General building maintenance refers to the process of increasing a building’s utility with regular servicing of commercial appliances, capital assets, and areas within and around the building. Building maintenance is often used interchangeably with property maintenance and industrial maintenance. Responsible commercial facility maintenance contractors follow set workflows to ensure that nothing is left out or missed.
Buildings That Need Maintenance
A general rule of thumb is that all buildings require periodic maintenance. These are a few common facilities that should consider hiring professionals to get the job done:
- Office spaces: Large commercial buildings have HVAC and boiler units that require scheduled maintenance. The likelihood of failure is decreased by correctly maintaining this equipment. It also ensures that all building occupants have comfortable working environments at all times.
- Hospitals: Strict sanitation and safety standards are enforced by OSHA for hospitals. Building maintenance in hospitals has to comply with the set standards. You should consider working with a general building repair and maintenance company that performs preventive maintenance for imaging equipment and other fixed capital assets.
- Educational buildings: Educational institutions, such as schools and universities have several expensive types of equipment that need to be maintained regularly. You would need a set equipment maintenance workflow for ensuring the conditions of these assets are maintained. The facility management office would be responsible for managing the asset lifecycle. HVAC inspections, light and ballast replacements, and emergency repairs for leaks and flooding are part of equipment maintenance as well.
What Is the Objective of Building Maintenance Work?
Building maintenance encompasses all those maintenance activities that are performed inside and outside commercial buildings to keep them presentable, safe, and functional. These are a few primary objectives of building maintenance services:
- Maintenance of equipment: The right commercial facility maintenance contractor will ensure the management of building-specific equipment as well as other general equipment.
- Maintenance of building systems: There are several systems within a building, such as electrical systems, plumbing, fire safety systems, lighting, and elevator systems that need to be periodically maintained for their efficiency and long life.
- Building infrastructure: There are several non-electronic components in a building that need proper maintenance. This includes the windows, doors, door locks, roofing, painting (exterior and interior), and knobs to name a few.
- Exterior space: Pest control, snow removal, landscaping, and grounds maintenance fall under the purview of exterior space maintenance.
Well-thought and planned workflow for general building maintenance can ensure that facility managers complete their tasks within the requisite budget.
Recommended Workflow for Building Maintenance
The majority of business and building owners don’t have the necessary information or knowledge to perform adequate maintenance of infrastructure and equipment on their own. Commercial buildings have different requirements. Employees cannot use the same workflow as they would at their homes.
This is one of the reasons why professional building maintenance contractors create a monthly and daily facility maintenance checklist. In general, ad hoc or larger annual checkups are practiced when key business assets are replaced. You may be able to save on money in the short term by not performing preventative building maintenance. However, this may create havoc in the long run when a serious incident occurs.
There are several aspects to a facility maintenance checklist, such as:
1. Construction works
Masonry work and exterior walls begin wearing out as the days go by. Customers and clients don’t appreciate a business that cannot maintain its facility. This makes it important that visible cracks and other details are checked on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. Building eaves, arches, and canopies need to be inspected carefully before they fall into ruins. Soffit and roofing check-ups need to be performed routinely as well along with inspection of the rest of the exterior.
2. Gates, doors, windows, and other openings
Doors and windows come with varying durability. It is important to keep a lookout for wear and tear and replace them as and when needed. You would need to hire an in-house team to perform these quality services and checks. You can also rely on an outsourced contractor with the right skills. Small components, such as locks, hinges, and handles break faster and prevent proper door functioning.
Facility managers need to take care of lighting before they stop working. This makes bulbs and other lighting components an essential component of building maintenance. Facility managers should not wait for employees and other occupants to raise work requests for services. They should carry out periodical checks as part of the maintenance and management checklist. Additionally, the power supply should also be inspected daily. This must be done during off-business hours when most employees have left for the day.
Plumbing defects are not easily noticeable until they occur. However, you can avoid major issues with the help of a checklist template that contains equipment replacement guidelines. Irrigation system maintenance falls under the purview of plumbing activities as well. You may require additional periodic checks by specialists too.
5. Fire equipment
Checking and maintaining fire safety equipment is a legal requirement. You may not only place your building at risk of fire but also face penalties and fines for not making it part of the building maintenance checklist. Fire extinguishers typically need to be maintained at least once every year depending on the state. Sprinkler systems require periodic preventative maintenance as well.
6. Heating and cooling
HVAC systems are generally the largest investments in any building. They need regular maintenance and cleaning as any other equipment. A breakdown may not affect your profit line, but it may impact staff morale. Comfortable work environments are vital for productivity in any industry.
7. Access controls
In most commercial and industrial facilities, certain elements of the access control system get integrated with other facility components. This can create confusion on how they need to be inspected and maintained. For instance, fire alarms may disable certain access doors while activating the sprinkles.
In the same manner, video cameras can be designed to operate in several modes for safety and monitoring purposes. It is recommended to have these aspects as part of a separate workflow for daily and monthly inspection checklists. This will allow you to avoid missing a vital aspect of building repairs and maintenance.
Sample Checklist for Building Maintenance
This is a sample checklist to perform routine commercial building maintenance. It’s critical to understand that inspection and prompt repairs form a major part of maintenance.
1. Roofing – twice a year and following adverse weather
- Clear debris from roof drains
- Check files, warranties, and contracts related to roofing
- Check for old and new damage
- Inspect the perimeter
- Check roof flashings for wrinkles and tears
- Check roof connections
- Protect against corrosion in metal roofs
- Check for splits in stripping plies for bitumen roofs
- Find leaks by conducting a moisture survey
- Irrigate, weed, and trim a green roof
- Inspect solar panels
- Install roof membrane protection
2. HVAC – twice a year
- Recharge P-traps or U-bend water traps
- Find screw issues
- Hire professionals to inspect boilers and chillers
- Inspect cooling towers
- Check pumps every year
- Clean the condenser coil
- Check energy-efficient settings, including refrigerant and compressor
- Confirm temperatures are between 10 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit
- Clean the economizer for debris and corrosion
- Change air filters whenever necessary
3. Plumbing – full annual inspection
- Lubricate circulation pump and water booster systems
- Inspect for leaks in couplings
- Check boilers and water heaters
- Check contacts
- Check and replace oils and refrigerants
- Look at sewage pumps and sump
- Look for leaks
- Check fixtures in restrooms
4. Lighting – frequent checks (daily or monthly)
- Check control gear, transformers, and other accessories
- Inspect hardware
- Create a re-lamping schedule
- Clean lighting surface
5. Overall long-term checkups
- Check doors and windows
- Use licensed professionals for electrical system checkups (every 3 – 5 years)
- Biannual inspection and cleaning of garage lots
- Check and arrange for access control system maintenance with vendors
6. Exteriors – twice a year
- Look for cracked and broken windows
- Clean building grounds
- Check the condition of parking lots and sidewalks
- Check the condition of the siding and exterior paint
- Check patios and decks for loose railings or rot
Do Buildings Need Maintenance?
Building maintenance is necessary because it ensures the comfort and safety of anyone staying in the building. Proper regular maintenance can contribute to increased property value and save money in the long run. These are two major reasons why buildings need maintenance:
1. Keep employees and occupants safe
Repair work is required in any building. Whether you are the owner or facility manager of stores, factories, or offices, you must keep a well-maintained building. Poorly-maintained facilities can create hazards for those living or working there. Poor air circulation, uneven walkways, and peeling paint can create unsafe working environments.
Building maintenance is necessary for legal compliance with the safety codes of organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). You can prevent major health issues and hazardous working conditions by completing general maintenance work.
2. Save money
Precaution is always more cost-effective than a cure. This is why routine inspection and maintenance save money in the long run. Urgent repairs or replacements tend to be more costly as compared to ongoing maintenance. You can create a budget surrounding the regular upkeep of building systems.
Maintenance service teams with enough experience and a commitment to fixing problems can enhance the overall property value. This is particularly necessary for retail spaces. Property owners can increase their income potential from renting, leasing, and selling the space.
In-house vs. Outsourced Facility Maintenance
It is recommended to take a mid-road approach. Smaller regular repair and maintenance work can be easily carried out by an in-house team as long as they are adequately trained and hold enough experience. It is the facility manager’s responsibility to follow necessary safety standards, such as providing personal protective equipment.
You may need to outsource other maintenance tasks in such instances:
- You need a dedicated vendor for repairing and maintaining specialized equipment
- Maintenance of plumbing and other building systems that only require sporadic attention. These support services are cheaper when managed by an outside contractor.
- Pest control and landscaping are better when outsourced
- Janitorial tasks are routinely outsourced by companies to comply with additional guidelines
You should not take outsourcing of maintenance work for granted. You must keep track of the vendor’s invoices, contact information, schedules, and work history. You should consider investing in an automated workflow management solution.
Do You Need to Centralize and Automate?
You would need to train the average current employee on the use of the services. Several software providers have adequate provisions in place to protect personal data and additional contact data. Facility managers can consider taking up service subscriptions. Make sure to read the terms of this policy before you invest in content from third-party sources.
It is vital to be careful when using free third-party provided materials since they may contain malicious advertising content. You should find a solution that protects general categories of personal data, such as mobile phone information, personal email address, payment processors, and other criteria.
Get the Help You Need from Servi-Tek
Servi-Tek is a comprehensive facility management and maintenance contractor. You don’t need to invest in any other third-party workflow software or hire other contractors. We provide a wide array of comprehensive building maintenance services. Our support team is highly trained in performing their tasks. You can schedule a consultation with us today by calling at 866-454-6185 or using our online form.