Regular property maintenance reduces long term maintenance costs
Numerous research studies have shown that regular property maintenance significantly reduces long term maintenance costs, together with promoting the lifespan and value of a property. Frequent property inspections focused on identifying proactive maintenance requirements are an important enabler for achieving the necessary frequency and scope of maintenance. Medium to large properties will likely benefit from a building manager or caretaker assuming the responsibility for daily property inspections and promptly reporting maintenance requirements. A panel of approved contractors is a good idea to promote a good understanding of the history and context of a property together with accelerating maintenance delivery whilst also achieving reliable, cost effective and durable workmanship. Sound record keeping of maintenance work and costs at a building is also very important to enforce guarantees, identify broader issues associated with escalating maintenance costs and to track the durability of maintenance work delivered.
There are a number of important health and safety related maintenance focus areas, in particular the annual servicing of fire fighting equipment (major service required every 5 years), monthly servicing of lifts with an Annexure B lift inspection and certification every 2 years, monthly servicing of airconditioners and pest control treatments tailored to the property use, context and condition. Monthly servicing of drains and outflow pipes off waterproofed roof and courtyard areas are very important for reducing water leaks and waterproofing should be serviced every two years or as specified by the installation service provider, to maintain longer term guarantees. A facility management control schedule or timetable is recommended to schedule and track all the various maintenance items required over a calendar year and assists with assigning the necessary responsibility to each maintenance item and confirming completion.
Careful budgeting and financial management is necessary for underpinning the maintenance system recommended above to ensure that cash flow and affordability parameters support maintenance delivery. A thorough building maintenance inspection utilising an appropriate professional where necessary, is suggested to develop a short (3 – 6 months), medium (1-2 years) and long term (5 – 10 years) maintenance plan which can then be linked to the relevant budget items after quotes and other costings have been obtained. Approval of the maintenance plan with the budget then enables the relevant maintenance items to be implemented in a time efficient and affordable manner.
Effective property maintenance will reduce vacancies and optimise rentals in both residential and commercial properties, again emphasising the importance of a proactive and well administered maintenance system. Cognisance should be taken of presenting the property surrounds (e.g. gardens) and reception or foyer in the best possible manner as these features create an important first impression and positioning for a property.
Maintenance efforts should therefore also include gardens and other common area fixtures together with prioritising the entrance area.
Written by Andrew Schaefer (Managing Director)