Cost and functionality are always a top consideration when purchasing products or approving specifications from the contractor, but upfront cost and functionality are not the only factors you have to consider. Initial savings may end up costing you money in time and labor down the road.
Healthcare facilities are filled with plumbing fixtures and systems. Much of the maintenance of that equipment and those systems falls to the facility maintenance crew to make sure it’s all up and running properly. What is the impact of that cost of maintenance to your facility?
What happens when you have a sink or a toilet that is not working properly in a patient room? When your maintenance team has to replace or dismantle the entire fixture, you may have to move a patient out of their room for an entire day or more. An empty room has costs associated with it beyond the cost of a new fixture.
How do you avoid these extra costs when specifying products?
1. Choose Products Made With Low Maintenance Materials
When it comes to plumbing fixtures, the materials used to manufacture the product are very important. Choose wisely or you may experience high maintenance costs down the road.
Porcelain toilets are the most replaced item in healthcare facilities. That makes sense considering vitreous china will only hold about 300 pounds. Stainless steel, on the other hand, will hold over 1000 pounds.
Stainless steel doesn’t just hold up to extra weight, it’s virtually indestructible and will thwart destructive attempts by any would-be vandals. You don't have to worry about sacrificing design for function because stainless steel fixtures can be powder coated to match just about any design requirements.
Laminates are another common source of maintenance issues. Polyethylene, unlike laminates, will not warp or crack over time. Polyethylene is also seamless, easier to clean, and it is waterproof. Countertops made with Polyethylene have significantly lower long-term maintenance costs.
2. Choose Products Manufactured for Ease of Maintenance
Occasional maintenance and common repairs should not require your maintenance crew to completely dismantle fixtures. Check to make sure your contractor is specifying products that are quick and easy to maintain.
You want to choose fixtures that come with access panels and trap enclosures that don’t require special tools to open. Your maintenance crew should be able to get in and out in a matter of minutes, not hours.
The location of the panels and enclosures is also important. Those access panels don’t do your facility maintenance team much good if they are located in awkward or hard to reach locations. Situations like this add higher labor costs to even the simplest of repairs or upkeep procedures.
Before signing off on the plumbing fixtures and systems recommended by your contractor, consider the long-term costs associated with those products and systems. Run them by your maintenance department to get their seal of approval on them first.