What does property maintenance involve?
Property maintenance involves the preservation of a residential or commercial building and its immediate surroundings in prime condition by undertaking specific maintenance activities.
It refers to the different activities that are essential for keeping a building’s maintenance and management functional as well as comfortable for its occupants.
Diligent property maintenance service list may include:
- Cleaning of common areas;
- Responding to tenants maintenance requests and separation (for recycling);
- All mechanical and electrical systems repairs and replacement;
- Safety checks: routine inspections of systems (electrical and mechanical), inspection of fire extinguishers and sprinklers, safety inspections of the property;
- Rodent and insect control;
- Garden upkeep and landscaping.
What is the international property maintenance code?
To eliminate the risk of inadequately maintaining a property, there are a number of regulations that administrators should abide by. The IPMC is the main code of reference.
The International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) specifies the minimum requirements for existing properties and buildings, and as such, serves as a viable and updated property maintenance code. It is renewed every 3 years and is available for adoption by jurisdictions internationally. Ultimately, it sets about minimum standards for maintaining building components like the structure’s exterior, electricals, plumbing, sanitary installations, and fire installations. Each country (or province) may have even stricter requirements and rules.
What remains to be determined is whether maintenance is best done by a third party or kept in-house.
Outsourcing the role of property maintenance to a commercial property maintenance team cannot be taken lightly. However, taking up the challenge of maintaining a property yourselves has a number of pitfalls as well as advantages. What follows is a run-through of some of the aspects needed to be considered before taking such a decision.
Professional Property Maintenance Services
A professional property maintenance company will have the benefit of years of experience.
1) Property Preventative Maintenance Planning and Scheduling
Building maintenance companies will have a system for scheduling the tasks required by the property they maintain.
A professional system should include:
- Maintenance checks and inspections;
- Documentation of tasks performed;
- Making recommendations for improvements;
- Hiring and managing contractors;
- Conserving and improving the condition of the property.
2) Day-to-Day Communication with Tenants and Stakeholders
Part of a professional property maintenance company’s duties will be communicating with your tenants and relaying to you only those issues that require your attention.
3) Compliance and Financial Reporting
The dull administrative aspect of property maintenance is essential for the purpose of clarity and transparency. Well kept accounting logs will keep everyone at ease and guarantee peace of mind. The company will create a maintenance budget for your property, along with providing monthly reports on maintenance expenses.
We looked at the IMPC previously, which is a keystone for property maintenance services companies, but beyond that they are expected to monitor new regulations on your behalf and ensure compliance at all times.
After this brief overview of what a professional property maintenance company can offer its clients, we shall look at how to establish an in-house team.
In-House Maintenance Team
If you choose to have an in-house maintenance team, you will have to take on all the challenges inherent to a property upkeep and maintenance. On top of the actual work, you’ll also have to take direct charge of the staff, checking the quality of their work and general supervision.
The main advantage that emerges from undertaking this task, is having control over the budget. This gives you added leeway and flexibility in managing the financials. Notwithstanding this added level of freedom, any maintenance department will require real planning, and that comes from better insight.
In order to ascertain the size of the team that will be hired, you’ll need to start by listing every maintenance activity needed on the property. It helps determine what types of professionals you need on your team, from cleaners to gardeners, all the way up to specialized technicians.
After that, estimate how many hours each person can work per day. Depending on the size of the property, you may require a manager or staff supervisor, to assist you in the day-to-day delegation of tasks.
Next come the interviews. The crucial stage of the process should be conducted rigorously and even with the aid of a reputable recruitment agency. They will send you only the people who are qualified for the roles you’re recruiting for.
Once your team is up and running, you will need to track property maintenance KPIs, and make changes as required. Ideally, you want all your employees working towards the same goal, but tweaks and changes will most certainly be required along the way. This is where software for property maintenance companies comes in handy.
In addition to what we’ve mentioned above, to guarantee to keep up your property in its best condition:
Prioritize Maintenance Funding
Cutting back on maintenance funding can cause rapid asset deterioration. A list of deferred tasks can get out of hand and lead to safety hazards. Budgeting for Operating Expense and Capital Expense maintenance will help you avoid these pitfalls. As a rule, every dollar spent on maintenance saves the property $5 over the long-term.
Quality Workmanship and Installing Durable Components
To keep your property well maintained, the use of long-lasting replacement parts is advised. If a spare part is of high-quality, consider it an investment in the longevity of your property. Although very durable items may cost a little more at the onset, they help save on future repairs, along with time and money. It almost goes without saying, but make sure to have only the most qualified people do the maintenance, to avoid costly flaws or errors during installation.
CMMS and the Automation of Maintenance Management
For an in-house manager, it can quickly become challenging to keep check of every single task. Consider huge properties where tracking everything manually can lead to wasted time and resources.
A mobile property maintenance software quickly becomes vital, a go-to solution for any property, because it is made-to-measure. A well-designed CMMS will streamline and optimize every aspect of maintenance, handling repetitive administrative tasks. The result of staying on top of things is added safety and reduced maintenance costs in the long-run.
It is essential to conduct FCAs (Facility Condition Assessments) quite regularly, as they help you ascertain the condition of the whole property. Complete data will shine a light on things that need improvement, and assets that would benefit from corrective procedures.
It goes beyond the legal obligation and enters the scope of personal and professional responsibility to keep a property in good condition. With properly thought-out CMMS planning, it should take you a minimum amount of time.
Vital to the ongoing success of the endeavour is that those who maintain your property receive the funding, skills, and tools required for proper execution.