Facility Forum - Winter 2017 - 29
By Ian Storey, P.Eng., President, I.B. Storey Inc.
f irmly in
indoor recreation facilities are now in full operation, many operating at peak season
usage. This is a busy time and operations typically depend on their Standard
Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs
may be written procedures but usually
involve a combination of written and
non-written procedures; that is, we combine together some written instruction
with some "this is how we do things"
on-the-job practices. The routine nature
of all of that is something that occurs
daily. Routines fill our days, whether
it's the route we drive to work or the
"window of speedy opportunity" when
arrival to a specific drive-thru will result
in a line-up that's least annoying. We
all do it. When it becomes part of our
everyday routine, we stop thinking and
just do it. Before long (21 days will form
a habit), it's an autopilot thing.
When we add to this routine new
employees/team members, they may
simply try to absorb as much about the
existing SOPs, only asking questions to
clarify for them. Others may ask "why,"
a behaviour we generally and rather
quickly beat out of them. Twenty-one
days later (or less) the question of why
will no longer be asked - even using their
inside voice. And the uniformity continues. But have you, as an experienced recreation operations professional, stopped
recently to ask why?
But what about inheritance? No, not
the taxable capital-gains kind of inheritance, but facility inheritance. Consider
this: does anything about your recreation
facility make you think the designers
or builders had their brains in neutral
when they came up with that part? If
you answered no, maybe your facility
is located beside a unicorn ranch. For
most of us, when we stop to think about
it or consider something that is annoying
us frequently (like long lines at drivethrus when I'm already running late), the
answer is yes definitely. It would be fair
to say this is the situation for the majority
of recreation facilities.
Why does this happen more in recreation facilities than in other types of
buildings? Recreation facilities are a
very unique combination of industrial
processes in a public commercial environment. These conditioning processes,
particularly for aquatics and artificial ice,
operate continuously. The systems operate to maintain specific conditions and
while influenced by participant usage,
operate even when the building is empty.
They are different from other commercial spaces attended by the public such
as office buildings. They are also different from industrial process-driven facilities where production is key and under
continuous improvement in upgrades in
almost all cases.
Recreation facilities are constructed
according to only a couple of different
approaches which involve design teams
FACILITY FORUM | 29