It’s three o’clock in the morning and your building’s boiler has just broken down. Your property manager is woken from his sleep by a phone call from the superintendent telling him that there’s a catastrophe at hand. You’re left shivering in your apartment while those hired to protect your home scurry to manage the crisis. Could this have been avoided?
While an integral part of building maintenance is the ability to respond to a crisis, the more essential aspect of building upkeep is preventive maintenance. A properly devised preventive maintenance program will anticipate problems by detecting flaws and potential hazards thorough ongoing trouble-shooting. Rather than relying on fixing things when they are broken, building crises can be kept at bay and you can be confident that your building systems will operate smoothly.
The Importance of Planning
To ensure smooth operation, a preventive maintenance master plan must be constructed with daily, weekly, monthly, semiannual, and annual items grouped together. Maintenance checklists are invaluable in such a plan. The House Institute, an organization dedicated to providing New York City co-ops and condos with tips on how to run their building, suggests a format for a superintendent’s maintenance log. Says director Dick Koral, "The particular form of the preventive maintenance log is not important. Each building can develop the form that suits it best. For convenience, those chores that are daily or weekly are listed first in a weekly log. Following would be a monthly log and, finally, a log of items that are checked annually, bi-annually, or more infrequently– say, every five years."
Lists include every aspect of building maintenance, including the proper inspection frequency of roofs, walls, windows, doors, burners, boilers, piping, flues and chimneys, and more. Although obviously the particular lists will vary from one building to the next, Koral says the employment of such a method is key to a successful preventive maintenance plan. "The division of work between the building staff and outside service contractors is arbitrary but the important thing is that all the preventative maintenance chores are listed, so that none is overlooked."