Feature Article - February 2006
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Special Supplement: A Complete Guide to Aquatic Centers

Just Add Water

By Kelli Anderson


AND THE SURVEY SAYS...

First steps for good maintenance include an effective inspection and evaluation process followed by workload cost tracking to formulate accurate budgeting forecasting for needed upkeep and replacement costs. Gathering information on the condition and status of your aquatic facility involves developing an inspection program that includes input from customers and especially the oft-neglected staff.

Surveys of customers, hourly pool checks, daily walkabouts, and following manufacturer's guidelines for inspections and treatments of the HVAC or filtration systems should be part of the calendar schedule. Resulting information should culminate in an annual evaluation to measure successes and determine which areas need to be addressed or improved.

WORKLOAD COST TRACKING

Once a standard has been determined at which the facility needs to be kept to everyone's satisfaction, costs associated with that standard need to be calculated. Enter workload cost tracking, an invaluable tool no facility manager should be without.

By understanding and putting on paper the costs associated with regular maintenance upkeep as well as eventual larger maintenance costs of repair and replacement, workload cost tracking enables the manager to create a realistic budget that maintains and forecasts for rainy-day eventualities. And remember, maintenance costs need to include man-hours as well as equipment use and supplies in order to develop an all-encompassing maintenance plan.

Another essential component of the proactive approach to maintenance also involves goal-setting. Having goals enables managers to set priorities to know which maintenance needs must be addressed first if push comes to shove. Obviously, safety is the first priority.

CLOSING THE GAPS

Checklists, certified and well-chosen staff, good equipment, and attention to detail are yet more invaluable components of maintenance done right. Good communication to ensure that nothing is falling between the gaps is what makes it all possible.

According to Alison Osinski, Ph.D., owner of Aquatic consulting Services in San Diego, having a point-person to confirm that weekly duties are being performed via checklists and that daily operating procedures are being followed are vital to a good maintenance operation.

Checklists should be used for every job, ranging from housekeeping duties of restroom attendants to hourly water checks. Checklists also should be used for the annual maintenance events that are determined by the monthly walk-throughs and staff meetings.