THE technical services which Jardine Technical Services (JTS) offer are provided by about 500 mechanics divided into several teams. They provide routine and emergency maintenance for everything from large equipment installed in some of Hong Kong's prime office buildings to individual air-conditioners in apartments. Not all air-conditioning in Hong Kong is the standard type. This puts a greater work load on the staff. Ice-storage systems, which produce ice to chill water which is then circulated to chill the air, is popular in many countries because it spreads the load by generating and storing ice at night when electricity costs are lower. Although used in the Heng Fa Chuen shopping centre and by China Light and Power (CLP), JTS senior service manager Yu Hing-wai said that, despite interest from several companies, the system had not caught on in Hong Kong because of high installation costs. Several JTS senior mechanics are specially trained to service this system. Most are capable of servicing window or split-type air-conditioners in apartments but the large electro-mechanical type installed in major buildings requires mechanics to receive special training. Excluding residential sites, JTS has more than 1,000 locations where staff carry out maintenance. Maintenance of residential air-conditioning units will only involve one mechanic but teams of up to four people may be needed on larger equipment, depending on the work load. Contracts vary, with those for utilities, chain stores and residential buildings requiring provision of a 24-hour emergency service and others requiring mechanics to be on standby during office hours only. Apart from apprentices, who always need to be accompanied, 80 per cent of the staff can work independently and are liable to be called out at all hours. As well as emergency work out of normal working hours, some routine maintenance will always be undertaken after midnight, so teams of night workers are always necessary. A few of the contracts offer a variation on routine work. Maintenance at the gas turbine standby power station at Penny Bay on Lantau involves a boat trip from Tsing Yi and mechanics sent to service the small number of window-type air-conditioners at a CLP microwave station on one of Hong Kong's peaks are transported there and back by helicopter. Mr Yu said that ISO procedure manuals were based on the format previously used. The only changes that affected the staff were the need to calibrate testing equipment, which did not cause any problem, and the recording of all maintenance activities, which took longer to absorb because it was a procedural change. 'Most of our staff have been in the business for some time,' Mr Yu said. 'Some of our mechanics have been with us for 20 years and they are used to working in their own way or in Jardine's way. 'The need to document everything thoroughly means they have to change their way of operating and it is often difficult for experienced staff and foremen to adapt. 'We had to convey the message to our front-line staff by training and briefing sessions and subsequently monitoring their work.' The mechanics found it easy because they simply followed the instructions on the form but it was more difficult for supervisors who, for 20 years, had been used to the old form. Everything was now running smoothly.