What Is Property Maintenance?

Property maintenance is the process of ensuring buildings and their immediate environments are in optimum condition. It includes maintenance activities such as safety checks, cleaning, rodent control, garbage disposal, gardening, landscaping, and asset repairs.

Property maintenance is an essential aspect of both real estate ownership and property management. For this reason, property managers must put systems in place to maintain functional, comfortable, and safe environments for their buildings’ occupants.

While exact maintenance practices vary by asset, occupancy standards are enforced via state laws, local laws, and the International Property Maintenance Code. Of course, savvy property owners don’t solely enforce maintenance because they want to avoid run-ins with the law—they prioritize routine upkeep because they want to rWhile recommended maintenance practices vary by asset, occupancy standards are enforced via state laws, local ordinances, and various International Property Maintenance code enforcement. Of course, savvy property owners don’t solely enforce maintenance because they want to avoid run-ins with the law—they prioritize routine upkeep because they want to retain their investments’ value while keeping occupants safe and happy.

What Is General Building Maintenance?

Building maintenance refers to activities undertaken to ensure buildings and their utility systems are safe, habitable, and in working order. While building maintenance shares the same goals as property maintenance, it doesn’t always include caring for the environment surrounding buildings. It’s worth mentioning that the term general building maintenance is often confused with property maintenance. While there is an overlap between the responsibilities, there are some key differences.

The most common building maintenance activities include:

Building maintenance activities are often categorized by level of priority. For example, emergency repairs are prioritized over less critical tasks because of time and budgetary constraints. Workers involved in building maintenance include janitors, facility managers, and maintenance technicians. 

General maintenance technicians work full-time on properties, practicing reactive maintenance, emergency maintenance, and preventive maintenance.

Examples of Property Maintenance Tasks

Examples of everyday property maintenance tasks include:

Of course, tasks may vary depending on whether the technician is practicing commercial property maintenance or residential property maintenance. Other maintenance activities are performing proactive inspections, servicing electrical and water supply systems, shoveling snow, and landscaping grounds.

What Do You Need to Manage a Property? 

Regardless of the size of the property, routine maintenance is integral to staying in business. There’s no running away from property maintenance. As a result, property owners can choose to either a) do everything themselves, b) build an in-house maintenance team, or c) outsource their maintenance needs to a commercial property management company. 

Tips on Developing an In-House Team

The potential downside to developing an in-house maintenance team is that everything is on you! Property owners and managers are responsible for the time-consuming tasks associated with planning, scheduling, and overseeing all maintenance activities. However, the upside to building an in-house team is tighter control over maintenance spending, deeper insights into tenant challenges, and greater personal investment in success. 

Those wanting to put together an in-house property maintenance team should prioritize: 

Tips on Hiring Commercial Property Maintenance Support

For those seeking more widespread support, professional property management companies offer a more structured maintenance approach. They employ maintenance personnel who are trained and experienced in different areas of maintenance. Their services include:

Unfortunately, selecting a reliable property maintenance company can be challenging. To begin, ask other local property owners for personal recommendations before conducting an Internet search. 

Without a doubt, carry out due diligence before settling on a particular company. This includes asking for a portfolio including the provider’s present and past clients, licensing paperwork, and advertised accreditations. Often, the biggest challenge is finding that sweet spot between the management service you want and the budget you have. 

Pros and Cons of In-House vs. Outsourcing Professional Management

 In-House Maintenance TeamProfessional Management Team
Pros● Direct supervision of team and activities● Better insights into maintenance issues● Improved communication and relationship with occupants● Complete control of maintenance budget● Faster response to emergencies● Structured maintenance planning and scheduling● Responsibilities of property owner● Full compliance with regulations● Easy budgeting for maintenance
Cons● Required time to build effective team● Increased pressure to balance maintenance issues and property operations● Increased employee costs● Risk of non-compliance with regulations due to lack of knowledge● May be expensive in long run● Risk of unreliable service provider● Decreased interaction between property owner and tenants● Can take time to react to emergencies● Difficult to get on-the-ground insights into maintenance activities

Types of Buildings and Industries That Manage Properties

Private residential properties are often successfully managed by owners without the help of outsourced management services and extensive in-house teams. However, most larger properties and facilities require additional maintenance support. 

Facilities with several elevators, boilers, and HVAC units require regular servicing, as are buildings with large spaces such as parking lots, hallways, and common areas. 

Properties that require extensive property maintenance include:

To summarize, organizations within all industries may require both general building maintenance teams and property maintenance divisions.

How to Lead a Property Maintenance Team

A property maintenance team is only as good as its leader. Here are a few tips on how top property managers successfully build and lead world-class maintenance teams:

Display Trust

Encourage autonomy and give the team a sense of Encourage autonomy and give the team a sense of ownership over maintenance tasks. Furthermore, independence not only gives team members a sense of purpose but also enables them to improve their skills. Micromanagement signals that you don’t trust the team to deliver without constant supervision. 

Encourage Learning

New maintenance techniques and technologies are always emerging. Keep the team updated on the latest trends by organizing workshops and seminars to learn new skills.

Take a Preventive Maintenance Approach

To be clear, constantly reacting to emergencies isn’t only expensive but is damaging to a leader’s reputation and a team’s morale. Stay on top of maintenance, and employees will feel better utilized.

Adopt CMMS Software

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) makes it easier to scale maintenance needs. In addition, it improves response time to maintenance requests as one can quickly get information on inventory plus maintenance schedules from a centralized database. While up to 80 percent of CMMS implementations fail, Reliability Plant provides tips to implement the system successfully.

The quickest way to uplevel a property maintenance team is by introducing work order software with built-in chat. MaintainX is the only provider in the marketplace with a smartphone app that includes instant messaging, group chat, and digital work order commenting. The feature allows technicians to troubleshoot with property managers and owners quickly. Work order accessibility via mobile CMMS is a must at this point. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Easiest Way to Schedule Maintenance Tasks? 

We recommend using CMMS software to schedule your maintenance tasks. Good CMMS software will enable you to optimize your maintenance tasks and save on costs. You can also assign work orders to remote teams and receive real-time updates on the progress.

How Do You Calculate Maintenance Costs? 

Because some maintenance costs are indirect—and you cannot directly assign a cost to an end product or process—property owners may try to minimize spending on maintenance. But cutting back maintenance funding can be costly and counterproductive to original intentions in the long run. Don’t make a short-term financial decision that affects property values in the long term.

How should property owners estimate maintenance spending? Accountants often advice you to set aside 4 percent of the property’s replacement value for annual maintenance tasks. Additionally, management should implement an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) program.

What Is O&M?

O&M is an abbreviation for operations and maintenance. It enables maintenance teams to plan for each asset by creating proactive maintenance strategies (preventive and corrective) to minimize unplanned downtime and increase equipment efficiency.

With minimal unplanned downtime and maximum systems operation, you can optimize your maintenance costs–but it’s important to note that O&M costs are fixed regardless of the size of your equipment.

However, other ways to reduce your maintenance costs include:

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