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New zone maintenance model fosters efficiency, shared resources

Dec. 10, 2007
By George Mauzy

In an effort to improve its zone maintenance operation, Ohio University recently adopted a new service model and hopes to have it fully implemented by the start of winter quarter. 

The new model consists of three centrally located area zone shops that service a specific sector of the Athens campus. In each shop, 10 to 12 zone maintenance specialists will provide building maintenance services, including routine repairs, with support from the university's central trade shops for carpentry, electrical, painting, carpet and tile installation, plumbing, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

In the previous operating model, one specialist was responsible for either a single building or small group of buildings, and that person rarely worked outside the assigned area or had backup.

"Our old model was not typical, because zone maintenance is usually a team effort in higher education," said Executive Director of Facilities Management Harry Wyatt. "This will be a better model for us because we can better distribute the workload, cover all the buildings and, overall, match available resources with the job we have to do." 

Ohio University based its decision in part on recommendations from a peer review it commissioned with APPA, an international membership organization of professionals responsible for educational facilities. The APPA review is based on industry best practices. 

APPA's report concluded that the university's previous zone maintenance model was an "expensive luxury" that would be difficult to maintain. 

"I like the new model because it eases the workload on the trade shops, which allows them to focus on more long-term special projects," said Greg Coen, assistant director of maintenance and operations for zone maintenance in Facilities Management. 

It also affords flexibility.

"This new model allows zone specialists to cover for each other more easily than the old model and makes it easier to hold meetings, share resources and foster teamwork," said Mick Harris, director of maintenance and operations in Facilities Management. 

Customers should not see any difference in service delivery, but procedures have changed. Instead of contacting the zone staff directly, customers are encouraged to go to the Facilities Management Web site and submit a work request for nonemergency tasks. 

Departments also will be asked to provide valid account numbers for any billable work that is outside the scope of zone maintenance. For maintenance emergencies, customers should call the Facilities Management Customer Service Desk at 740-593-2911 and a maintenance technician will be dispatched to the job as soon as possible.

The three new area zone shops are Central, located in the Central Classroom building; West/Satellite in the Convocation Center; and Southeast in Nelson Hall. 

Harris said Facilities Management will host several open forums during winter quarter to provide information and answer questions that people may have about the new service model. The system will be fully operational by the beginning of January.

For more information about Facilities Management, visit www.facilities.ohiou.edu/fm/ or call 740-593-2911.

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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