When you manage a number of commercial or retail buildings you should have a maintenance routine established in the office and within the property management team so that tenant and landlord requests for maintenance can be handled effectively and correctly.
So this is a business system within a property management team. Ultimately this can mean a reduction in property risk and a greater level of control on property expenditure. The tenants and the landlord of the property thereby benefit. When you act for a number of landlords, the differences in authority and instructions in each case should be respected and remembered.
How do you do it?
There are ways to establish a system like this. The property management team should all participate in the establishment of the system and the application of it into the property portfolio. They should then understand the system so that they use it correctly. When a maintenance job comes in, the system takes over and the details are correctly logged and then actioned.
Here are some ideas to help you establish and manage such a system in your brokerage:
- Building identifiers – Give each building a name and a number so that any maintenance event can be captured accurately for the property. You may also need to split up those identifiers into floors or zones of the property. A simple code that everyone understands will help with that process.
- Tenant identifiers – In each building have a specific code numbering system that records or cross references the tenant making the maintenance request to your database and or property management system. When you later capture the maintenance request into your property system, the right notations and tenant contact details will then be appended.
- Standard form of record – Whilst it is nice to be able to enter a maintenance event directly into a computer software program, many times you cannot do so. On that basis create a standard form that can be carried and used anywhere for capturing facts and comments for any type of maintenance issue. When the time is right the forms can be captured into the maintenance system. It is also worthwhile keeping the forms for later reference if any debate or issue arises.
- Priority system for important tasks – Set up a series of codes that allow you to prioritize and allocate important repair issues to the right person, contractor, and activity.
- Logging of calls – Always log the person’s name making inbound the call, the time of day, and the full details of the event. First and foremost you want to know if any injury or potential injury could evolve from the repair requirement. Ask the right questions.
- Work orders – Allocate repair jobs using a work order system. That system could be integrated into a computer based repair tracking program. Job orders can then be monitored from activation to completion and payment.
- Authority to undertake works – Some buildings and landlords will have specific requirements and processes that apply when it comes to initiating works. Understand how all of those requirements impact work orders and maintenance costs.
- Approved Contractor lists – Most property management teams will have a group of contractors that they use within certain job types. Those contractors will have been selected after review of experience, skill, costs, and response. Create a list of contractors on that basis.
- Tenant emergency contact details – Like it or not, there will be times where emergencies happen in commercial and retail buildings. When that is the case you must know who to talk to and how to connect with them 24/7. Tenants, landlords, and contractors must be on that list for those emergency and unexpected situations.
- Injury and risk management – When a maintenance job gets reported, you first and foremost should be investigating to see if any person has been injured and if there is any potential of ongoing injury. Handle the personal injury and emergency response issues first, then deal with the repair and the contractors to control the event.
So these are all valuable strategies to put into your maintenance management process in your commercial and retail property management division. Establish the system and refine it over time.