The objective of building maintenance is to keep the building comfortable for all users. This involves constant care – routine maintenance – but also preventive maintenance to preserve the equipment and structures. Then, when it is no longer possible to provide the same level of comfort, it gives way to building refurbishments.
- Public buildings
- Shopping centres
- Office buildings
- Hotels, nursing homes, condominiums
- Keeps the building’s value
- Improves the building’s condition
- Preserves safety and reliability
- Avoids excessive wear and tear on equipment
Who’s responsible for building maintenance?
As popular wisdom says, “it takes a village”. For building maintenance to be successful, you need to organise a maintenance department in which all functions are well-defined. Furthermore, it is important that all the building’s users make an effort to keep the building in the best condition possible.
Maintenance managers are responsible for the maintenance plan. They need to plan, assign tasks, manage the technical team, and decide how to react to a breakdown. In the case of companies that outsource various maintenance services, they also monitor whether the contract is being fulfilled according to the terms established.
Maintenance technicians perform regular inspections, preventive maintenance tasks, and respond to breakdowns (reactive maintenance). They can be multi-skilled or specialise in one type of maintenance, such as electrical maintenance, HVAC maintenance, plumbing, etc.
Caretakers, Cleaning & Housekeeping
The caretakers supervise and maintain the smooth running of the building’s common areas. In addition to the caretakers, the cleaning and housekeeping teams are responsible for much of the care that keeps the building clean and pleasant.
What types of maintenance are part of building maintenance?
Routine maintenance encompasses the daily, weekly, and periodic tasks that keep the building in optimal condition for users, such as cleaning, waste management, or pest control. Although the focus is on this type of ‘soft facility management‘, it also includes visual inspections or minor repairs (e.g. replacing blown-out light bulbs). Building caretakers are usually responsible for this.
Preventive maintenance of buildings aims to keep the facility comfortable and safe for users. It is often based on Operations and Maintenance Manuals.
Preventive maintenance in buildings includes several different services. First, there is the maintenance of electrical equipment, gas installations, HVAC, lifts, escalators, and other assets used daily by those who use the building. Then, there is the maintenance of the structure and the exterior area, which includes the building’s insulation, roofing and security systems.
So, the key to excellent building maintenance is to plan and fit all the jobs into the same schedule. Fortunately, much of the preventive maintenance plan consists of work orders that are repeated with a certain periodicity, hence it is possible to automate workflows with the help of intelligent maintenance management software.
Alternatively, preventive maintenance can be replaced by condition-based maintenance or predictive maintenance.
Building maintenance is no exception: reactive maintenance should be used as a last resort. Ideally, building equipment should never be out of commission. Still, mistakes do happen: here’s how you can reduce the MTTR.
Rehabilitation and Renovation Works
In recent years, the European Union has made an effort to increase the energy efficiency of older buildings, including schools, office buildings, and other public buildings. Although proper maintenance helps to reduce the buildings’ consumption, in most cases extensive refurbishment works are necessary.
After achieving A+ energy certification or zero carbon emissions, buildings are not expected to need intensive refurbishment again in the short to medium term. However, the maintenance and operation manuals should be updated to take into account the maintenance of new infrastructure and the expected lifetime of materials used in the envelope system.
In the case of historic buildings, it is not always possible to clean or restore sculptures, tiles, paintings, or woodwork to their original state due to the weakness of the materials. In such cases, managers should consider using replicas, which facilitate routine maintenance without spoiling the architecture of the building.
How to make building maintenance more efficient?
The best way to make building maintenance more efficient is to use maintenance software. However, as we said above, you can get even more out of the software if you choose an intelligent maintenance platform.
Expedite fault reporting.
Enable caretakers and cleaning staff to easily report faults through the software. This way, technicians resolve the problem much faster.
Use checklists for each service.
Create checklists for each service, so you can replicate work orders quickly and ensure uniform processes.
Create a database.
A CMMS acts as a database where managers can record the maintenance plan, assign tasks, and keep track of inventory. From the technicians’ point of view, work organised in such a fashion facilitates consultation of documents and standard procedures for each asset.
The intelligent maintenance management platform takes these features even further. The intelligent software allows you to schedule tasks, receive notifications when a deadline approaches, and assign tasks automatically, which streamlines operations on a day-to-day basis.
Monitor operations in real-time.
Intelligent software makes it possible to monitor operations in real-time, so you know which parts of the building are working normally and which are off-limits. These updates make it possible to adapt customer service or redirect users to other areas of the building.
Building maintenance requires a great deal of technical knowledge and the ability to manage several tasks at the same time. Fortunately, technology helps us overcome the limitations of the human brain!