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Honeywell Now Integrates With eSPACE


FINALLY…we have developed integration with one of the largest providers of HVAC controls – Honeywell.

For as long as I can remember, Honeywell has been the leader in Building Controls. Whether in the commercial or residential arenas, they have been the leader…and the 800 pound gorilla. With that “notoriety” also comes a certain level of inflexibility, bureaucracy, “king of the hill” mind set and a stigma that they do not “play well with others”.

While all of that may be true, Honeywell has started to provide 3rd party integration and API access to a limited number of their devices. This has opened the door for many companies to develop means by which to allow the end user (i.e. YOU) to integrate their controls with other systems…such as eSPACE Event Scheduler (and the 13+ ChMS systems that eSPACE integrates with).

Our team has now developed, tested and released integration with the following Honeywell controls:

LYRIC PLATFORM

  1. T1 Pro
  2. T4 Pro
  3. T6 Pro (Z Wave, Hydronic, Smart)

NOTE:  Honeywell does not have a means by which we can communicate with their API for their “Total Comfort” systems….which is most of their residential stats.

For more information on the above integration or potential other integrations, contact our team and see how eSPACE integrations can increase energy and operational efficiency!



Facility Stewardship Realities Exposed by Data

I realize that many of you know what I mean by a plumb bob. While there are new lasers and other devices available today to assist builders in getting things plumb, there is something fun about knowing how to use a more traditional device. No matter what tools I purchased to add to my toolbox, I still always kept one handy. Gravity never seemed to run out of batteries or need recalibrating. And no matter how bright it was, I could always see where the mark should be.

The same is somewhat true for evaluating how well our facilities and our programs are performing. There are lots of new and exciting programs that are being developed to help us quantify and track things. However, no matter how advanced those things get, it always starts with the same thing…data.

Creating a measurable standard means we must establish what the standard is. For walls, we like to know if they are perfectly plumb (vertical) and level (horizontal). We use the constant of gravity to figure that out. For facilities, we need to see what things cost and how we address things that happen in most facilities. For houses of worship, we also must recognize that our operational tempo can be somewhat unique. Many times, our facilities are used multiple times a week for several diverse types of activities. Taking the standard for a facility that is open two days a week and trying to apply it to a seven day a week operation does not work well, the opposite is true as well.

Why am I talking about this? Well, you may be aware that we are undertaking a church facility specific benchmarking study. For the study to be as accurate as possible we are trying to receive responses from as many houses of worship as we can, across the country. We currently use information from several types of commercial properties, and that does provide a great initial basis. We want to drill down even further and see how all our houses of worship are performing to create an even more impactful benchmark based on facilities that operate in similar manners with similar missions.

We still would like your help. There are over 350,000 houses of worship across the United States. While getting a response from everyone would be difficult, getting several hundred to 1000 responses is attainable. If you would like to participate and help us (if you haven’t already) please click on this link and take the survey. Be prepared to spend about 30 minutes and there are several questions that require knowledge of budget figures. The survey is anonymous, and we do allow for you to provide your contact information at the end if you want to receive an advance copy of the results.

Please consider helping us and sharing this with other churches you may know. The more informed we are, the better we can be the best stewards of what He has entrusted to us. Thank you for your consideration.


Operational Efficiency MUST Include Automation

Over the past 4 years, our team has done numerous Facility Condition Assessments. These are evaluations of a church facility that include:

  1. Fresh Eyes Assessment
  2. Identification of deferred maintenance
  3. Development of a Capital Reserve Plan
  4. Bench-marking of facility operational expenses

As we have analyzed these assessments (which every church should have done) we have identified a significant pattern…and not a good one. What we have seen in every one of the FCA’s we have performed, where the facility has some level of deferred maintenance (which has been all), there are 3 significant budget line items that are underfunded:

  1. General Maintenance Budget – the stuff you need to do to keep up with the natural rate of deterioration and wear/tear.
  2. Facility Staffing – Best practices have been proven that you need 1 full time general maintenance staff member for every 35,000 SF of facilities.
  3. Capital Reserves – these churches have deferred as they did not properly plan for the inevitable costs of capital replacement and renewal.

So…how do we remedy this?  GREAT QUESTION!

The easy answer is increase the budget for each of these. There you have it…case closed. NOT!

Most churches cannot immediately increase their budgets to be in keeping with intentional Facility Stewardship.  This means we need another approach. Consider these:

  1. What if we could make our current staff more effective and efficient?
  2. What if we could free up 10-30% of their time to inspect the facility? I would suggest that this kind of increase would reduce the calculation of the number of full time staff needed.
  3. What if the time they had on-the-job was utilized to perform tasks that only a human can perform?
  4. Perform a periodic walk through, meet with vendors and negotiate the best rates, get on the roof every month?
  5. Verify all the emergency lights are operational.
  6. ETC!

With the introduction of the INTERNET OF THINGS over a decade ago, there are few reasons or excuses to not add automation to the routine and mundane tasks of setting HVAC setting, unlocking doors, setting up digital signage.  What if you could automate those tasks…how much more time would your staff have?

If you have not added FACILITeSPACE to your facility automation…now is the time! *Click below for more information.

Plant Your Tree Before You Need the Shade

Just over 20 years ago, Harvey Mackay wrote a book that shaped much of my thinking and approach to investing in people, situations, business planning and so many other aspects of my personal and professional life.  The book is entitled: “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.”

Later in my career I had a business coach that would tell stories about how we intentionally would treat his cab drivers (this was also about 20 years ago…before Uber…but the same applies), the receptionist at the hotel, the flight attendants, etc.   Why was this important?  He said that beyond human decency and respect for other humans (which should always be the basis even if there is no secondary motives) that you never know when you may need their help.  You may need them to provide a level of service that is more likely to exceed your expectations if you have already built a relationship.

In a recent blog, Seth Godin once again provides a thought provoking and yet practical example of this same tenet of human interactions, acceptable behavior and forward thinking.  See what he said here or below:

  • If you wait until you really want an avocado, the market won’t have any ripe ones. You need to buy them in advance.
  • If you eat an avocado that’s not quite ripe, you won’t enjoy it. AND, you won’t have a chance to enjoy it tomorrow, when it would have been perfect if you had only waited.
  • If you live your life based on instant gratification and little planning, you’ll either never have a good avocado or you’ll pay more than you should to someone else who planned ahead.
  • Buy more avocados than you think you need, because the hassles are always greater than the cost, so you might as well invest.
  • And since you have so many, share them when they’re ripe. What goes around comes around.

All of these truths lead to the real insight, the metaphor that’s just waiting to be lived in all ways: If you get ahead of the cycle, waiting until the first one is ripe and then always replenishing before you need one, you can live an entire life eating ripe avocados. On the other hand, if impatience and poor planning gets you behind the cycle, you’ll be just as likely to waste every one you ever eat.

Plant your tree before you need the shade.

What “trees” do you need to plant today? What kind of long term planning is needed to keep you in the “shade” of your planning (i.e. Capital Reserve planning…just saying).

-Tim


4 Principles of Facility Stewardship

Our team is not only committed to Facility Stewardship…we are fanatics about it.  We even have an eBook on the topic.  We have developed a FREE online community to support the premise. There is no doubt what we stand for!

We have been blessed to have established a lasting relationship with Dr. Thom Rainer and his staff.  We have participated in a number of podcasts where we have discussed topics around facility management, facility care, life cycle planning and right sizing of facilities when you have too much space. I love these opportunities.

Recently, we were recording another podcast discussing how planning is such a critical part of operating a church.  In particular we were discussing worship service and other event planning.  Dr. Rainer asked a compelling question to me that allowed me to articulate a believe we have, but have not done well with communicating.  He asked “Cool Solutions Group is facility and facility stewardship experts, so how does planning fit in that?”

I am SOOO glad he asked.

If you have ever been on our Cool Solutions Group website, you will see a graphic like this:

This has been a foundation belief for as long as we have been in business, and the foundation for our passion of Facility Stewardship. We tend to spend a great deal of time talking about issues related to the SUSTAIN phase (life cycle, capital reserve, maintenance, management, eSPACE Software, system integrations, etc). But that is not the crux of what true Facility Stewardship encompasses.

Here are the 4 Principles of Facility Stewardship:

  1. Properly initial planning, design and construction – If the facility is not planned correctly, design efficiently and built in a professional manner, then we are failing our Facility Stewardship initiative before we even get started….which is why we spend an inordinate amount of time addressing deferred maintenance and other facility “ownership” and operational issues.
  2. Utilization – If you are not going to use the facility to meet your vision and mission, then why have a building? A tent or a rental property would be far less expensive.  Intentional utilization of your facility starts with a focus on meeting your ministry objectives which leads to a need to properly PLAN all activities, utilization, events, worship services, etc. This component of Facility Stewardship is often swept under the rugs. Check out this eBook to help plan events and make sure to check out worshipplanning.com to use the most intentional worship planning and event management system on the market.
  3. Management and Maintenance – ALL facilities require both! Management is the art of planning, managing, being proactive, thinking to the future, vendor management, budgets, etc. Maintenance is the fulfillment of tasks needed to keep the facility operational.
  4. Life Cycle Planning – We have written many blog articles and eBooks on this topic…mainly because the church as a whole does an inadequate job planning ahead for the inevitable costs of capital renewal, replacement and reserves. I don’t need to reiterate what has been written prior.

I hope that clears things up for some.  Facility Stewardship is not just about caring for an existing facility.  All 4 tenets are critical.


Professional vs. Amateur

For the sake simplicity…let’s use the following as definitions of these 2 words:

PROFESSIONAL: A person engaged or qualified in a profession…someone intentional about their craft that is constantly learning and improving.

 AMATEUR: One who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession.

Those are pretty broad…so allow me to add some observances.

As a college student trying to master my craft, trumpet performance, I had a very wise teacher tell me the following:

“Amateurs and professionals both make mistakes. What differentiates them is that a professional does not make the same mistake twice.”

Noted!

Since that time, as I have lead people, organizations, projects and yes, myself, I have seen another stark difference:

Professionals accept responsibility…accept “blame” and rebuke. Learn. Collaborate. Improve.

Amateurs on the other hand make excuses. Shift blame. Avoid responsibility.

It is too common in business, leadership, church, etc. that someone is being “paid” for their profession…which automatically qualifies them to be classified a “professional.” HOWEVER…their actions, deliverables, mindset, etc. is more akin to that of an amateur.

As a final observation, I have found that this differentiation is more  of a mindset in lieu of a compensation or “title” issued (I could go on for days on how titles are meaningless if the role performed is not congruent with the title).

I have seen professionally minded people that were volunteers at church…the difference is not about what you get paid. In fact the more a person is compensated monetarily, there is a likelihood of entitlement and complacency…with is not professional.

As you look at your team, are you filling seats with professionals…or something less?

Be INTENTIONAL. Be PROFESSIONAL.


Is Sunday School Making a Comeback in 2019? Part-2

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In our post last week we left you hanging with questions about the trends we are seeing in Sunday AM education programs, such as:

  • Does it mean that every modern church that has worship space and only enough education for Preschool and Children up to 5th grade are going to rush out and buy Sunday School Curriculum?
  • Does it mean that all churches need to add 50% more space to accommodate what could be an insurgence of Sunday AM education offerings?

I don’t think so.

But I would suggest that we need to take note and keep watch. In talking to several church leaders on this matter, they believe that the 20-40 year old adults in their congregation are looking for more connected community.  They want to be in community with others, and given their time starved work and family weeks, Sunday is the best time to do that.  We have also seen more “large group” education environments suggesting a bent toward higher quality teaching and/or broader community may be desired.

I was able to get some additional input from Dr. Thom Rainer and Dr. Sam Rainer (As I type this, the 1984 song by the Thompson Twins – Doctor! Doctor!, keep playing in my mind…sorry for the rabbit trail)

What does this all mean? Where is Robert Raikes when you need him (Bet most of you don’t know who that is)? Here is some of what they shared.

THOM: Many churches are re-discovering on-campus open groups, what we once called Sunday school. Two primary factors contribute to this comeback: childcare is easily handled, and the participants can get their group and worship experience in one trip.

The challenge, of course, is space. Can a church really justify group/education space that is used only one day a week? Or how does a newer church afford to build such space?

The conundrum.

SAM: We (West Bradenton Baptist Church) will not allow off-campus groups to occur in which children are present. There are far too many stories of bad things happening to kids in off-campus groups. Child safety has always been, and will continue to be, a major problem in off-campus groups. If given the choice, I’d rather spend the money on poorly-used education space than risk something happening to a child.

The way we’ve handled our excess weekly space is to open our church to the community. We have a day school and many different groups that meet onsite during the week. We added doors in our hallways that get locked to protect the day school kids during the week.

Given the current times in our culture/society related to safety and security, the ability to have planned, organized and SAFE child care for these “group” education meetings is not to be taken lightly.  As a church, we are addressing issues that were unthinkable 10-20 years ago.  Child security and safety is clearly on the top of that list.

Here is what I believe…take it or not:

  1. God created us for community and fellowship, regardless if it is Sunday AM, Saturday AM, Thursday night or any other time and in any location.
  2. Discipleship…however you live that out…is a critical part of spiritual development and formation.
  3. Online church is great…I love it…but it cannot put its arm around me to pray with me.
  4. I can “self-learn” a lot…thank you Google.  But God has gifted some to be teachers and preachers…I need to learn from them as well.
  5. What we call it…Sunday AM education…is irrelevant.  What we DO and how it supports the WHY of your church is what really matters.
  6. Things change…it is inevitable.  So we need to always be considering the means and methods of impacting our community, our congregation, as well as those who are NOT “here yet”. This means that what once was…may be again, but for different reasons.
  7. Start with WHY – is one of my favorite books of all times by Simon Sinek. Really look deep into your systems, processes, means and the like to understand WHY you do them.  Avoid the 7 worlds of a dying church – “We have always done it this way.” The reason for doing somethings ebb and flow…come and go…are relevant, irrelevant and relevant again. I firmly believe that the Gospel NEVER CHANGES! But our means and methods MUST church.  That is a topic for another day.

Is Sunday School Making a Comeback in 2019? Part-1

I must admit that I never thought I would write a blog with that title. NEVER. And yet…here I am.

For many years from the late 1990’s to say a year or so ago, the pundits, church “leaders’, seminarians, and most of the church consultants…including yours truly…were convinced that Sunday School was like your “Father’s Oldsmobile”…irrelevant. That is how church used to be done.  That worked good for our parents, but modern culture does not support or embrace it (so we said).

During this time churches all across the country said that the solution was “Small Groups” so scads of churches jumped on the Cell Group, Home Group, Small Group, Covenant Group, etc. model. Then we saw a trend toward calling Sunday School by names such a Grow Groups, Discipleship Group, Community Groups and the like.  They were still basically Sunday Morning educational classes.

When a church called us and said – “We are thinking of building a new building on a new site, how big should we build for?” (and we have been asked this question more times than I can count), we would respond with a question, “Do you have Sunday AM adult education.” That one question could swing the tide of space requirements by at least 50% (increased SF needs) and in some cases even more.  Not just that but the amount of parking required if you have more than one service and even more than one Sunday Adult Education would increase.

I am not ready to say we were wrong over the last 15-20 years…but I have a sense that things are changing (The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change – Heraclitus). Allow me to elaborate.

Our team has developed a master plan process called an Intentional Workshop. The first step in our process is to gather information on attendance trends for that local church. From that data we develop what is referred to as a Program Study. This study looks at current attendance, considers how a church would “like” to do ministry in the future, past trends and a growth factor…usually 100%..with ratios of how many square feet is needed per person per space and function. It is a combination of art and science.

That provides the needed/desired amount of square footage to meet ministry objectives.  That, in turn, is compared to the existing square footage of the campus and the variance is the delta of potential net new space to be added. That is then extrapolated and run through a series of financial calculations and projections to determine a possible cost for the project.  This is then compared to the financial capability of the church.

OK….that is likely too deep in the weeds.  Sorry.

To my point.  We have had numerous clients over the past 24 months that are making us sit up and take note.  Here are the trends we have seen:

  1. All have an active Sunday School/AM Adult Education.
  2. All have educational attendance that is in the 80-90% of the largest AM Worship Service.
  3. Sunday School is embraced by all age groups…and particularly with the families with children.

This fascinates me. What does this mean?  Does it mean that every modern church that has worship space and only enough education for Preschool and Children up to 5th grade are going to rush out and buy Sunday School Curriculum?  Does it mean that all churches need to add 50% more space to accommodate what could be an insurgence of Sunday AM education offerings?

We will continue this conversation next time.

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If you don’t have time to do it right…

Let that quote sink in for a minute…

Ever do a task, and then have to do it again a short time later?

Why? Because you didn’t do it right the first time.

You left it half-done. You didn’t put it away. Or you didn’t give it your full effort.

The difference between doing something and doing it right is usually only a few seconds.

Here are 10 things you should do right the first time according to timemanagementninja.com :

  1. Putting Things Away – Most items take only a few moments to put away. Yet, we leave them out. Do that a few times, and suddenly you have a much bigger mess to clean up.
  2. Finishing a Task to Done – You almost complete a task. You take it to 99% done. But, then you leave it undone. Why?
  3. Cleaning Up – There is a big difference in doing the dishes right after dinner, and doing them the next morning. This simple analogy applies to most clean up jobs.
  4. Throwing Things Away – When in doubt, throw it out. That is a good motto to help prevent clutter buildup. Don’t keep things “just because you might need them again.”
  5. Preparing for a Meeting – How many meetings have you gone to only to discover that the organizer isn’t ready for the meeting? Before a meeting is held, make sure that all preparations are done. This includes the basics like booking a room, distributing materials (in advance!), and setting an agenda. Too many meetings end up creating secondary meetings because the first one wasn’t done right.
  6. Filing Paperwork – Paper continues to be one of the biggest disorganization issues most people face. It piles up so fast it seems like it is multiplying. Yet, if you file that piece of paper when you get, you won’t end up with piles on your desk. It could be as simple as putting it in a file, or scanning it, or throwing it away. Same applies to your email and digital docs.
  7. Addressing Bad Behavior – Don’t let poor behavior go unchecked. Whether it is sub-par performance or simply bad conduct, the longer it continues the more damage it does. Address bad behavior right the first time it happens, and you can avoid a repeat pattern from developing.
  8. Responding to Email – How many times do you open an email only to close it and leave it in your inbox? Don’t fall into this half-done trap. Answer it, file it, or delete. Otherwise, don’t bother reading your email.
  9. Saying No – If you clearly “Say No,” you won’t be forced to continue making up excuses later. Instead, of saying you can’t because of so-and-so, just directly Say No at the start.
  10. Fixing Something that is Broken – How often do you put up with something that doesn’t work? Not only do “broken” items waste time, they can be dangerous when safety is involved. When something is broken… fix it.

I ask Coach Wooden’s question again –

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?

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Going, Going…Gone?: HVAC Replacement 201

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Last week we looked at the Going, Going…Gone?: HVAC Replacement 101

EVALUATING THE EQUIPMENT

Now that you have taken all the preceding into account, how do you evaluate the equipment itself? Obviously, if you can afford it, an evaluation from a mechanical engineer is a great approach.

However, that is not an option for many churches, nor is it always necessary. That is especially true if you have no structural changes and you have common systems in place.

As you look at all the system component data you have gathered, first evaluation point is the age of the unit.

That is not always the primary driver, but it is an important one. It should be weighted with the amount of run-time the unit has annually and if it serves a critical use area. For example, a 20-year-old unit would generally be a prime candidate for replacement. However, if it is still functioning and only serves a couple of classrooms that are scheduled infrequently, that would drop it lower in priority than a 12-year-old unit that runs 5-7 days a week and serves preschool classrooms. The ROI and functional return on operations is much lower on the 20-year-old unit.

The next evaluation point is a visual one.

How does the unit look? Is the paint and informational tags faded and illegible? Are the fins on the coils reminiscent of a braille sign? Is there a great deal of rust and oil marks in and around the unit? Does it look good or not? All of these can indicate a unit that is got some potential issues that are more than skin deep. Roof top units that are severely weathered can indicate that they are either old, or in an area that has environmental conditions that deteriorate mechanical equipment. Either condition increases the need to consider replacement, as well as making sure if you are near salt-water or industrial parks you consider coated coils and other parts specified for harsher environments.

Next, you should consider the type of refrigerant being used.

If it is R-22, make plans sooner rather than later. R-22 is no longer manufactured making the amount remaining very expensive. One suggestion is that if you have several units that utilize R-22 on your campus but cannot change them all out at once…have your HVAC contractor purchase recovery tanks for you, and when they pump down each unit (as you can replace them) store the used R-22 on your campus. Use it for your other units as you limp them along until you can replace them. The cost of a recovery tank is made back the first time you must add a pound of R-22 to one of your older units.

Finally, how is your HVAC controlled?

If it has a proprietary control system that can only be utilized with a specific thermostat or control system, it can be a problem.

If your HVAC company is not an authorized rep of that brand, getting parts or trouble-shooting issues can be problematic. Internal controls in the unit are great, but it should be able to be turned on or off through a readily available communicating thermostat.

When an older unit with proprietary controls starts to fail, it may save you money in the mid and long-term to replace it sooner. A unit that requires advanced controls to operate is a unit that is very inefficient when the controls are not operating correctly.

The preceding is intended to help get you started on the evaluation of your facility equipment. It always starts with data collection; what is it, how old is it, where does it serve, how often? Once you know that, you can start evaluating the rest of the physical conditions.

Trust your instincts, if it does not look right, it probably isn’t. There is a great deal of information on why changing a unit out is beneficial, this hopefully helps you begin to prioritize your investments.