Compass AFM - Newsletter 17 - August 2017

Knowing Me, Knowing You ... There is a lot we can do!

"Most relationships fail because one person was being 'loved' too much and the other wasn't being 'loved' enough". This is especially true in the relationship between contractors and clients.
No we are not saying they should love each other, however the relationship between both, needs many of the qualities that a couple may develop over time to survive.

So why doesn't the relationship between contractor and client last many years, even decades? The industry average is about 3 years, which benefits neither contractor or client. Why is this?

So what should be done and whose responsibility is it? These are important questions. Let's examine relationships from both the client and contractor perspectives and their similarities.

1. The Client The client is responsible for the functional expression of the project / maintenance requirements, but may not necessarily have the technical competency related to the implementation of the work.

The client's requirements are constrained by...
  • Pre-determined budget
  • Having work completed within timeframe
  • Obtaining best value for money
  • Compliance, Legislation, Certifications and Standards
  • Health & Safety
2. The Contractor The contractor is the person or company hired by the client to carry out the work, under the terms and subject to the deadlines, and quality and cost provisions determined by the latter pursuant to a contract.

The contractor service delivery is constrained by...
  • Completing the works within budget
  • Syncing all clients to work within timeframes
  • Offering best value for money while remaining profitable
  • Compliance with Legislation, Certifications and Standards
  • Health & Safety
Without going in to great detail it is easy to see the goals of both client and contractor are very similar, although viewed from a different perspective.
If you Google, you will find companies with 20 or more year maintenance contracts, so what is the special relationship these companies have developed with their clients?
In the next section we will look at what builds a healthy client / contractor relationship.

Over the years working with numerous contractors and clients, we have found common issues where unintentional harm has been done to relationships. Below are the key areas and the issues that we found. In many cases they are minor, however too often they were never rectified and the contractor and client parted. We have worded them in such as way so that those listed under :The Client" are issues found by the contractor and visa versa. There are most likely many other issues than those listed here. The ones below are to get you thinking...


Initial communication and understanding is vital. Both parties are accountable for communicating any issues that may prevent the works from being carried out to completion. The contractor is a 'guest' on the clients property and their behaviour and attitude should reflect this.
The Client should...

  1. Provide full details of the requirements of the works.
  2. Accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.
  3. Provide open communication with the contractor.
  4. Provide a safe environment for the work to be carried out.
The Contractor should...

  1. If necessary, carry out a survey of the required works to see if they can meet clients requirements.
  2. Provide open communication with the client, especially if difficulties arise.
  3. Accept responsibility for any mistakes, behaviour, attitudes and values of themselves and staff.
  4. Work with the client to protect the environment.


This is the cornerstone of a relationship. It takes a long time to develop and just one incident will ruin it forever. The contractor needs to build a level of trust with the client in all work related matters. And for the contractor to know that that the client will honor all terms of the contract and trust their recommendations.
The Client should...

  1. Be able to trust the contractors recommendations on essential repairs and follow up in a timely manner.
  2. Not award the follow up work elsewhere without giving current contractor opportunity to "win" the work.
  3. Not have a hidden agenda with regard to obtaining quotations or setting out work specifications.
  4. Pay on time assuming all work carried out is acceptable, without imposing additional conditions.
The Contractor should...

  1. Perform the work to client expectations whether on site or working remotely.
  2. Ensure all personel conducting work will be known to the client and have up to-date documentation.
  3. Submit all reports truthfully neither adding nor omitting information.
  4. Advise the client regarding maintenance, repairs, redundancy, new technology, tacking into account the client may not be as technically competent as the contractor.


A relationship cannot be built when one party has no interest, involvement or does not co-operate with the needs of the other. There will be many occasions where decisions need to be made together or compromises agreed on. Where there is dispute, the only satisfactory outcome is a win win for both.
The Client should...

  1. Ensure rules and regulations with a means of solving issues and disputes are fully agreed by both parties.
  2. Eliminate of on-site work delays (i.e. locating keys).
  3. Develop a full channel communication protocol.
  4. Engage in review, incident reduction and technology meetings.
The Contractor should...

  1. Follow agreed timetables and onsite procedures.
  2. Ensure paperwork, reports, invoices and documentation returned without delay.
  3. Address and discuss issues while onsite.


The contractor and client are working towards the same final objective. The fastest, most effective and efficient way to complete the objective is to work together and support the needs of the other.
The Client should...

  1. Make access, staff, etc., available as required.
  2. Arrange works timetable so contractors' do not impede each other on site.
  3. Seek advice when needed.
  4. Communicate appreciation for a job well done.
The Contractor should...

  1. Advise of delays (arrival, parts, etc.).
  2. Offer advice on current works, new technology etc., without waiting to be asked.
  3. Be prepared to work outside the normal timeframe if the client has an urgent requirement.


Lack of honesty is the most common cause for business relationships to break up. There will only be one outcome which will ensure either the client or contractor will be exposed greatly to risk, financial loss, damage to property or even physical harm. If a client and contractor cannot be honest with each other from day one, it would be better for both to end the relationship as soon as possible.
The Client should...

  1. Communicate all requirements exactly as needed.
  2. Be discrete but ensure in the event of the client having financial issues, that they will not impact on the contractor.
  3. Not cut prices so tight just for financial advantage, so as to make it impossible for the contractor to perform as required.
The Contractor should...

  1. Carry out all work as required and immediately communicate any issues that may prevent this.
  2. Not hide excessive markups on purchased materials from the client.
  3. Discretely advise client if they see issues (other than their own), that may negatively impact on the client.


There can be no justification whatsoever for either client or contractor to expose the other to risk especially in relation to health as safety.
The Client should...

  1. Ensure the contractor has safe access to and area in which to work.
  2. Take notice of weather or other conditions that may make it unsafe for the contractor and re-schedule.
  3. Work with the contractor to reduce environmental impact.
The Contractor should...

  1. Act as the eyes of the client and often they will be in areas rarely visited by the client.
  2. Not carry on regardless, just to complete the work in adverse conditions.
  3. Ensure the safety of their own staff, the client and the general public as applicable.
  4. Ensure all waste materials, liquids and gases are disposed of correctly.


Respect is the Key... All the elements above contribute to the client and contractor respecting each other. Developing a long term respectful relationship will have numerous benefits for both parties. You will be surprised how little work it will take to achieve this.

Management Consultants, Compass AFM, provide Energy, Asset Management and Facilities Maintenance Control Solutions. for a wide range of industries including; Retail, Property Management, Facilities, Manufacturing, Education and Government sectors.

Compass AFM realised from the start that customers wanted more than just a "boxed" software package or short term consultancy, they also wanted a means to solve specific operational issues. Our solutions are the key tools for maintaining plant, property and facility assets to the high standards being demanded today.

Our years of experience allows us to develop unique problem solving solutions specific to your company It is this combination that provides our customers with the ability to make better decisions, run operations more efficiently, reduce energy usage and improve their organisations financial performance.

If you would like more information contact us or visit our website on

We would love to talk with you.


Dominic Murnane
Managing Director

Compass Software Technology Ltd.

Head Office: Killarney Road, Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland

Tel: Ireland: 026 23616 / 087 607 6565
      Worldwide: +353 (0) 87 607 6565


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