Facility managers field all sorts of complaints, some downright frivolous.
Find your favorites below & add your own!
It's Thanksgiving week so I thought it only appropriate to pull
together some of the Building Operating
Management reader-submitted posts about occupant complaints that had some
tie to thankfulness. Sometimes the tenant complaint resolves itself — an easy
thanks! Sometimes it takes a little nudge. And sometimes, occupants actually
apologize. Now, wouldn't every FM be thankful it THAT happened more often.
"I worked at a very exclusive
destination resort/spa. We hosted celebrities, heads of state, European
royalty and the super wealthy. The buildings and grounds were beautiful
and fashioned after the Palace of Versailles in France. One beautiful
morning, I was viewing the gardens and the scene was magically beautiful.
A light dew covered the plants and flowers, warm rays of sunshine were peeping
over the trees and a warm glow enveloped the gardens. I remember smiling
and even appreciating the beauty of the small, gauze-like, dew covered spider
webs that sparkled in the sunshine on top of a low boxwood hedge. It was
postcard and travel brochure beautiful. A photographer's dream.
Then something happened that showed me how the super-rich live in a different
world. We got a call from the owner’s daughter asking us to go out and remove
all the spider webs from the hedges because she didn’t want spiders in the
gardens. We didn’t. Once the sun rose higher in the sky and the dew
dried, the webs couldn’t be seen. She thanked us for getting rid of them."
Ignorance is Bliss
"Older hospitals are unique.
Two I’ve worked at, one started in 1926 and one in 1944. Each built a new
building, adjoining the first, about every 10 years. The differing
building codes from decade to decade are very evident, along with every brand
of HVAC equipment and every style of control — a recipe for challenging
In the 1926 facility, there are 18 buildings
that look like one from the outside. Medical Records was in the basement
of one of the older buildings with a '2-pipe' HVAC system, meaning it was
heating or cooling only. There
were 30 or so young women stuffed into a dark, dank space surely designed for
maybe a dozen. The manager was a heavy-set, 50ish woman who was always freezing. She would call me down
to check the temperature. It was so bad, two or three of the girls would
stand behind her while we were talking, waving their arms back and forth in an
'X', shaking their heads, and mouthing a silent 'NO.'
It was a pneumatic thermostat, so I would
adjust the dial to make it 'bleed off', an audible release of air, and set it
back where it was. A placebo. Then whisper to one of the girls, 'I put it right back where it was,' and
the girls were happy. We eventually put in a dummy t-stat near the
manager’s desk. It made her very happy, but it wasn’t attached to
anything! It’s a 2-million square-foot facility and I knew of at least a
dozen dummy t-stats like that one around.
Remember The Shinning? Jack Torrance was going to be the caretaker
over the winter months when the hotel was closed. He was told none of the
room thermostats worked. They were just for the placebo effect."
"I was working for a commercial high rise in Chicago. I
was up on a house call for a law firm. When I got up to the floor, a lawyer
came up and started shouting and screaming inane and crude lures. I then said, 'Sir,
you're not going to talk to me like that. If you have a problem or concern,
contact the chief engineer.' And I left. The next day, the same man approached
me in the lobby and said, "I am so sorry. If you ever need legal court
assistance I would be glad to help!" In the long run, it didn't really
negatively or positively affect me. That is just one of my crazy tenant
I wish you all a wonderful and uneventful Thanksgiving. But
in case your building occupants dream up something crazy to complain about over
the holiday, feel free to share by starting your own thread in this forum, or
send me an email at email@example.com.
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