Physical Plant Overview

Philadelphia University’s Physical Plant Department consists of coordinated teams of skilled professionals that work around the clock to support the department’s mission of customer satisfaction and facilities stewardship.  This Overview is intended to provide our customers with an explanation of how these services are managed and integrated.

The University’s Plant managers and engineers are active members of APPA which provides leadership in educational facilities.  We use this relationship to help establish guidelines for our operation, share our ideas with fellow institutions, understand state-of-the art concepts, and to benchmark our effectiveness.  

Our Plant organization is actually a hybrid of University employees, as well as contracted services. It can best be explained as a three-leafed plant or a version of a “Shamrock Organization” as described by management consultant and author Charles Handy:

The main leaf and core stem of the Plant are a concise team of over two dozen direct employed University staff, managers, and professional engineers.

The second leaf of the Plant consists of contracted managers and employees that have a certain specialty and are here on campus on a daily or routine basis. Housekeeping, grounds, and portions of our HVAC are handled in this manner. Other specialty contractors include elevator maintenance, pest controls, and licensed fire detection certification firms, etc.

The third leaf of the Plant primarily comes into use for construction and project related activities where large workforces of skilled employees or trades are needed for an intermittent time, as well as for emergencies. Project related contractors are pre-qualified and then the work is bid by invitation.  For emergencies the University maintains Memo’s of Understanding or MOU contracts with several contractors for quick response when needed as recommended by FEMA practices.

For ease of operation and single point of contact the 2nd and third leaves of the plant are managed by the first. From a customer standpoint this relationship is intended to be seamless. Please refer to our organizational chart for a more thorough understanding of the specific responsibilities of each individual within the department.

Our multi-craft maintenance technician teams are organized by campus location or “zone”. This “zone maintenance” approach allows for coordinated response and “employee ownership” of the facilities as well the familiarity with the actual customers.

The Plant completes over 12,000 work orders per year. All of our staff can be reached by radio through our Plant office and Central Dispatch. In order to plan and schedule effectively, work orders that take more than an hour or so are assigned to the multi-craft zone maintenance teams, while shorter assignments and emergency repairs are assigned to RAM techs. RAM techs are multi-skilled individuals that are assigned mobile carts for quick response and work around the clock to handle our Right Away Maintenance needs.

From a customer standpoint anyone on campus can submit a request for anything that needs a normal repair through our menu driven  i-service web based TMA work order system. Normal repairs generally are completed within a week’s time or sooner. By using the web-based work order system customers receive automatic updates and the customer tracking feature for any of their own open work orders.

Emergency repairs may be called in to Just Notify Physical Plant: (215) 951-JNPP or X5677. Central Dispatch at X2999 can be called during evening shifts to contact our on-site RAM-techs directly. Our other web pages give more details.

Send e-mail to Physical Plant: plant@PhilaU.edu