Building maintenance issues can have a lot of unexpected problems, and with them come unexpected costs. Here is our advice on how to keep those costs low without cutting corners.
Is it smart to cut costs on maintenance?
Of course, the answer is not so simple. One on level, cutting costs on maintenance will only lead to more expensive repairs in the future. It’s become much more common for building owners to wait until the last minute to perform maintenance. Rather than nipping a problem in the bud, they will wait for that particular thing to fail, and repair it once it is no longer working. This may seem like a way to save money, as repeated repairs add up, and keeping something in good working order requires regular attention. However, only repairing something after it has failed is actually the most expensive way to perform maintenance. For example, if a construction contractor needs to completely replace water piping after it has corroded to the point of failure, it is much more expensive than performing piecemeal reinforcement. Here’s a whole list of costs that will increase if you cut corners on maintenance.
So what should commercial property owners do? What are the ways to cut costs on commercial property maintenance? Here’s a breakdown in broad strokes:
- Educate non-maintenance staff/personnel.
- Follow safe work practices.
- Review present maintenance procedures and simplify them.
- Make time to deal with unplanned maintenance/repairs that will come up.
- Create a schedule to deal with planned and preventative maintenance.
- Make sure you have the right tools/expertise on hand.
Educate non-maintenance staff
Even if someone’s job isn’t repairs and/or maintenance, they can learn to look for signs of fatigue and wear. Educate people on how to look for signs of water damage in walls, unusual sounds from the HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) systems. Let them know how to look for signs of machinery failure and structural fatigue. There are some obvious signs that bigger problems are on the way, and you don’t need to be a professional commercial contractor to know what’s going on.
Follow safe work practices
Ensure that your workers have access to the right PPE (personal protective equipment) and safety gear. Also make sure that you have some clear and understood SOPs (safe operating procedures) for checking for things that need repairs. Not only will the PPE keep people safe, but the SOPs will also ensure that they know how to check things without putting themselves in danger. This can save a ton of money down the road as you will avoid costly lawsuits and bodily harm. Additionally, your staff will be better equipped and more confident in assessing future repairs and maintenance.
Simplify existing maintenance instructions
Simply put, things change with time. New technologies arrive and make our lives easier…so use them. For example, if one maintenance procedure involves taking a temperature reading from a furnace or boiler, a remote device constantly reporting the temperature can do this more cheaply and effectively. You will also be able to clear the schedule of a maintenance person who would normally have that job. Simplifying existing instructions and using new technologies to your advantage will result in a better knowledge of what parts of your building needs attention. You will also be able to perform necessary maintenance more efficiently.
Make time in your schedule for planned AND unplanned maintenance and repairs
Expect the unexpected. Part of being a commercial construction contractor is knowing that no building project will go exactly as planned. This doesn’t magically stop once the building is complete. Make some time each year – or at least every few years – to give your building a once-over. Take a look at what needs repairs immediately and what looks like it needs attention to keep performing well into the future. One of the best times to do this is during low-business times. You can’t plan for unexpected repairs, but you can search for them and fix them when they interfere the least with your day-to-day affairs.
On the other side of the same coin, make sure you have your regular maintenance planned out too. For example, if you live in a seasonal area, and you know your driveway will be in bad shape up after a cold winter, make sure you have some time planned in the spring for pavement repair.
Make sure you have the right tools for the job
If you want to get your maintenance done efficiently, quickly, and cost-effectively, it helps to actually have the tools you need to get the job done. Keep some tools and materials close at hand so your staff can quickly grab them when a problem arises. Not only will this result in fixing your building faster, but your tenants, clients, and staff will be happier as problems will get fixed sooner rather than later. For example, if your building is located under old growth trees, keep some ladders and gutter cleaning tools on hand so you can clean off the roof at a moment’s notice. Having tools to quickly deal with a problem will also result in smaller problems going away, rather than becoming bigger ones.