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Planning for 10 years of campus maintenance and operations

Workplace Culture, Facilities Management and Development

By Alp Amasya, director of maintenance and operations on how his team is taking a holistic look at our facilities to plan for the long-term.

Alp Amasya.

As director of maintenance and operations for the university, my role is to support Ryerson’s facilities across over four million square feet of campus. To ensure the campus runs smoothly, I work alongside a dedicated team of 55 employees, made up of skilled tradespeople from all different disciplines, with expertise in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, locksmithing, general maintenance and painting.

Planning for continued growth and maintenance

As the university has grown exponentially (both physically and in terms of the number of people using our facilities each day), it has also continued to age. In order to plan for successful operations, we’re taking a holistic look at our facilities and how we serve our community.

We’re looking not only at how we serve our community now, but how we can put a plan in place for the next ten years. In 2018, we hired KPMG to do an assessment of all of our facilities-related critical assets. From this, they were able to develop a prioritized list of projects we can do to keep our buildings maintained properly over time.

The two biggest challenges we face in an ongoing way are maintaining temperature across campus and our elevators:

  • Temperature control: The engineering behind our campus cooling is impressive and complex. We know that controlling temperatures on campus is a challenge, especially during the summer when heat can spike for periods of time. To aid with this, we’re adding two new chillers to our HVAC system for additional capacity. We’ve also developed a plan to replace heating systems in certain buildings, starting with the oldest ones.
  • Elevators: We are working with our elevator service provider to develop an elevator service improvement plan, recognizing that in many cases we have old elevators with obsolete parts. Over the next year, we'll focus on the oldest elevators and spaces where there is only a single elevator to improve service.  At the same time, we’re continuing to maintain existing elevators, upgrading door controllers and assessing what else needs to be done until a replacement plan is fully in place. Learn more about how we’re planning to address ongoing elevator issues on campus.

While it’s easy to summarize these two projects above, completing the work is certainly not simple. Both projects require extensive planning and budgeting. While the KPMG asset plan helps us plan for and request budget requirements, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a 10-year plan.

Improving service levels and inviting your feedback

Alp Amasya.Recognizing that a 10-year plan is a long-term plan, we’re also working to improve the day-to-day service our team provides to the campus.

Each of these changes have been implemented carefully to make us more responsive to the Ryerson community and allow us to better support the university’s work. Maintenance and Operations staff provide a mix of on-demand and planned service, responding to the requests that are received by the FMD Help Desk and performing routine maintenance on our critical systems.

Over the past year, we’ve completely reorganized how we manage incoming requests, implementing a triage system that allows us to prioritize the most urgent requests. In doing so, we’ve reduced our response time and also our backlog of work order requests by 50%, doing more work with the same number of people. I’m sincerely appreciative and impressed with the work our dedicated Maintenance and Operations team have been doing to make this happen.

Our next step is to move towards a paperless work order system which means that:

  • The manual process of picking up and returning paper copies of work requests for our tradespeople is removed.
  • We can generate automatic email updates for the service requestor.
  • We can better monitor all active requests and their status.

In addition to these improvements, the new online system includes a built-in feedback function so we can hear directly from you about your experience working with us.

Our campus has grown, and we expect it to continue to. Now that we’ve spent some time developing a long-term plan of action for the maintenance of our campus, I’m looking forward to the year ahead as we start implementing the plan and seeing improvements on services we provide to the Ryerson community.