Key Takeaways

- The occupancy phase of a building accounts for a significant portion of a building’s life cycle; during that time, operation, maintenance and repair (OM&R) activities expose facility technicians to varying levels of hazards.

- Information on incidents involving OM&R activities can be difficult to quantify. This article aims to identify which building systems pose the greatest concern to facility management personnel and the types of modifications made to address hazards that exist after the building is turned over for occupancy.

- A survey tool was used, and 240 facility professionals responded. The results provide a different perspective in terms of categorically looking at safety concerns during OM&R and the demographics of those who represent the industry. Two important findings: 65.8% of respondents made changes to address safety hazards in facilities after occupancy; and less than 15% of respondents had received OSHA training, indicating that more facility professionals need training on how to identify safety hazards.

The life cycle of a building consists of relatively short planning, design and construction phases, compared to the occupancy phase, which accounts for more than 95% of the life cycle (Gallaher et al., 2004). During this phase, the building must function correctly and efficiently in occupants’ day-to-day operations; therefore, regular maintenance, repairs and renovations are required. These activities are referred to as operations, maintenance and repair (OM&R) needs (Tymvios et al., 2020).

OM&R needs are undertaken by facility managers who oversee a building’s occupancy after the construction phase ends. When occupants move in, they often ask facility managers to make changes and improvements to address issues not identified during the design and construction phases due to, among other things, new equipment installation (Okada et al., 2017) or modifications to address maintenance safety concerns (Christensen, 2007). Facility managers address these requests by assigning tasks to support staff or by subcontracting work to third-party entities (Mayo & Tymvios, 2017).

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.