Airconditioning System in Government Buildings

On Monday morning at our international airport, my better half and I went to get two baggage trolleys - there were only two left - and we found out why there were these two left. There was something wrong with the braking system with both and we had great difficulty pushing the trolleys towards the check in area. These trolleys are relatively new. The older ones have been kept aside and you can see them stacked under Gate 7 and Gate 8 whenever you dine at the Airport's restaurant. I have been told that these 'older ones' are much better than the new ones but are not used because they needed maintenance work. However money is available to buy new ones but not available to repair old ones, so that's why you can find new trolleys at the airport and older ones being kept aside. This is one of those things which we in government seemed to be pretty good at. Though I noticed the airport had finally managed to get its aircond in working order.

I was at my uncle's the night before at the Beribi VIP housing. We were talking about his aircond bill which even though free but up to a point and he still has to pay the excess amount. He told me that his bill came to about $2,000+ a month. He said this is a complete waste of money as the official house he is staying in is fitted with a central aircond system and this was fitted more than 20 years ago. Even though there is only him and my auntie staying there, the entire house including the empty bedrooms are airconditioned. It was only last month after more than a year there that he managed to change the aircond system to one that has separate units. His bill came down dramatically from a four figure to a low three figure.

There are many government buildings where the central aircond has many problems. Fixing them are costing a lot of money. Even though the beneficiaries are the aircond service companies, the eternal problems that some of these buildings have with their aircond system makes me wonder whether we ought to abandon the central aircond system in any government building.

I also read BB yesterday about its "hot news" during the long drawn out trial of Brunei's ex-development minister and a contractor both accused of corruption. The hot air was due to the court's air conditioning problems. According to BB, the court's technicians informed them that the cooling tower had gone bust whereas some months ago it was the compressor. The whole article read like a comedy of errors with court interpreters not available and one that was dozed off. But of course the main issue was the aircond system packing up in the courts.

There are many nagging aircond problems like these throughout the government departments and government owned buildings. The buildings are nice to look at and nice to work in. But when there are intermittent problems like air-conditioning failures, the heat can be very unbearable. I don't know whether we have a serious problem with airconditioning systems or maintenance or have no idea how to take care of them or as some would like to argue, the finance people didn't give them the money.


Anonymous said…
good idea Mr BR!

if separate units means saving in the longer term, lets convert then (after cost benefit analysis ofcourse)... besides, the central aircond is already a sunk cost.

the bad thing about central aircond is that its either very cold or not cold enough at the workplace...
Anonymous said…
Sometimes the problems that lie ahead are just in front of us but it's just that only the few know where it precisely lies with.

If I can understand what you are hinting at, yes the government should go back to where the problems stem from. Maybe it's the technical problems after all but when it becomes irritatingly chronic, there must be something wrong with the system. Not the technical systems but the system by which the insiders work. Don't just think only the poor countries are corrupt. We can easily lose sight of the real problems and blinded by scapegoats especially when the excuse seems just as convincing.
Anonymous said…
The worst real-life first hand great examples when it comes to 'cool' talk about air-conditioning system are RIPAS or JPMC or Health Centres or clinics all over Brunei. They all worked alright but too cold for comfort, most of the times. BR would agree with me since I know RIPAS or JPMC are his favourite haunts:)
Anonymous said…
"Management actions are responsible for 85% of all problems"
By W.E. Deming.

That really says it all....

What about the comedic "Quality Circles" or the "KKK" that was once the rage of all government offices. It only ended up as a competition between who is the best. Another one from Deming:

(Deming on Quality Circles) "That's all window dressing. That's not fundamental. That's not getting at change and the transformation that must take place. Sure we have to solve problems. Certainly stamp out the fire. Stamp out the fire and get nowhere. Stamp out the fires puts us back to where we were in the first place. Taking action on the basis of results without theory of knowledge, without theory of variation, without knowledge about a system. Anything goes wrong, do something about it, overreacting; acting without knowledge, the effect is to make things worse. With the best of intentions and best efforts, managing by results is, in effect, exactly the same, as Dr. Myron Tribus put it, while driving your automobile, keeping your eye on the rear view mirror, what would happen? And that's what management by results is, keeping your eye on results."

That really describes our government! I've seen one at its worst when I was in Nigeria. They didn't have an understanding of what 'maintainence' means. The old capital about 5 years ago was Lagos, but it became so rundown that they built another one in Abuja. Oh did I mention that it's an Islamic country run by corrupt officials who practise nepotism at all levels?

So what does "Quality" has to do with airconds? Well if you integrate quality as part of your business management, airconditioning problems should be a thing in the past. Internal quality audits should have picked this problem a long time ago. It's ironic that the DCA does not employ quality audits on their business when they themselves enforce Quality Management system to RBA as a legal requirement. Even if they do, it's time to replace the Quality manager with someone competent.

Enough for the day. I hope no one is offended, if so, then go back to your little coconut shell and stay there!

Anonymous said…
Nigeria is not an islamic country you MORON...I thought u said u visited it
Sebastian said…
It's the governments' soul responsibility. what would be the country's achievements would also reflect to the one who handled it. That air conditioning units which is damaged and not repaired or replaced is a sign that the government is not responsible enough.
Spencer said…
he first thing to do when getting ready to run an air conditioner on an inverter is to get all of the specifications for the AC unit. The most important spec that you will need is the LRA rating. What this stands for is locked rotor amps.

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