped WIFI thermostat can run from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand or more. Knowing your equipment, and really understanding what it is you want to accomplish with your system, will allow you to find and install the best solution for your facility.

What is a CMMS?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is software that creates and maintains a computer database of information regarding the organization’s maintenance operations. Robust systems not only track assets in the facility, they also allow organizations to create and track preventative maintenance tasks and emergent work order needs.

 

Transportation

Do I have to have a DOT number on my church bus?

While each state is different, everyone considers a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers a commercial motor vehicle. Depending on the requirements in your state and where you want to drive your vehicle, you may need a DOT number. Contact us for help in your specific situation.

Life Safety

How often do I check my portable fire extinguishers?

You need to have them inspected and certified every year by a licensed contractor, someone on your team should perform the required monthly inspection. If you need info on the process check out our guides.

What type of inspections should I be doing?

Each church is unique, but in general you need to have a licensed contractor inspect your portable fire extinguishers, back-flow preventors, and fire/burglar alarms annually. If you have a commercial hood in your kitchen that should be inspected twice a year.

Is it ok to store items in mechanical closets? If so, what are the rules?

Yes, if there is room, you can store things in the mechanical closet. What you can store will be governed by OSHA and local standards. Flammable items should never be stored in a mechanical room unless they are kept in a properly ventilated and rated flammable control cabinet. As we discussed under the electrical category, you have minimum reach and accessibility requirements in front of all electrical panels. Due to the nature of the equipment in a mechanical room, any item stored should be kept in a neat and orderly manner.

Keep in mind that a mechanical room should not be considered storage space. Keeping the room as free of extraneous items allows for proper maintenance and repair of the equipment that is in the room.

Do we need to leave an accessible route in front of our electrical panels?

Yes.

The OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.303 (g)) requires sufficient access and working space around all equipment serving 600 volts or less. For equipment serving between 120 volts and 250 volts, the regulations require a minimum of three feet of clearance. The width of the working space in front shall be 30 inches minimum or width of the equipment.

The OSHA standard (29 CFR1910.305 (d)) requires a dead front on electrical panel boards.

The National Electrical Code (NFPA 70 110.26) requires a minimum of three feet of clearance for all electrical equipment serving 600 volts or less.

The National Electrical Code (NFPA 70 110.27) requires live parts of electrical equipment operating at 50 volts or more to be guarded to prevent accidental contact by approved enclosures.

Is there any concern with using power strips?

There can be. Here is a great (kinda technical) article on them http://www.oshatraining.com/Violations-OSHA-Electrical-Standards-Power-Strips.php. Basic tip is that if you have to use them, make sure that the rating of the combined equipment you want to plug in does not exceed the rating of the power strip OR the outlet/circuit it is plugged into.

What does it mean by accessible route?

From the 2002 ADA guidelines, accessible route is defined as :

Accessible Route. A continuous unobstructed path connecting all accessible elements and spaces of a building or facility. Interior accessible routes may include corridors, floors, ramps, elevators, lifts, and clear floor space at fixtures. Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, crosswalks at vehicular ways, walks, ramps, and lifts.

https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/background/adaag#3.%20MISCELLANEOUS

For practical purposes, can someone with any ADA recognized condition recognize and safely navigate a route from your parking lot to any part of the public space in your building? Keep in mind, this is not just wheelchair accessibility; it includes any recognized condition under the 2010 ADA standards.

How often should we test emergency lighting?

Plumbing

What is the advantage of auto flush fixtures and on/off sinks?

The primary advantage is water conservation. Typically the more you automate water delivery the more you can limit over-use. With that conservation there is an additional monetary incentive. Reducing water consumption reduces your water bill. That reduction in the bill helps make the ROI on changing out your systems fairly quick. Here is a great resource showing different potential savings.

Another benefit is reduced smell and easier cleaning. Puddles of soap and water can be eliminated, and waste is not left sitting in the urinals or commodes.

What is a back-flow preventer?

A back-flow preventer is a piece of equipment that allows for flow to occur in one direction only. Most common use is in preventing contaminated water from re-entering the public water supply from a sprinkler system; you also find them on the make-up piping of chillers and boilers. They should be inspected every year by a certified back-flow inspector.