Dealing with tenant and occupant complaints might be a pain, but if handled correctly, these complaints can be valuable sources of information about building performance. You can’t be everywhere at once; let tenants serve as your eyes and ears. They’ll likely be the first ones to notice a problem in your facility.
By making building adjustments and corrections based upon tenant complaints, the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) Industry Consortium estimates that facilities managers could save more than $2 billion annually.
Here are some of the most common tenant complaints, and ways to address them:
- HVAC complaints (too hot or too cold).
Start by spot checking temperature, humidity, and airflow to make sure it’s within standards to make sure the HVAC system is operating correctly, and that start-up/shutdown times are optimized. Consider conducting a survey of tenants/occupants in the area. If several tenants have the same complaint, adjust thermostat setpoints accordingly and check or readjust diffusers.
- IAQ problems.
Check temperature and relative humidity levels. You might be able to address complaints by adjusting the temperature or relative humidity levels. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, or if odors are associated with the complaint, schedule an IAQ investigation with a third party. Be sure to mention health effects the tenants are experiencing (headaches, sneezing, coughing, etc.). Third-party IAQ consultants can bring unbiased perspectives, which may be helpful to facilities managers and tenants/occupants. If air sampling or mold abatement will occur, let tenants know beforehand. Once the investigation is complete, share the results with tenants and explain the actions you’ll be taking.
- Empty restroom dispensers.
Adjust how often the soap, paper towel, and toilet tissue dispensers are filled. If the number of tenants grows, the type of tenant changes, or tenants are working longer hours, the demand for these products could change. Also compare dispenser sizes to the number of people who use the restroom. Do the dispensers need to be upgraded in terms of size or capacity?
- Pest invasion.
Most experts recommend not using do-it-yourself bug bombers, so consider hiring a professional to look into the problem and recommend a pest management solution. Keep tenants updated, and bring professionals back one week later for a follow-up.
- Unanswered work orders.
Once a work order arrives, acknowledge that you received it (whether it’s an automated response to an online work order, a manual e-mail response, etc.). Follow up to verify the information and see if any new problems have emerged. Based upon the information you gather, provide an estimated response time. If that response time changes after learning more about the problem, let the tenant know.
Do these complaints sound familiar? What complaints do you receive from building tenants and occupants?