HVAC maintenance programme cuts emergencies in half

There are two schools of thought when it comes to plant maintenance: do as little as possible and run to fail, then replace, or carry out a scheduled maintenance programme and avoid unexpected and costly breakdowns and emergency call outs.

Protagonists of the latter school of thought the SFI Group - HVAC maintenance specialists for more than 10 years, have proved that planned maintenance is the way to go with contracts in place with most of the leading property owners and developers across the country.

A case in point is the HVAC maintenance contract at Stellenbosch University where 1,800 reactive calls in 2014 were reduced to 900 in 2015 – a reduction of 50% in just one year, and the target is a further 30% reduction by the end of the year. During the same period, emergency calls were reduced from 50% to less than 20%.

400,000m2 site with 38 buildings

“We took over major HVAC maintenance operations at the University in April 2014 which comprise a 400,000m2 site of 38 different buildings, multiple plant rooms, more than 50 pumps and many different types of HVAC equipment, some recent and some dating back to 1975” explained SFI Group’s HVAC Site Supervisor Paul Arendse, an HVAC ‘veteran’ with more than 17 years’ experience in all forms of air conditioning systems.

“Some of the plant had maintenance history but for most there was none so we set about implementing a maintenance scenario of auditing and identifying each and every piece of HVAC plant and equipment including controllers, pumps, valves, chillers - in fact every component on the site that makes up a complete HVAC system.

“This exercise took us three months with a dedicated team of eight technicians and operators and six assistants logging every piece of equipment. “Historical data not only aids maintenance but provides vital accurate information for life cycle costing and capex budgeting” explained Paul.