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Forums sparking change for the good

Thursday 16 November 2017 10:20pm

The first round of Property Services' Here and Now forums has been very successful.

A host of changes have flowed from the first round of Here and Now forums the Property Services Division has held with other divisions to hear about issues, let the other divisions know what it is doing, and discover what it is doing well.

Job requests

Because the online job request system sparked some of the most frequent comments, the:

  • Character limit to describe a request has increased from 250 to 2000
  • Person lodging the request can now also supply the contact details of the person who actually wants the work done
  • System now sends out a notification when the request is marked as being complete.

University of Otago Property Services Division Director Barry MacKay says that facility managers are already focusing more tightly on updating departments about the progress of projects.

The next step is getting the online request system to send people progress reports about their job requests.


Progress - Barry-small-image
Barry MacKay.

Staff are also concentrating more on ensuring people know when work:

  • Is going to start in their area
  • Will be noisy, and ensuring that work is adjusted to suit activities in the area as often as possible
  • Is going to finish

People can now look online to find out what work is going on around campus as well, he says.

A new link on Property Services’ home web page – called ‘Work Notifications” – lists work scheduled or under way, on everything from new cycle lanes being created on State Highway One and piles being installed for the new Faculty of Dentistry building to annual fire alarm testing and a power outage to replace a switchboard.

The link leads to a choice of maps, with Dunedin as the default option under the heading “location” and the other campuses showing up when work is being done there.

Grey grid blocks on each map show work that affects the entire block, and coloured teardrops highlight work affecting a particular building. Clicking on the teardrops or the grey provides:

  • A heading summarising the work
  • The list of buildings which could be affected by the work
  • The time-frame for the work
  • A description of the work
  • The person to contact about the work – including email address and phone number/s

Property Services is still also sending emails to the administrators of buildings that will be affected by any work before that work starts.

Ghost workers

Because people want to know if Property Services has popped in and done some work while they were out, staff are leaving behind brightly coloured work progress cards in a prominent place to advise the:

  • Name of staff member who did the work
  • Date and time they visited
  • Request number
  • Description of the work completed

If the work has not been finished for any reason, staff add that reason to the card, Mr MacKay says.

Lift dilemma

While people wanted the American accent on the recorded message in the Richardson Building lifts changed, that would cost $3500 to change and Property Services has higher priorities for spending that money.

Good vibes

Property Services has received good feedback from people at the forums and enjoyed the opportunity to meet customers face-to-face and learn more from them.

More held

Mr MacKay says Property Services will hold the Here and Now forums every six months, and the second round has just been completed.

The forums are for Pro-Vice-Chancellors, Divisional Managers, Heads of Departments, Departmental Managers, Departmental Administrators and Technicians.

Mr MacKay hope they “will take the opportunity to come and talk to us”.