Maintenance management includes not only machine assets, but structural assets such as industrial facilities, parking lots, and office buildings. Building maintenance management is a critical part of the overall maintenance of an organization. Learn more about what building maintenance management is, why it’s important, and its benefits.

 

Industrial building exterior to represent building maintenance management.

What is Building Maintenance Management?

Building maintenance management involves the coordination of maintenance tasks to manage the maintenance of structural assets in an organization, which may include office or commercial retail buildings, apartment complexes, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities to preserve a safe, inhabitable, comfortable, and functional environment at all times. Building maintenance involves a wide range of tasks, from routine building repair and maintenance to electrical, landscaping, HVAC, and fire alarm system maintenance.

Why is Building Maintenance Management Important?

Building maintenance management, which applies to industrial buildings, office buildings, apartments, and condominiums, is essential for the safety, functionality, and optimal appearance of buildings.

Without regular maintenance services, any building can become an unwelcoming, uncomfortable or even dangerous environment in which to live, work, or occupy. Poorly maintained residential properties can deter potential tenants from renting. When the interior of a residential property is uncomfortable, this leads to complaints, tenants breaking the lease, or the potential for tenants not to renew their lease agreement. Poorly maintained exteriors may lead to interior problems. The structural integrity of these buildings must be preserved to prevent, in the worst case scenario, building collapse.

Building maintenance is also important to meet municipal standards for electrical, HVAC, paint, plumbing, and structural elements in order to avoid fines and significant local sanctions.

New vs. Old Building Maintenance

With all of that said, there are different challenges that arise when maintaining new buildings versus old buildings. Even new buildings may not have enough air circulation, which can lead to indoor air quality (IAQ) problems if it’s not fixed. On the other hand, age-related problems in old buildings include things like inefficient HVAC systems which can result in a less than ideal indoor climate and high utility bills. Electrical system problems are also common in old buildings.

Newer buildings might have more funds allotted to them than older buildings because investors believe they will be easier to maintain. However, it might make more sense to invest in top of the line products such as shingles that will last 25 years, for new buildings than for an old building. An old building may only have 10 years left before it will need to be completely rebuilt, so top of the line shingles may not be necessary. This is just one of several examples.

Types of Building Maintenance

Like with any specialty area of maintenance, there are different types of building maintenance required to ensure an optimal environment.

Protective Maintenance

Protective maintenance can apply to machines as well, but is especially important for buildings because it protects the structures from the elements. There may be exterior structures that need a protective paint or coating against rust and other forms of deterioration. These structures include pillars, architectural details, steel walkways, awnings, and sidewalks.

Depending on the climate, these areas of the building may need protection from ice, snow, salt, heat, and moisture. These coatings need to be reapplied over time. Paint sealant typically requires a new coat every six months while paint protection film coatings can last five to seven years.

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance for buildings is carried out to avoid problems with buildings and the services they provide. Just a few examples of preventive maintenance for buildings include mildew prevention and mitigation, insect infestation prevention, and water damage prevention. Preventive maintenance may also involve the exterior areas such as parking lots, lawns, and garages.

Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance repairs a building and the surrounding property to restore it to optimal conditions as damage becomes apparent. Corrective building maintenance varies based on the type of building and the needs of its inhabitants. Just a few examples that apply to nearly every property and building include sealing parking lot cracks, replacing cracked gutters and downspouts, removing weeds, repairing roofing, fixing ceiling cracks, and replacing bricks or siding.

Areas of Building Maintenance

Building maintenance management is broken into common building systems such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and energy management. It also includes the general upkeep of building interiors and exteriors. Each of these components is explored in the following sections.

Electrical Systems

Electrical system maintenance includes inspecting new electrical installations and regularly reviewing the condition of power outlets and electrical connections to ensure they’re safe and up to current standard building codes. It also covers the maintenance of electrical equipment and circuit breakers. Regular monitoring of all electrical components in a building continuously for any damage is critical for building safety.

Regular electrical system maintenance must be made to ensure safety. Danger can result from blown fuses, grounding tests that were done improperly, and damaged electrical system installation. Maintenance technicians (or contracted electricians) need to replace frayed cords and wires to eliminate fire hazards, replace underperforming or nonperforming lighting and electrical heating components, and install new components as required when a building is remodeled or upgraded.

Plumbing Systems

Essential building maintenance includes plumbing systems such as bathroom fixtures, wash stations, and water heaters. Preventive plumbing systems maintenance is fairly straightforward and includes regular inspections and winterization. Plumbing issues that require emergency or corrective maintenance include burst pipes, leaking pipes, drain clogs, and overflowing toilets.

Public bathroom sinks that require building maintenance management, or facility management.

HVAC

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system maintenance is included in building maintenance management. Preventive HVAC maintenance such as changing the filters, ensures continued operation of the furnace and air conditioning unit. Seasonal inspections, checking the coolant and oil levels in the compressor, and cleaning the coils are all preventive HVAC maintenance tasks.

Ensuring a building has proper ventilation has always been important for maintaining a comfortable working or living environment. However, it is vital now more than ever for all buildings to have adequate ventilation and temperature control to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Water and Wastewater Treatment

Building maintenance also covers water and wastewater treatment. Maintenance technicians will make sure the water in the pipes and drinking water is safe and free of contaminants. If there is an issue with the water supply, testing and treatment must be done to correct it. If there are areas of a building or an entire building that had a prolonged shutdown and has reopened, water that sits in the pipes will pick up sediment from rust or corrosion. This “dirty” water can be harmful. The pipes will need to be flushed out to remove the old water, and the faucets must be run to put clean water back in the pipes.

Wastewater treatment needs differ in an industrial environment that is likely to have more and dirtier wastewater from cleaning machines or byproducts from manufacturing processes, versus in an office or apartment environment where there is cleaner water and less wastewater volume. Offices and residences will have wastewater from dishwashers, garbage disposals, sinks, showers, and toilets.

Energy Management

Another aspect of building maintenance is managing the energy in the facility. In general, energy management seeks to keep the building environment at an ideal temperature for its function (production, office work, or living space) at the lowest cost. Some industrial environments require the work environment to be warmer or cooler than the average room temperature. Others require supplies or machinery to be temperature controlled.

Energy management involves proper maintenance of heating and cooling systems, lighting and windows to prevent wasting energy. Preventive HVAC maintenance, sealing windows and doors properly, and cleaning ventilation systems are important maintenance tasks to keep energy costs low. Sustainability is important, and the concept must be in place to meet environmental regulations. If assets such as a furnace or air conditioner are operating inefficiently, it might be time to upgrade them to more energy efficient units.

Interior

General interior building maintenance includes cleaning common areas, and regular trash removal. It also includes repainting walls, repairing drywall, refinishing flooring as needed, and carpet replacement.

Exterior

Exterior building maintenance includes lawn care, parking lot repair, replacement or repainting of siding, bricks, and awnings, roof maintenance and repair, sidewalk repair, and other tasks specific to the land, type of building exterior, and specific property.

Who is Responsible for Building Maintenance?

When it comes to apartment and offices buildings, most of the maintenance is the landlord or property manager’s responsibility, or if the building is owner-occupied, it is up to them. However, there are some things the business tenant or renter will need to take care of on their own. These responsibilities are outlined in the lease agreement. It’s important to know what is stated in a lease agreement to avoid misunderstandings, which could turn into legal conflicts.

In general, business and residential tenants are responsible for the safety and maintenance of fixtures, fittings, and appliances that they have installed after inhabiting the building. Gas leak prevention and repair may fall on the landlord or the tenant depending on the conditions set out in the lease. The tenant is usually responsible for scheduling an annual inspection by a licensed engineer. It depends on what’s stated in the lease, however, the tenant may also have to maintain all electrical equipment in and around their unit.

A few other things that depend on the specific agreement include who is responsible for fire safety equipment and fire hazard monitoring. There are other maintenance and repairs not specified as the landlord’s responsibility in the lease and those may also be the tenant’s responsibility.

Benefits of Building Maintenance

As you’ve likely determined by now, there are numerous benefits of building maintenance management, for tenants, employees, landlords, and property managers.

Prevents Unexpected Shutdown of Facilities

For commercial buildings, regular maintenance prevents the unexpected shutdown of facilities. Emergency situations such as a burst pipe or gas leak will halt operations and often require employees to evacuate. When a business has to shutdown without planning to or preparing for it, this results in lost revenue and falling behind in production or other work. When maintenance teams keep up with regular maintenance, most of these and other problems can be avoided.

Increase Building Life

The maintenance of buildings will increase the useful lifetime of these buildings and facilities. Rather than allowing major building systems such as HVAC, plumbing, and electricity to wear out, regular maintenance will prevent the costly need to rebuild any of these systems. Maintenance technicians work to keep these building elements working like new for as long as possible.

Keeps Occupants Safe and Comfortable

Building maintenance done on a regular schedule keeps occupants safe, comfortable, and productive. Comfortable surroundings result in increased worker productivity or an enjoyable living environment for apartment building tenants. When the HVAC system is properly maintained in the summer and winter, the indoor climate of work environments and apartment units is at the right temperature and humidity level.

Sufficient plumbing, water, and wastewater maintenance ensures there is clean water for drinking, showering, cooking, and cleaning, which is essential for tenants to be happy in their homes or businesses.

Keeps Buildings Looking Their Best

Building maintenance keeps the exterior and interior of buildings looking their best, which gives customers, employees, and tenants a positive impression of the business or facility. It creates a calm and welcoming atmosphere where employees can perform optimally and residential tenants feel more at home.

Saves Organizations Money

Lastly, a benefit of regular building maintenance management is that is saves the organization (or landlord) money. By keeping up with preventive maintenance tasks, more expensive emergency repairs can be avoided and there will be fewer interruptions to production.

How CMMS Assists with Building Maintenance

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software assists with building maintenance management by improving the efficiency of maintenance processes. Using CMMS software to keep track of building maintenance work decreases the possibility of major maintenance being missed, which could result in building shutdowns. A CMMS allows maintenance supervisors to track the organization’s assets, assign work orders to specific technicians from a central database, and monitor inventory levels.

While the goal of most maintenance departments is to do as much preventive maintenance and as little corrective maintenance as possible, some machine downtime and repairs are inevitable. It’s important for maintenance teams to store corrective procedures in their CMMS system to refer to and execute quickly. CMMS software also provides a service or maintenance request portal where individuals outside of the maintenance department can submit requests for maintenance work to be done.

Maintain your Buildings Efficiently with FTMaintenance Select

Regardless of the type of building or industry, FTMaintenance Select will help you efficiently and effectively manage your building maintenance needs. To learn more about how FTMaintenance Select CMMS software will improve your building maintenance processes, schedule a demo today.

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