One of the most confusing subjects of property management is maintenance. Engineers make it such with fancy names to various types of maintenance, such as "Reliability Maintenance," "Routine Maintenance," "Predictive Maintenance" and "Total Productive Maintenance" to mention a few. These are new buzzwords found in the maintenance jargon today and they may very well fit for manufacturing plants but not for residential buildings.
Forget about them, I say. Keep it simple. "Maintenance boils down to this: Either you do it or you don't" (run till it fails). To put it another way, "Pay a little now to maintain it or pay a lot later to replace it." Those are my conclusions of my 31 years of heavy experience in building operations.
One of the problems is that supers, managers and boards cannot see the entire picture. Maintenance and preventive maintenance, some say, "Oh, yeah, that's greasing machines or mopping a floor." Well it's not! First of all, maintenance is not just for machinery and equipment in a building or complex. It is for the entire building or complex, from the roof to the building envelope down to the basement and foundations, everything outside and within. Don't be fooled. Maintenance is not a science. It's an understanding that everything has a useful life with proper care.
Let's define maintenance. Simply put, maintenance is upkeep; keeping something looking good on a regular basis, such as stripping, waxing and buffing a marble or tile floor.
Preventive maintenance on the other hand, simply put, only exists to keep equipment and the building itself in good running condition so that every part of the building (bricks, roofing, windows, ventilation and HVAC systems to name a few) reaches its full life expectancy with as little repair and down time as possible. Preventive maintenance is a program. If you're still not sure what preventive maintenance is let's put it another way: preventive maintenance saves you money. It allows you to get your money's worth.