Although everything involved in facility management plays an important role in a retailer’s focus on maintaining brand image, paint is often one of the most critical components.
For this reason, Chris Murphy, Business Development Director for Harrison Contracting, recommends periodic washing and touch up of surfaces as part of an ongoing proactive maintenance program.
“The typical life span of accent colors and coatings is four to five years when left untouched,” Murphy said. “An annual program to wash and touch up painted areas can extend the lifespan to seven-plus years or even past 10 years,” he added. Developing an image maintenance program saves the retailer money over the life of the asset.
Reactive work in the painting industry is usually driven from a need to correct an image problem. Graffiti, faded walls, drive-in damage, or issues caused from storm damage or remodeling are all unexpected situations. “The other side of reactive painting is when maintenance has been deferred,” Murphy said. “At this point, there are typically very large expenses in removing failed coatings, addressing moisture damage, or using specialty products to address damage caused by neglect.”
“Painting contractors prefer well-planned, scheduled maintenance programs,” Murphy said. “These types of programs allow us to train staff on brand-specific expectations, schemes and other details that vary from client to client,” he said. “However, reactive is a very important part of the business, and we have created a team of technicians who just ‘get it’ when we have to go out on a moment’s notice and fix a painting issue.”
When asked to identify the top considerations when selecting a paint or painting supplier, Murphy recommends that retailers begin by discussing the paint specifications for the project. “Reputable painting contractors can ensure that what has been specified actually meets your needs,” he said.
Five key questions every FM should be able to answer when selecting a paint or painting contractor are:
1. How long do you want the repaint to last?
How often will you consider remodeling your buildings? Will you have a maintenance package for cleaning to take advantage of the longer lifespan products?
2. Does the project require a specialty product?
There are specialty products designed for coastal areas, high UV exposure areas, and other common issues some properties may face. Ask the supplier to explain why a specialty product is beneficial.
3. Is this specification developed for this project or is it a hand-me-down?
New construction departments all too often pass on the specs to maintenance departments, which lead to overpriced programs and improper product selection. Elastomeric is a great example, Murphy pointed out. “While it is a good product for certain conditions, it will cause major issues if applied to an older building that may already have problems. Be clear about the specifications.”
4. Is the supplier fully qualified and knowledgeable?
“Choose someone who can answer questions about paint specifications, best products to use and processes that ensure a quality job with as little impact to store employees and customers as possible. Be sure you are comfortable with their level of expertise and professionalism,” he said. “Don’t trust your image to someone who doesn’t know their trade.”
5. Can the contractor provide references?
“If your contractor cannot provide a list of references who are thoroughly pleased with their work, there will be plenty out there who can,” Murphy said. “Ask for references and CHECK those references. Every supplier has strengths and weaknesses you should know about before making a selection.”
By: Sheryl S. Jackson