What key attributes do you need from your car stacker maintenance providers?
Engaging a great service company can be tricky. There can be unforeseen risks you may inadvertently take on when you select your service providers.
Hard working Facility and Strata managers want to save money and meet annual budgets on routine services.
The question is, should you give greater or equal consideration to other criteria when evaluating your service provider, and how do you qualify their ability to fully service your needs?
Identifying your needs
There are obvious needs – you need your service provider to attend site on a routine basis, complete inspections in accordance with manufacturers specifications and Australian Standards, then receive the service report and be informed of any items requiring attention.
Most, if not all, service providers can do just that. But is there more you need? Do you know if your service provider has capable and robust business systems and procedures, communication policies for call outs, quality and safety assurances and the right insurances in place?
It is generally considered that Tier one companies are the most expensive, and second and third tier service providers can offer lower rates, making them highly desirable; but at what cost, insofar as additional risks that you may unknowingly take on?
Understanding these risks and ensuring that you are comfortable with accepting additional risk, is critical.
Car parking systems can be sophisticated plant, with inherent risks of property damage and trapped operators, making it important to engage a trusted and experienced service provider – don’t inadvertently take on additional risks, especially as there is more to consider than just the lowest price.
So, what are some of these unforeseen risks?
Operator Inductions and Record Keeping
Did you know that your car space users must be inducted, and your service provider who completes car parking inductions should be covered by professional indemnity insurance, as they are offering professional advice?
Furthermore, is having an insurance policy enough to close out a risk of a person operating a system incorrectly and hurting themselves or others?
The answer is no – to close out a risk, as far as practicable, it is important to also ensure the service provider has strong documentation in place, which is reviewed on a periodic basis, and kept up to date with any changes to the Australian Standards and Industry best practice.
Does the service report close out the risks associated with the works?
Some reports will merely make a statement that the service was completed on a particular date or imbedded into the invoice. This type of documentation exposes managers to risk on several levels.
A service report is often called upon to provide evidence to the building owners of what has been inspected.
A well-structured report ensures that a clear history and condition of the equipment, the reports and system can be traced back over time and keeps the building manager informed as to what has been serviced, what is wearing, and what may need replacing.
Generally, a report that lacks information may be structured in such a way to hide what is not being done, instead of showing what has been done to maintain equipment.
Does the service provider’s company structure pose any risks?
A well-structured company ensures that there is always a backup for when staff are sick or on leave; their reports and quotations are issued in a timely manner and can sustain a 24/7 business without the business owners suffering burnout.
When you want to speak to your service provider, is the phone being answered in time, both during business hours and after hours?
These may seem like trivial risk factors, until something goes wrong – you need to rely on your service provider to get the job done efficiently, attend service calls, issue reports and quotations, to allow you to close out your tasks.
Safety & Quality polices and verification
Think about what is being supplied and forthcoming when you engage your service providers – do they have adequate and expert staff resources?
Are they providing acceptable Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and are they regularly updated?
Do they have the right insurance, procedures, and registers to record car space inductions?
Do they have satisfactory software to track repairs and maintenance?
Do they have a safety management systems, and other policies and procedures that you require?
Why have a contract?
Many body corporates are happy to work without a contract, but why is it important to have a formal contract in place?
Contracts work both ways – firstly, for the contractor they know that they have a signed document that sets out the costs and the term of when they are required to attend site, and what has been agreed to as far as costs for service attendances and any call outs.
Secondly, the use of a contract shows that the client is looking to build a long-term relationship with the contractor; in turn, the contractor is more inclined to ensure they also work on the relationship and maintain said contract.
For the client, a contract that is in place ensures that they have something in writing of when the contractor will attend site, and the costs for attending clearly outlined.
Should the contractor not hold up their end of the bargain, then the client has a document that they can refer to and hold the contractor accountable. This is especially important should something really go wrong, and an insurance claim be raised.
The insurance company will always look to the contract to see where blame can be laid or apportioned to in the event of something going wrong; by not having a contract in place, a contractor may not necessarily be held liable, and a claim may fall back onto the property’s public liability insurance as a result.
A contract does not have to be for a long term either, with many owners corporations only signing for a single year at a time.
This practice ensures that it is a lot easier to dissolve the contract in the event a client is not happy with services rendered, although this leaves the client open to potential rate increases. Longer term contracts can accordingly see these rates fixed, to avoid higher inflationary risk, as observed recently.
Phone: 1300 77 66 29