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Drips, Drops and Drains

The ConnexFM2024 National Conference will feature a DEMO Lab session highlighting repairs for common plumbing problems. 

By Jason Henninger

While conferences and live events are great for networking, training and education are significant  benefits for multi-site FM attendees. The ConnexFM2024 National Conference will continue to provide DEMO Labs as part of the educational program. After years of absence, the live demonstrations returned to ConnexFM events last year. These DEMO Labs offer live interactive demonstrations, providing attendees the opportunity to touch, feel, see and understand the critical components of a facilities ecosystem.

Every day, facilities managers manage a wide variety of repair and maintenance work, and without a hands-on understanding of the tasks involved, the challenge becomes even more difficult — not to mention expensive. After all, how can you tell if you’re getting what you paid for or if you’re being taken advantage of if you don’t know what you’re looking at?

With DEMO Labs, complicated work is broken down step by step, with FMs in attendance walking away with a clearer picture of what’s involved. This sort of direct, live demonstration is rare for FMs, and ConnexFM’s experts are excited to share their knowledge.


Meet the Presenter

Charles O'Hara, MaintenX
Charles O'Hara, MaintenX

One such expert is Charles O’Hara, Sales Executive at MaintenX. MaintenX has offered HVAC, plumbing, roofing and other services for over 40 years and is one of the largest companies in the multi-site repair and maintenance field.

O'Hara will be leading a DEMO Lab presentation with plumbing journeyman Ismael Rios that centers on common plumbing issues. O'Hara has attended DEMO Labs in the past and valued the experience. “I’m very pleased to help ConnexFM with the education session and demonstration at the upcoming National Conference,” he said. “Our goal from this demo is to give people — all the FMs and executives who are in attendance — a good background on how the repairs are performed, the time it takes and the materials required to successfully fix the problem.”

O'Hara said there is a lot of value for FMs in seeing solutions to real-life issues presented live. Since educational presentations at the conference show the very same repairs and scenarios they will face on the job, FMs can gain a practical understanding of the work done by the contractors they hire. The presentations “provide an understanding and a level of empathy that, in my opinion, allows the facilities manager to do their job better,” he said. “Once you understand what it takes to do a repair — the tools, access, difficulty, how much time it takes — it allows you to better communicate with your service provider.”


A Clear Perspective

The MaintenX presentation will begin with O'Hara and his team showing how to repair some of the most common repairs for commercial toilets. These include broken wax rings, broken flanges, cracked or leaking tanks and faulty flush valves. The second portion of the presentation will focus on preventative maintenance of pipes and toilets. “We’re going to show a high-speed chain snake machine that’s used to remove minor blockages,” O'Hara said. “And then we’re going to show you how to use a K-60 cable machine and scope on major blockages.” The MaintenX team is working on a model featuring clear pipes so the audience can see exactly what is being done. They’ll also be using a large screen to show a variety of clogs and blockages that can be discovered with a scope.

“Let’s say you have a clog that’s five feet underneath the toilet. We’ll be able to show that in these clear pipes and how the snake goes into the pipe and clears the clog. We are excited to do this because it will allow the audience to really understand how these tools work,” he said.

O'Hara feels the presentation could be of particular value to FMs who are new to the job. If, for example, a new FM has a plumbing job they contract out, when the work is completed, they’ll get an invoice describing the work. But that invoice is of greater value if the FM has a practical understanding of what the job entailed. “Knowing what that repair is and understanding the materials and the labor time it takes to perform that repair allows the FM to review that invoice” and make informed decisions on how to proceed, O'Hara said.

Along with plumbing, other DEMO Labs at the ConnexFM2024 National Conference include security glass film, HVAC and artificial intelligence. Attendees won’t want to miss any of these incredible live demonstrations this April!

Learn more about the DEMO Labs at the ConnexFM2024 National Conference.

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