When you’re charged with building maintenance, the job requires real-time monitoring and attention to detail, as well as a broad perspective. Facilities need to be kept in good working order without downtime, which can impact the needs of those using the building. Here are some of how proper maintenance can be carried out.
Often, when a building is constructed, there are multiple considerations and constraints which influence its design. Aesthetic appeal, structural durability, and ease-of-use for occupants will all be a factor, but so will the extent of the budget and schedule afforded. Since designers usually aren’t involved after this stage, the practical long-term considerations tend to be ignored.
If you get to be a part of this process, you can make a difference by advocating for the maintainability of the structure. Using the life-cycle costing method during design can lead to smarter long-term decisions on behalf of the stakeholders who will be living in or using the building, minimizing the cost of future maintenance.
When most people think of performing maintenance, the tasks they visualize are typically reactive. After all, many homeowners call the plumber only when there’s a leak or the heater isn’t working. Before that, and in between repair incidents, there’s no perceived need for professional intervention.
Building management can often take the same approach, and it makes sense in many situations. Office light bulbs work perfectly until they give out, and when they do, the fix is simple (any layman could switch out bulbs), and the failure won’t have disastrous effects on work or productivity.
Reactive maintenance is an essential way of keeping such low-impact costs under control. Few, if any, dedicated personnel are required for such tasks. And no sophisticated new tools or systems are needed to carry out repairs; simply let the part or appliance run its course, and replace it when the time comes.
Sometimes the tenants in your building rely heavily on systems to work optimally. In many cases, problems with these systems are complex, with greater time and cost required to fix them. A scheduled inspection can detect and fix issues before they reach a critical point – similar to how you should periodically have your car serviced every 10,000 km.
When you take regular measures to inspect equipment for signs of a malfunction, you’re carrying out preventive maintenance. A building’s HVAC system is one example of where this is necessary; office productivity can take a hit when the temperature isn’t regulated, and appliances can also deteriorate when used in sub-optimal temperatures.
When dealing with more complicated systems, or those with a random chance of critical failure, the impact of disruption can be significant. A blown circuit can take out a motherboard, for instance, and render a workstation completely unusable; yet there are no external warning signs beforehand.
Smart technologies and internet-enabled devices sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), help you carry out predictive maintenance in your buildings. By accumulating data over a period of time and running analysis, they help you plan and undertake repairs without causing a significant downtime. High-rise buildings with important facilities on the roof, for instance, can use regular aerial surveys using drones to monitor and detect structural issues.
Building maintenance can be a decades-long endeavor. With this in mind, study all possible ways to influence and increase the maintainability of your building.