Preventive Maintenance, Taking The Time Saves Time

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Property maintenance“There isnt enough time to do time to do preventive maintenance,” might be the battle cry for every new maintenance supervisor.

“You’ll pay in time and maintenance expense, when you don’t perform preventive maintenance,” is the sage advice from any Obi Wan Kenobi that has a few years of experience in the lead maintenance role.

No one is ever going to find time for preventive maintenance. It has to be scheduled: a half hour a day, a half day per week. Therre’s isn’t one right answer. There’s only a wrong answer-NOT SCHEDULING!

At the beginnng of a month, or the beginning of the work week; determine the preventive maintenance focus for that time frame. Then determine how much time is needed to accomplish this task for the property.

– Changing furnace or air conditioning filters for 125 apartments.
– How much time for each apartment home?
– Enter
– Perform Service
– Check Smoke Detector, ALWAYS!!
– Exit, leaving door tag that says “Maintenance was in your home today.”

Worst case, ten minutes? So for 125 apartment homes, its 1250 minutes, about 21 hours of time to schedule. Almost three full days! To prevent maintenance operations from coming to a halt, could you schedule two hours a day for two weeks?

With a scheduled activity, the number of apartments being serviced can be managed to prevent overscheduling. In this case, twelve to thirteen apartments would need to be scheduled each day. A scheduled, controlled limited effort compared to giving notices to an entire property, something interrupts the schedule resulting in the domino effect of revising notices and mass confusion for maintenance and residents.

In many cases, it makes sense to combine quarterly initiatives; smoke detector test, unit inspections, or filter changes. It takes more time in each apartment home, but not near as much time as a repeat performancee of entering every apartment home again. Before undertaking a property wide initiative, look at the calendar, what items are on the immediate horizon? Budget Prep? Is it time to update the capital needs inventory for the property? Use the time effectively and efficiently.

Properties with consistent preventive maintenance almost eliminate after hour emergencies.

The number of calls for poorly performing air conditioners or furnaces that are remedied after a pricey service call to change the filter is frustrating to anyone reviewing invoices; what a waste of financial resources. In addition to the realization that failure to service HVAC equipment properly will result in premature failure of the equipment or systems.

Exterior inspections are a critical feature of preventive maintenance.
Do exterior doors close securely?
Any loose shingles, gutters or downspouts?
Are extensions in place on all downspouts, with splashblocks to take water
away from the building foundation?

Spring, fall and even winter can be wet seasons. Heavy rains and melting snow give building drainage systems a work out. Without extensions to drain the roof run off away from the building, the excessive moisture is a perfect climate for mildew to develop on interior surfaces.

A resident reports they found mold on the wall, in the closet, behind the sofa or when they pulled the bed away from the wall.

Step 2, ( after Step One cleaning the area) Exterior Inspection, are the gutters and downspouts properly draining water away from the building.

If this isn’t a regular maintenance practice, additional time will be committed to this effort to reinspect after future rainfalls to insure the problem is resolved.

Properties in northern parts of our nation need an appropriate plan for snow removal.
Who plows?
Where is it pushed to?
Is the equipment for the sidewalks in good working condition?
Is there gasoline for the equipment, ice melt products on hand?

“Getting Around To It” generally doesn’t happen until there’s no choice because it is now too late to prepare, its time for action. Scheduling is the key to success.

Taking the time to review items for the preventive maintenance agenda, determining the time to complete the task and scheduling is the first step to proactive maintenance in an environment that changes daily.

Lori_Hammond Lori Hammond | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Lori has 30+ years’ experience in the Property Management Industry, working with both market rate and affordable housing.  Lori has been privileged to work with some tremendous industry leaders during employment tenures with Oxford Management, NHP Management, AIMCO, Alliance Residential, Boston Capital, The Sterling Group, P.K. Housing and currently Management Resources Development.

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