Posted on October 25, 2011 by HSC
Preventive Maintenance is not as sexy as constructing a new building; it’s more like the ongoing care you devote to keep a marriage going. Making something last longer by taking care of it saves money, keeps things valuable and enables you to rest easy knowing that it won’t shut down or spontaneously break up with you…. pun intended. As with relationships, building components start out new and nice to look at, and then over the years they can get a little run down and start to not work as well as they used to. I’m not saying that every building component is going to put on weight and become lazy — but they will start to run themselves down if not given their scheduled tune up and maybe some flowers now and again. There’s something to be said about an old furnace that works day in and day out and doesn’t cost you anything, except your attention.
To avoid the relationship rut between you and your building equipment, here are some easy tips to keep things spicy and working the way they should:
Whether you are coming into a brand new building or a building that has seen better days, the same premise follows: all building systems need attention. For every building system there is a suggested maintenance schedule that is usually provided with the warranty information. If you can’t find the system information because it has been lost in the shuffle, then start fresh today. Bring in the necessary maintenance staff or contractor who will provide a service to maintain the system. Knowing what you know now, start building the relationship between you and your HVAC system, your chiller and your fire alarm system and everything else in your building; you will be surprised what you get back when you nurture your building relationships.
Starting a preventive maintenance plan is the responsible thing to do for you, your tenants and your building. With everything else going on with the building, it is essential that you write down and regularly update the schedules checking off inspections and maintenance completion. This will provide you with a record for your reference. This comes in handy if you are fixing the equipment prematurely or are having a continual problem. This documentation can provide due diligence to have the equipment replaced or fixed at no cost to the building or at the very least it will provide an accurate history. Having all your maintenance records stored in the same place also helps when transitioning a new piece of equipment or even a new staff person. When your records are organized, you’ll be better prepared when training new people coming into your workplace.
To keep everyone happy and healthy, maintaining building systems allows tenants and staff to live and work in a comfortable environment. There is nothing worse than having the heating system not work in the middle of winter. Having hot water to take a shower and heat in the winter are all apart of maintaining the building standards. The tenant’s quality of living is affected by the building systems. When tenants are happy, your life is easier. There are fewer complaints and less maintenance calls. If you start being proactive with a preventive maintenance plan instead of being reactive, than you can better manage your time and keep the tenants smiling and paying rent. You also avoid spending money on costly emergencies when equipment breaks down.
Cultivating a happy, healthy relationship with your building is the right thing to do for you, the tenants and your building. Using these tips will help you control costs better, invest your capital reserves more effectively and avoid unhappy surprises. Remember: if you ignore your building and don’t treat it right, don’t be surprise if something breaks up or down on you the Friday before a long weekend!
Through SHSC Technical Services, housing providers in Ontario have access to services that support their preventive maintenance plans, including:
• General appraisals of your building’s physical condition
• Reviewing and interpreting of Building Condition Audits and Energy Audits
• Arranging new Building Condition Audits and Energy Audits
• Priority setting of capital work
• Establishing capital plans