Property maintenance services can get costly. A program to reduce maintenance costs is not easily engineered, implemented, or maintained.
It requires the cooperation of all persons involved in the management of the property–from the resident manager or superintendent to the maintenance crew.
There is a definite need for both long-range and short-range planning techniques to control rising property maintenance services costs.
Emergency planning should be included in any maintenance plan, unanticipated emergencies are more costly if not responded to in an orderly, preplanned fashion.
Property Maintenance Services – Designing The Program
Software programs are particularly effective in designing a preventive maintenance program.
Once the pertinent data is entered, reports can be generated on a regular basis to enable the manager to schedule repairs and to track their completion.
There are five basic steps in designing a preventive maintenance program to fit the needs of a particular building.
- Prepare an inventory of equipment and building.
- Determine necessary maintenance tasks.
- Calculate the cost.
- Schedule the tasks.
- Keep records.
Inventory. Make a complete inventory of all equipment that may have to be maintained.
Determine necessary maintenance tasks. The manager and the maintenance superintendent must decide what type of inspections and preventive maintenance tasks should be performed and how frequently.
Structural items such as walls and roofs should be scheduled for inspection, painting, and patching.
Equipment such as elevators, air-conditioning, heating plants, pumps, and motors also should be regularly inspected and serviced.
Spare parts should be kept on hand to replace broken or worn machine parts. The exterior and interior of the building should be checked periodically.
Some areas need to be checked daily, whereas others can be examined less frequently.
Calculate costs. Once the tasks have been determined, the manager must then calculate how much time, labor, and money the preventive maintenance program will require. The final figures must be realistic in terms of both the budget and the amount of work involved.
Schedule tasks. Because these tasks vary in frequency–weekly, bimonthly, or seasonally–a full year’s schedule is easily determined in many software programs.
Once scheduled, the manager can easily issue work orders and verify work completion. While all the areas must be checked on a regular basis, time must be set aside to complete unplanned emergency work.
Keep records. A complete set of such records will ensure systematic preventive maintenance, minimize interruptions in property maintenance services and tenant services, and save the owner money.
Click Here to download the form that we use to track preventive maintenance of certain elements of the heating and cooling system in a large regional shopping center.
The resident manager or building superintendent should submit daily and weekly inspection reports to the property manager that are also entered into the maintenance history reports.
A well designed and implemented preventive maintenance program may not show significant results or savings for six months to a year. However, it will ultimately pay off in terms of increased efficiency and economy of operations.
Property Maintenance Services – Control Plans
Control techniques ensure an ongoing, cost-efficient maintenance program. Cost-reduction opportunities should be identified and ranked according to their ability to generate savings.
Procedures for initiating work orders, timekeeping, control of materials, work scheduling, and control reporting then can be reassessed in light of new data gathered during the cost-reduction analyses.
Short-term plans. Redecorating, landscaping, and supplying stocks offer short-range opportunities to exercise cost control. Careful planning in these areas will result in a small but immediate reduction in expenses.
Bulk purchasing of supplies, also known as volume buying, is one of the most effective cost-control tools available to the manager. In some cases, it has increased the margin of profit on a property by as much as 3.5 percent.
In order to buy in large lots, the manager must have storage space for at least a six-month supply of goods.
An accurate inventory system enables the manager to identify items that are used infrequently or that have a short shelf life. These supplies should not be purchased in bulk, but rather as needed.
Security measures must be instituted to protect valuable stock from theft. One company solved the problem of expensive central control by maintaining small stocks of frequently used items at the offices of resident managers.
Another way to deter theft is to purchase liquid supplies in drums and issue only the amounts needed for a pending job.
Another system is known in other industries as “just-in-time” inventory–that is, ordering just what is needed, when it is needed. The success of JIT inventory depends on reliable and quick resupply.
The cost of frequent inventories, supervision of issue, and other security measures necessary with large stocks has to be measured against the higher cost of smaller purchases. Computer software can simplify these tasks.
Long-term plans. The first step in long-term cost-control planning is to identify opportunities to save on operational expenses and property maintenance services.
The property manager should study the functional alternatives for the property’s major mechanical and electrical systems and examine ways to save on maintenance, labor, and wages.
For example, it might be less costly to hire a handyman instead of a janitor. Although the salary for the former is higher, the extra expense is justified because the versatility of the handyman saves the wages that would otherwise be paid to contract personnel for repairs and other jobs.
Fuel and utility consumption costs, a large part of most properties’ operating expenses, vary widely. The cost of running a heating plant and maintaining its equipment should be monitored over a period of time. Representatives of utility companies can provide helpful information on types of service and ways of decreasing utility costs.