FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The heat in your building has gone out, and each time you try to call the Directorate of Public Works, you get a busy signal.

Well, no more. DPW introduced last week a quicker and more efficient way to submit maintenance and service work orders online.

"We were hearing from our customers that the phone lines were busy a lot of the time," said Eric Cope, Directorate of Public Works, Business Division chief. "And that isn't good customer service."
Non-emergency service orders can now be placed by visiting the DPW website at

"Submitting work orders online also provides a record that there was a submission," Cope said. "It also provides a standardization that ensures we have all the information we need."

Non-emergency work orders include routine facility repair and maintenance items, as well as washer and dryer repair, pest extermination and maintenance of chemical toilets.

"The old way of submitting work orders was to pick up the phone and say my toilet is clogged. The problem is that we only had two people to answer the phone, and if that line was busy, you just waited," Cope said.

First Lt. Michael Plouffe, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, used the online system recently to report two sets of broken washers and dryers.

"It was as easy as it can get," Plouffe said. "It was much better than having to call in and wait."
In order to submit DPW work orders online, users must have access to Sharepoint on their computers.

"We tried very hard to make this simple, but people have to read the instructions," Cope said. "It's not hard and it is spelled out, but you have to read the instructions."

A full list of detailed instructions, including illustrations, is found on the DPW website.
For emergency work orders, DPW has created a new phone number - JOB-EMER or 562-3637. Emergency work orders include gas, oil or steam leaks; flooding in a building; no hot water in a medical or dining facility; loss of heat in cold weather; sewage backing up; downed power lines and electrical problems that pose a risk.

"JOB-EMER is a branding technique for people to remember in case of an emergency. It has a 562 prefix, which is a new prefix on Fort Jackson and we were one of the first to get it," Cope said. "We think of our JOB-EMER line as the DPW equivalent of 911. That means we are not going to wake someone up in the middle of the night over a broken washing machine."

Emergency work orders receive a response within one hour. Non-emergency work orders are broken down into two categories: routine and urgent. DPW customers can expect up to a five-day wait for urgent requests and 30 days for routine requests.

The current service order phone line, 751-7684, is still available during normal business hours to accept non-emergency requests.

"We hope that people will exclusively use our online method instead of calling in. Calling in doesn't help to get work done faster," Cope said. "We still have a limited number of tradesmen to do the work."

DPW responds to about 2,000 non-emergency work orders monthly and roughly 100 emergency work orders each month.