If you regard warehouses as a store of considerable wealth, some of which will inevitably be leaked, then you will feel obliged to ensure your facilities management is top line and not skimped. The stored wealth faces many threats, including risks from accidents, thieves and arsonists, pest ingress, neglected floors endangering both pedestrians and truck drivers, soiled goods from contaminated air, inadequate and unduly costly heating and humidity problems.

To combat these then due attention must be paid to the weapons at facilities management’s disposal. Fire is probably every warehouse manager’s worst nightmare and it is estimated that about half of all such fires are maliciously caused. Another quarter are of an electrical nature. This highlights the need for robust security systems like CCTV scanning within and outside of premises because staff theft can be a big problem in some notorious postcode areas. Alarms linked directly to local police stations are better than just alarms that may not be responded to quickly. Yard lighting should also be up to the mark.

Less serious, though potentially still costly, are the other pestiferous, uninvited guests like rodents, insects and birds, especially unwelcome in food and pharma warehouses. Fortunately, in the war against rodents pest technology has moved with the times. Mitie, for example, offers a more targeted approach than the conventional pest control methods that adopt the blanket approach of laying down pesticides all over a premises. This can be inefficient and environmentally harmful, partly because excessive pesticidal application raises the contamination threat to stored goods. What the Mitie approach does is to monitor and pre-empt patterns so that rodenticide use can be targeted if required. Its paperless IT-based system improves reporting methods and increases the percentage of effectiveness. Its eMitter system registers when a rodent is trapped and sends an immediate alert with the precise location to a web-based system with real-time data.

Birds can be a more intractable pest problem but even here new technology, combined with natural means, can be useful. Falconers and marksmen are sometimes brought in but on their own the approach has mixed results. It has been known for bird lovers to complain about shot feral pigeons, and falcons to take a long time eating their prey. Bogus falcons on a tether fluttering in the wind above roof areas can be nonchalantly ignored by pigeons. Now, however, anti-bird methods can be improved when combined with drones.

Floor cleaning and repair are often neglected, which can have serious implications not only for hygiene reasons but also safety. To make light work of the issue, however, there is a range of pedestrian and ride-on scrubber/drier/sweepers to suit all kinds of premises and which can be hired. Free, on-site advice is available from leading cleaning technology companies like Karcher.

Good facilities management must also be able to cope with emergencies and unexpected fluctuations in demand for their stored products, such as fire damage and seasonal peaks. This means that they should be acquainted with the various types of temporary warehouse structures, from the cheapest and quickest to erect, like air domes, through to framesupported fabric structures, and the most permanent, prefabricated buildings. They come in all sizes, are relocatable and available on hire, and although called temporary they can last up to 20 years or more. But they all come with their pros and cons and so to help in the choice Spaciotempo offers a free guide about the need for groundworks or planning consent and provides a string of key issues to look for when comparing quotations. Aganto, specialists in the semi-permanent, solid structural buildings, is keen to point out that its buildings can be assembled within 3-4 days, with a lead time for getting the building from factory to site of typically 2-3 weeks