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Winter is coming. Is your office building ready?

winter office building

Winter is coming. Is your office building ready?

It may still feel mild outside, but living in the Northeast there is no doubt that winter is, indeed, coming. That makes this the perfect time of year to make sure your office building is ready for the colder months – and the usage changes, temperature drops, and potentially damaging weather events that come with it.

“A few routine maintenance steps now can help prevent costly problems this winter,” advises Dave Eck, maintenance manager with The Anderson Group. “Winter can bring everything from burst pipes and leaking roofs to heating problems and slippery sidewalks and parking lots.”

Here are some of the most important maintenance areas to add to your office building’s winterization checklist:

Heating system

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that in the U.S. alone, buildings account for 39% of total energy use, 68% of total electricity consumption and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. And as a facility owner, it likely represents one of your largest expenses. Tuning up and optimizing your HVAC system is a good first step. Inspect, clean and repair your furnace and boilers, and change your air filters.

Leaks

Find and seal leaks that could let warm air out or cold air in. This may mean applying caulk or weather stripping around doors and windows or installing storm doors and windows. Also, if your building uses gas heat, be sure to check gas lines and connections for leaks and corrosion.

Roof

The flat roofs typical of most commercial buildings need regular maintenance during snowy winter months. Conduct a weekly inspection and clearing of your roof throughout the winter, keeping an eye out for pooling water and ice or snow buildup. Built-up precipitation and melting snow and ice can lead to costly leaks and affect your roof’s structural integrity.

Gutters

Make sure all roofs and gutters are clean and free of leaves and other debris that could clog them. Remember, pooling water from rain, sleet and snow can build up and cause water leakage inside your building.

Parking lots, sidewalks and yards

Clear leaves, sticks, branches, and other debris from the yard, landscaping, walkways, and common areas outside your building. Before storms and after clearing snow, use deicers on exterior walkways and parking lots to prevent ice from forming and to keep people safe from slip-and-fall accidents.

Technology and Data

Protect data and equipment from costly power outages due to winter weather. Consider backing up your files via cloud-based storage, which secures your data daily and eliminates the risk of data loss when a severe storm hits. In addition, test your back-up system and make sure computers and sensitive electrical equipment are connected to surge protectors.

Sprinkler Systems

Test your sprinkler systems and make sure they are protected from cold air so your pipes don’t freeze. A frozen sprinkler system is an unusable sprinkler system.

Winterizing your office building may seem like a never-ending list of chores, but investing the time and money now can save you a bundle of time and money in the long run.

“Preparation is key to lessening or eliminating the impact of extreme and routine winter conditions on your facility,” Eck says. “Experience has shown that it’s more than worth the time and effort you put into it.”


 

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business in great shape. For information about commercial property management services or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

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How Do You Take Care of a Spotted Zebra? Ask The Anderson Group Property Management Co.

The Spotted Zebra wanted to run its center not worry about property management.

The Spotted Zebra Learning Center is a state-of-the-art, year-round, preschool program designed to prepare children of all abilities for kindergarten and the state’s high learning standards. The learning center and its programs, formerly located on Kross Keys Drive in Albany, became so popular that they simply ran out of room. So executive director, Sheri Townsend, began the search for a larger facility.

property management

Back: Jane Schulke, bookkeeper; Jason Ford, activities coordinator; Matthew Ryan, director of programs
Front: Sheri Townsend, executive director; Shannon Harmon, director of special education programs

In 2013, the organization found one, purchasing the building at 26 Computer Drive, just off of Wolf Road. In doing so, the learning center increased its usable space from 4,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet.

“Our new building is three times the size of our old one,” Townsend says. “It gives us an opportunity to grow our services and meet our families’ and community’s needs.”

She says their old space was near a very busy road. The new space, however, has a yard for children to play in and is located on a dead end that abuts a quiet, residential neighborhood. Townsend says she likes that their location on Computer Drive makes the facility more centrally located to major highways. The Spotted Zebra draws students from around the Capital Region, from a 25-mile radius throughout the Capital Region.

And although The Spotted Zebra owns their building, they turn to The Anderson Group to manage it. The Anderson Group provides The Spotted Zebra with everything from housekeeping services and grounds maintenance to HVAC, electrical and plumbing services.

“We shopped around when we were searching for a property management company. As an agency, we need to follow the three-bid rule,” Townsend explains. “We put out a request for proposals. The Anderson Group’s proposal was the most comprehensive, and all of their client feedback was positive.”

As property managers, Townsend says The Anderson Group goes above and beyond.

“The Anderson Group is responsive morning, noon and night. Whenever I send an email or text, they respond immediately. Whenever we have an emergency issue, they are here very quickly,” Townsend says. “They are very meticulous. We are never left un-served.”


For more information about The Spotted Zebra Learning Center, visit their website or call (518) 438-4800. For more information about The Anderson Group’s property management services, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

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Office space leaser, beware: How well do you know your commercial landlord?

office space landlordIf you’ve ever leased office space, you know how important your background is to a prospective landlord. They often want to know your income, credit score, and the contact information of several people who can vouch for you.

But did you ever think to turn the tables on a prospective landlord? When you’re entering into a commercial lease, it’s a good idea to spend some time researching the person or company from whom you’ll be renting, because their reputation should be every bit as important to you as yours is to them.

What you should know

Here are some basics you’ll want to know about your commercial landlord or property manager before your business moves in.

  • Who is the landlord?

It may seem like an obvious question, but it’s one that shouldn’t go unasked. Who is the individual (or who are the individuals) behind the name? Are they local or are they “managing” your property from afar? Will you be dealing with a bank, an large corporation, or an actual person? And will they, or a representative, be immediately accessible in the event of an emergency? Doing a little digging on who – and where – your landlord is can save you a lot of hassle down the line.

  • How does your landlord rate on office maintenance and repair?

This question applies to proactive and reactive maintenance and repair work. As you walk through the property, you should take notes. Does the landlord keep systems and machinery in good working order? Are the parking lots well maintained and well lit? Is the interior clean, attractive and odor free? A landlord that takes pride in his or her office buildings preserves their value, builds stronger landlord-tenant relations, and ultimately adds credibility to your business.

  • How does your landlord stand in the community?

Good news may travel fast, but bad news travels faster. That’s why it’s good to know what others think and say about your prospective landlord. Does the landlord have a reputation for being fair and honest with his/her commercial tenants? Do they attract the kinds of businesses you want to be associated with? Are they active in professional organizations, charities and volunteer efforts in your community? Their involvement in and contribution to your community shows they care about making it better and stronger for those who work in it.

How you can find out about your prospective landlord

There are many ways to get the skinny on commercial landlords and property managers. Here are a few of the easiest and least expensive.

  • Contact local business organizations

Check with your local chamber of commerce and your regional Better Business Bureau and see if there have been any problems with or complaints against your prospective landlord.

  • Conduct a good “old-fashioned” Google search

If you haven’t already, fire up the computer and do an online search on your prospective landlord and your prospective new office address. Look for articles, reviews and ratings on the property or owner. Whether they’re good or bad, they’re sure to tell you an awful lot.

  • Interview current tenants

Before you sign a lease, interview the experts – that is, your prospective landlord’s current tenants. Let them know you’re considering space in the building, and ask them questions about repairs, parking, rent, fees, and responsiveness. Existing corporate tenants might have sage advice to offer you before you make a decision.

Good landlords not only won’t mind that you’re doing a little pre-deal fact checking, they’ll expect you to do a little pre-deal fact checking.

“We have a fairly comprehensive sit-down with all of our prospective tenants. It’s as much about them learning all about us as it is us learning all about them,” says Andy Anderson, partner at The Anderson Group. “We encourage questions and we will gladly help facilitate conversations with new and longstanding tenants. Reputable commercial landlords and property management companies have nothing to hide.”


The Anderson Group helps keep your small business running. For information about The Anderson Group or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

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Going up? Why elevator maintenance is important in your office building.

You’re in a hurry, and the elevator is slow. So you do what any normal person in a rush would do: You punch the up button repeatedly, hoping it will speed up the process. In your heart of hearts, you know it does nothing. But it sure feels good.

In the big scheme of first-world work problems, slow or out-of-order elevators rank pretty high. After all, time is money, and for better or for worse, today’s workforce expects instant gratification.elevator maintenance

So what’s a tenant to expect, and what’s a building owner to do? Routine maintenance and constant assessment.

“A healthy elevator system is critical to the safety and productivity of a building’s tenants, whether it’s a commercial building or a residential building,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager at The Anderson Group. “We are vigilant about checking elevator function in our office buildings, and we know that sometimes the only option is full replacement of a system. It’s a big investment, but well worth it in terms of safety, efficiency, and peace of mind.”

The Anatomy of an Elevator

Like the human body, an elevator has hundreds of parts that must be maintained to prevent excessive wear and breakdown. Failure to do so can negatively impact everything from elevator response time and door operation to lighting, alarms and intercoms.

Although only properly trained and licensed elevator technicians should perform maintenance and tests on elevator equipment, good property managers and owners should periodically ride building elevators and compare their functions with manufacturer’s specifications to evaluate their performance. This is important not only to ensure tenant safety and satisfaction, but also because an elevator is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a building—at initial purchase and throughout the elevator’s lifespan.

Elevator Care and Maintenance

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you own or lease a building with elevators:

  1. Plan ahead. Elevator maintenance is governed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which requires facilities to have a written maintenance control program for its elevator systems. The point? To help ensure that building owners and managers create a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it to avoid preventable accidents. Check with your building owner and make sure he or she has a plan in place. If you own a building, be sure to get your plan in place before you need it.
  1. Be proactive. When you inspect and service your elevators on an ongoing basis, you run less risk of breakdowns and tenant complaints. Moving into an office building with elevators? Ask your property manager or landlord how old your elevators are and how often they are inspected. If you can, ask other building tenants how they’d rate the building’s elevator service and maintenance. Out-of-service elevators inconvenience tenants. Proactive maintenance can increase tenant satisfaction and extend the lifespan of your investment.
  1. Hire qualified contractors. Elevator repair is among the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry. Make sure that anyone and everyone servicing your elevators is educated and licensed in elevator repair. Having trouble finding certified elevator technicians in your area? The National Association of Elevator Contractors can help you find reliable elevator contractors in your area.
  1. Know the signs. Many building owners and managers don’t know or recognize the symptoms of an aging or malfunctioning elevator system early enough to avoid disruptive and expensive issues. Some issues are obvious, such as elevator downtime, increased service calls, and slow operation chief among them. Other issues, such as inefficient/high energy use, inconsistent power quality, and overheating, aren’t so obvious. And remember: Even well maintained elevators eventually need to be updated or replaced.
  1. Listen to your tenants. If you own or manage a building with an elevator, there’s one foolproof way to know if something is wrong with it: Your tenants will complain. And then their customers will complain. And when a poorly maintained elevator impacts their bottom line, it will impact yours, as well. Take tenant complaints seriously, and contact your contractor if you see, hear, or feel anything suspicious outside of your regular maintenance schedule. A service call is always cheaper than an accident.

Extending Your Elevator’s Useful Life

Elevators are standard in nearly every office building in the United States, and unless they’re malfunctioning, the millions of people who use them every day don’t give them a thought. Building owners and managers can help keep it that way—and save the headache and expense of repeat service calls or accidents—by establishing and executing a care and maintenance plan that doesn’t just address problems as they happen, but keeps things running smoothly between checkups.


The Anderson Group helps keep your small business running. For information about available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

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Office Temperature Check: Keeping your office cool when it’s hot outside.

office temperatureHere in upstate New York, temperatures and humidity levels can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next. This summer has already been a case in point—a heat wave one week and temps in the 60s the next.

Office temperatures have a powerful impact on employee productivity and performance. Researchers from Cornell University found that employees committed 44% more errors when office temperatures were cold than when they were warm

So what’s the best way to keep cool—or at least stay comfortable—those 8+ hours a day you’re at work? Start knowing this: You can’t please everyone. While one employee fans herself with a piece of paper, another is reaching for a sweater. Here are five quick and easy tips for keeping your employees happy and your office comfortable when temperatures flare.

  1. Layer up.

Hot? Cold? Be prepared either way by wearing layers. If you’re a business owner, consider implementing a casual dress code during the summer months so employees can leave the suits and ties at home in favor of lighter options.

  1. Stay hydrated.

“The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” says Dr. Irvin Sulapas, sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University. When you’re dehydrated, you can become sleepy, irritable and confused. Dehydration can even lead to headaches and dizziness. Provide an office water cooler and encourage employees to use it by giving them company water bottles.

  1. Tune up and turn on.

Open windows and air conditioning don’t mix. In fact, it’s a combo that can wreak havoc on your employee comfort and your energy bill. Keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside by properly maintaining your air conditioning unit from coil to filter. This small measure helps ensure your AC unit runs efficiently and effectively throughout the summer months.

  1. Switch off and cool down.

We can sum this one up in one word: unplug. Unused and obsolete office machinery not only increases your energy bill, but also increases your office temperature. Unplug unused equipment and ask employees to turn off computers when they leave for the night. (Sleep mode still uses energy and contributes to office warming.)

  1. Use high-efficiency lighting.

Incandescent bulbs radiate heat and add to your bottom line during peak energy usage months. When you switch to high-efficiency lighting, such as LEDs, you’ll use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent. In addition, high-efficiency lights last as much as 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

As summer kicks into high gear, you might also consider getting an office energy audit—an expert assessment of how much energy your office consumes and measures you can take to make it more energy efficient.

“An energy audit is a good first step in making your office more comfortable, not just in the summer months, but all year long,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager for The Anderson Group. “When employers implement audit recommendations, they often see lower utility bills and more comfortable and productive employees during months with extreme temperatures in either direction.”

 


 

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business in great shape. For information about energy efficiency or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

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