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Mulling over mall maintenance

Malls are high footfall areas. Time is key as they operate with a constant movement of goods and people. The key is to identify these challenges and determine the most efficient and effective ways to overcome them, writes Tirumala Rau K, CEO, KVR Best Property Management Pvt Ltd (KBPMPL).

The client: Located in a prime area of Chandigarh, VR Mohali Mall attracts several customers every day and is a very popular hangout place for locals and visitors. With a total area of 1.05 million sq ft, the area required to be cleaned is over half a million sq ft, ranging from multiple levels of underground parking to seven overground storeys. It takes over 125+ trained soft services personnel with supervisors and 35+ technical staff to keep the premises ready for business.

Equipment used: As part of our ongoing modernisation of integrated services, we use highly advanced machines like ride-on sweeper, ride-on scrubber dryer, walk-behind scrubber dryer, escalator cleaner, single disc machine, Wonder Joe washroom cleaner and vacuum cleaner to list a few.

Soft Services: Challenges and solutions

Controlling attrition: Continuous training and feedback sessions help the team to work together

Making the food court ready by 10 am: Regular feedback from ground staff and analysing previous weeks’ data helps us keep the food court ready on time, every time

Keeping washrooms dry and cool during busy hours:

  • Providing thorough ventilation
  • Using effective cleaning products
  • Consistent cleaning and mopping
  • Regular vacuuming and dusting

Upkeep of staircase: Cleaning of the stairs in malls and food courts should be started by removing dust with the help of a broom or a vacuum cleaner. The best practice is to start from the highest floor and continue downwards at frequent intervals.

Cleaning of parking area: By removing surface dirt and debris, frequent maintenance of floor, necessary repairs like broken tiles, signage and radium signs, growing cracks or potholes. Most important is cleaning all the harmful engine oil patches to avoid accidents.

High level cleaning: Includes the windows, covering, stonework and masonry, gutters, facade and roofs. A highly skilled, technically adept and well-trained staff and equipment is used. Abseil or rope access is arguably the most cost-effective and safest of all techniques.

Spit mark cleaning: We maintain close vigilance on spit offenders and place awareness boards in the vicinity. We use eco-friendly chemicals and natural ingredients to wash these areas, then rub gently with a clean, soft cloth, rinse with clean water, and dry with a soft, clean towel.

Technical services: Challenges and solutions

Energy optimisation: We help improve the bottom line by cutting down on energy consumption in the following ways:

  • Upgrade lighting fixtures from CFL to LED
  • Optimise facility scheduling, install motion sensors wherever possible (especially in food courts)
  • Common area AHU to be cut down during winter season
  • Chiller set point changes during the winter season.
  • Switching off the lifts during non-peak hours.

AMS maintenance and tracking:

  • Implement touchless Attendance Management System (AMS) and ensure employee safety as per Covid safety guidelines.
  • AMS provides access to data from any location.
  • Avoid manual In/Out entries and reduce time.

Diesel Generator (DG) health maintenance: During power failures, we observed that the DG battery charger would breakdown, due to which the DG set would fail to start and no power would be available in the building: We have provided UPS power supply for the DG battery charger and ensured that the charger is provided with uninterrupted power supply to make the DG healthy in all conditions.

HVAC descaling: The descaling of the cooling tower was done once a year, which hampered the performance of the chiller. We are implementing a twice-yearly descaling plan to improve chiller efficiency and help avoid unnecessary energy consumption.

Critical spare inventory to be maintained at the site.

STP water testing: As a standard practice to safeguard the water quality being provided for customer usage, we are planning to do the test once a month.

Lift ARD maintenance: ARD is an Auto Rescue Device that works during breakdown/power down of lifts to ensure employee/guest safety. An on-site technician should check this functionality on a weekly basis.

Escalator sensor maintenance: Many a time, we have observed that this fails to work, causing the escalator to run continuously. By ensuring that the motion sensor is in working condition, we save energy.

Training: We must understand that the personnel in soft services or technical teams face massive workloads throughout the day. Lack of training, loyalty and routine work patterns leads to high stress, which in turn leads to underperformance and attrition.

Our internal teams constantly keep a close watch on the latest trends and organise personality development programmes, and technical training with the latest equipment for all staff members. One-on-one sessions to resolve issues at the individual level, and feedback sessions to resolve misunderstanding and miscommunication between teams are regularly scheduled. Employee welfare and upskilling are an integral part of our business strategy.

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