Tips for managing and maintaining a critical environment

23-May-2017 8:45
in General
by Admin

For owners and managers of commercial properties, it’s vital to build and manage a strategy for long-term business success across all the key assets, including building services, business critical equipment and soft services.  

To achieve this you need to implement your operations procedures using reliable information that ensures you reduce operating costs. At the same time this will help you to build a plan of resilience to any risks that can occur out of the blue; a sudden fire or flooding, or lifecycle plant failures, for instance.

For a reference to flooding, our recent blogs on the floods in the basement of Foyle’s bookshop in Central London are worth reading reading - one on the work that needed to be done and the other on progress afterwards. They give you an idea of the work involved after a severe event which not only caused financial and business disruptions, but also affected critical business equipment.

At Karsons Consulting we believe in the following principle; ‘measure twice and cut once’. This involved detailed and thorough planning, then action, with a tried and tested checking process involving our team of experts.

Firstly, do you have a schedule of your assets? Are these separated into business critical assets?

Building owners and managers should adopt a strategy where planned preventative maintenance is undertaken regularly. The risk of failure of business critical assets causing financial loss and business interruption can be offset with enhancing maintenance on these services and by adopting analysis such as vibration testing, thermal imaging and noise monitoring.

These initiatives are becoming essential for critical environments. In addition, you need to constantly check, recheck and act accordingly to ensure that the plans you put in place provide you with the outcomes you need – and to reduce overall risk.

Another example of this is while working with an international investment bank, where we assisted with the monitoring of critical engineering services (generators, critical air conditioning, critical electrical services), set up a monitoring facility where critical data (temperature, noise, humidity, power…) could be monitored at live time and issued immediate reports provided by email to key individuals when readings were outside of set parameters.

At this point it’s worth looking at some of the top indicators used by industry standards for operating in an efficient critical environment. As you can imagine, there are a huge number of performance-related targets, so I’ll list a few I believe are critical for your strategy.

·       Sound management. It sounds obvious, but make sure you develop a comprehensive management strategy that involves continuous improvement (lifecycle analysis, operational reports…). You’d be amazed at the number of grey areas that can emerge when businesses review their critical environment.

·       Data. Capture as much data as possible. This will be crucial for analysing performance targets and understanding risk. However, don’t capture any data that is unnecessary and that will not be reviewed for decision making.

·       Training. Again, it sounds obvious but make sure all your engineers are properly trained to the highest standards. Ask for training records and retain these on your files. Likewise, ensure any engineers overseeing your assets from outside the business have the relevant qualifications to do the job required. Refer to our recent blog on using the right engineers for your business.

·       Testing and reviewing. Continuously test the assets in your critical environment and review your maintenance tasks. Undertaking only regular testing is better than nothing, but will not address those key issues that may arise causing business interruption that can be avoided with careful planning. Karsons Consulting are experts at planning business critical and condition based maintenance plans and would be happy to assist you.

·       Compliance. Regarding the above point, it’s not just the testing and reviewing of the critical environment that is critical, businesses also need to address compliance. You need to comply with all recent and upcoming legislation (see our blog on the three levels of EPC rating), and keep health and safety risk to a minimum, which in turn minimises business risk. This will help your business respond to the requirements of the customers, while adding core value to your business processes and helping you to properly manage business continuity. Karsons Consulting offer auditing of the various maintenance and compliance requirements and will be happy to assist you further with this.

To conclude, be sure to have a management strategy in place. Identify those assets in rank starting with those that are business critical. Apply a regime of testing, measuring and data capture. Monitor, manage and work with trusted and trained people to manage your business critical equipment.

All these measures will help you to reduce the risk to your business. It cannot be underestimated the impact that management can have on engineering risks in a critical environment. And, of course, good management will also help to reduce overall operating costs.

Karsons Consulting can audit your critical environment management and give comprehensive advice on maintenance strategies. We’ll help to explain about business-focused maintenance in a critical environment and deliver results with the emphasis of reducing risk. Please contact us at for more information or enquiries on how we are able to assist with your critical environment.