SETTING UP A COST- EFFICIENT MAINTENANCE PROGRAM

Reducing maintenance costs cannot be achieved without setting up a cost-efficient program. This cost-efficient maintenance program requires the cooperation of all persons involved in the management of the property from the resident manager or superintendent to the maintenance crew.

Designing the Program

There are five basic steps in designing a preventive maintenance program to meet the needs of a particular building:

  1. Prepare an inventory of equipment and building.
  2. Determine necessary maintenance tasks.
  3. Calculate the cost.
  4. Schedule the tasks.
  5. Keep records.

Inventory Task

The property manager should make a complete inventory of all equipment that may have to be maintained. Each item should be listed and described, including date and place of purchase and existing warranties. The inventory should indicate where to obtain parts and service and when each item needs to be lubricated, cleaned or overhauled. Physical elements such as walls and supports should be listed by location and described.

The manager can then decide what equipment and physical items that should be included in the preventive maintenance program. A complete set of such records will ensure systematic preventive maintenance; minimize interruptions in tenant services and save the owner money.

Determine Necessary Maintenance Tasks

The property manager and the maintenance superintendent must decide what type of inspections and preventive maintenance task should be performed and how frequently.

Structural item such as walls and roofs should be scheduled for inspection, painting and patching. Equipment such as elevators, air-condition, heating plants, pump 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.

The resident manager or building superintendent should submit daily and weekly inspection reports to the property manager.

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-work out a full year’s schedule, along with a system for issuing work orders and checking 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

The property manager must follow through on the program by keeping and regularly reviewing records on the results of preventive maintenance inspections and tasks for each piece of equipment.

These records eventually will show whether certain checks and activities can be performed less frequently, thereby saving labour and money, or whether certain items should be inspected more often. They also verify that maintenance personnel are actually performing these tasks and demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of the preventive maintenance program.

A well-designed and implement preventive maintenance program may not show significant result or savings for six months to a year, but it will ultimately payoff in terms of increased efficiency and economy of operations.

Cost Control Plans

Control techniques will ensure an ongoing, cost maintenance program. When analyzing long-term and short-term cost-reduction goals, the manager may set up new operating procedures or revise present ones. 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.

In larger properties especially, the key to a successful maintenance program is separating the administrative and performance functions.

The specific work executed by onsite or contracted maintenance personnel must be determined and planned by a maintenance administration staff this administrator arm, which may consist of only the property manager and the resident manager or of several his trained employees, also should be responsible for budgeting, material control and management reports.

Detailed plans are the foundation of effective maintenance supervision.

Programmed plans of action outlining the specific of each Job should be designed for all repair, housekeeping and construction tasks to be performed by maintenance personnel.

The degree of detail included in the advance planning program will vary from building, but the more control the administrative arm exerts the more effective and cost-efficient the actual maintenance program will be.

Short -Term Plans

Redecorating, landscaping and supplying stocks offer short-range opportunities to exercise 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. No savings will result from bulk purchasing it funds are wasted on unneeded items or on a large supply of a product that deteriorates rapidly.

An accurate inventory system will enable the manager to identify items that are used infrequently that have a short shelf life.

These supplies can then be purchased as needed. In order to buy in large lots, the manager must have storage space for at least a six-month supply of goods.

Security measures must be instituted to protect valuable stock from theft. The company should solve 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 quantity needed for a pending job.

Scope and Location of the Job

The scope and location of the job should be accurately described.

The maintenance crew sent out perform the job will be able to determine in advance where they will be working and what tools they need for the job.

Job Priorities

Job priorities are determined and assigned by the administration staff. The sequence in which the work for the day, the week or the month is to be performed should be specified. Immediate problems such as a broken water pipe or window will take precedence over routine service checks and minor difficulties such as a leaking faucet.

Method to Use And Materials Needed

The maintenance plan should also specify the best method of accomplishing each job. From this information, the administrative staff can determine the materials needed to complete the task and can have the appropriate supplies on hand. Employees will also recognize in advance the special tools, equipment and safety requirements for a particular job.

Personnel and Hours Needed

To schedule maintenance crew time efficiently, the administrative staff should study all foreseeable jobs and ‘project as far ahead of possible the number of personnel required and the hours of work that will be needed.

Naturally, the scope of the job will dictate how detailed the data will have to be. Appropriate and realistic allocations of time and personnel should result in effective job performance at a reasonable cost, thereby avoiding tenant unrest due to inadequate service.

A well – planned maintenance program also protects the profit position of the owner by holding tenant turnover to a minimum and maintaining the physical integrity of the property.

By skillfully assessing and balancing service needs and maintenance costs the manager works for the mutual benefit of all concerned parties.