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Work this way: service company brings the real world into the classroom.


In a world where virtual reality is part of our daily lives, a leading metropolitan service company is using real world practices to educate its workforce.

Earlier this year, Planned Companies, a janitorial/ maintenance, concierge/ doorman and security services provider since 1898, opened on of New Jersey's first state-of-the-art, hands-on real estate and professional development centers at its corporate headquarters in Parsippany, N.J.

Called the ORACLE facility, the 2,000 s/f center will provide hands-on training to associates working in Planned Companies' divisions. The center was originally designed to include eleven workstations. The company decided, however, to delay the premier of the center to accommodate five additional terminals, to reach a total of 16 physical training modules, plus six computer bays for video and computer-based training.

"Planned's priority is the professional development of its associates and thus raising the bar on the level of customer service we provide to our clients," said Robert Francis, LEED AP and president of Planned Companies.

"As this center has come together, Planned has continued to think about how we can make it even better and how to use the space and our resources to their educational capacity. Our thought is, 'If we're going to do this, let's do it right.' Thus these additions became necessary, in our view, to best serve our associates and clients."

The new workstations now under construction, encompass:

* Cooling Tower: A miniaturized version of a high-rise building's cooling tower will allow associates to study this heat-rejection device, which extracts waste heat and delivers it to the atmosphere through a cooling water stream.

* Plumbing: Associates will get first-hand looks at commonly used water and fire-suppression piping.

* Trash Chute: An operational trash chute like those commonly found in high-rise buildings will give Planned associates a glimpse of the kinds of maintenance they require.

* Asphalt: Asphalt in various states of completion will illustrate maintenance plans for extending the lives of roads, driveways and parking garages.

* Concrete: The stages of life in concrete will educate Planned associates about preventative maintenance.

* Computer Stations: Computer- and video-based training will offer additional training on such facility management considerations as pest control, building inspections and janitorial and maintenance operations. This station will also feature, training on the company's proprietary management: software, WentworthConnect and will offer access; to the previously announced web-based School of Professional Development.


Planned's original lineup of hands-on facilities already includes:

* Pool Maintenance: A sample filtration system and cut-away of pool construction explains underground and interior systems of pool maintenance. This station also includes essential safety items and pool chemical monitoring equipment.

* Irrigation: Piping, backflow preventers and sprinkler heads illustrate the underground operations of sprinkler systems. This station also includes a landscape-maintenance timeline and guidance on turf management, trees and shrubs, seasonal flowers and weed control.

* Signage: Various sign styles and designs within a residential community can both beautify and provide safety information.

* Concierge Desk: A full-scale, working model showcases standards of operation, including Planned Companies' proprietary communication software, Connect Plus; a security monitoring system; fire panel; smoke detector; intercom system; and Planned's state-of-the-art package-tracking system.

* Guard House: Another walk-in model illustrates Planned's security software, cameras and breakaway gate. their respective properties.

"We know that environmental leadership adds value to both the bottom line and to reputation. For decades, IREM has been at the forefront of property management," said IREM webinar coordinator Jennifer Jones, CPM.

"Now we are taking the lead in educating NYC property managers so they can easily and readily be prepared to meet the legislative requirements as set forth by the City. These webinars allow us to provide the necessary instruction and information conveniently and at no charge to property managers."

New laws passed in New York City as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan require public and private buildings in NYC to track energy consumption using EPA's Portfolio Manager. Residential buildings must benchmark annually starting May 1, 2011 and performance metrics reported by the owner to the City will be published by the City on a publicly available online database starting in 2013.

The residential session will be taught in context with NYC legislation. Presenters will cover topics such as creating a user account; identifying data requirements; managing and sharing information; establishing an energy use intensity indicator; benefits of improved energy performance and additional tools and resources.

Multifamily Benchmarking with EPA's Portfolio Manager will be held on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm.

On the commercial side, private buildings more than 50,000 s/f will be required to benchmark annually starting May 1, 2011 and performance metrics reported by the owner to the City will be published by the City on a publicly available online database starting in 2012.

Participants in the commercial session will learn how to use EPA's energy performance rating system within Portfolio Manager to benchmark the energy performance of office space; they will learn how to collect and input relevant energy consumption data and how to interpret the Energy Performance Rating used to compare energy performance against a national building stock and within their own portfolio and how top performers can apply for the prestigious ENERGY STAR label.

Commercial Real Estate Benchmarking with EPA's Portfolio Manager will be held on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm.

Both webinars are being offered at no charge and are open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Visit for more information or to pre-register.
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Comment:Work this way: service company brings the real world into the classroom.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 26, 2010
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