Commercial Property Managers – How to Approach Maintenance Management Controls

When you manage a large office building or a retail shopping centre the maintenance processes that you oversee and control are large and diverse.  You will need experts to help you control the property and a precise process of activity to maintain the property.  Any errors or omissions in maintenance management can lead to risk and also high costs of repairs so there are some liability issues that also come into consideration as part of managing a commercial or retail property.

Critical Maintenance Systems?

So what are the main things to look for?  There are various building operational systems in a property to keep under control and well maintained.  The main ones are typically:

  • Electrical supply
  • Structural
  • Hydraulic (water and storm water)
  • Lighting
  • Fire prevention and detection systems
  • Lifts and escalators
  • Air conditioning
  • Emergency power
  • Security alarms and monitoring

Understand that your property and building may have additional things to add to this list.  Property design, location, and people visiting place extra focus on property operational systems.

Build Your Maintenance Program

Each discipline and maintenance category requires specific focus given the plant and machinery in the property, the demands of daily operation, and the tenants frequenting the site.  Here are some ideas to merge into your property maintenance strategy for your site:

  1. Equipment registers and index – Understand just what plant you have in a property and the specifications of each component. Make a register so you can track plant performance and change over.
  2. Essential systems of plant – Certain elements of machinery in a property will impact occupancy very quickly. Air conditioning would be a prime example.  You will strategies to keep those essential plant systems operational and safe.
  3. Work orders – An order number system will help you track jobs and accounts for any maintenance programs. Members of the maintenance team should only approve and pay accounts within the order number system.
  4. Preferred contractors – Choose the contractors that are to work on your plant and equipment. Establish a system of response for works in office hours and out of hours.  Also establish a response process for emergency works.
  5. Preventative maintenance routines – The major elements of plant and machinery should be maintained to prevent failure. Works can then be undertaken at times where building or plant shut down will not unduly impact occupancy.
  6. Spares and parts control – You will need to keep some spare parts on site for emergency responses and parts failure. Create and inventory of these items.
  7. Condition monitoring – Some of your building systems will require condition monitoring to prevent failure or breakdown in operational hours. You can also plan the replacement of major machinery items in the building in this way.
  8. Purchase orders – If any goods or items of plant and equipment are to be purchased for the site, a purchase order system will help keep control of those items.
  9. Equipment history – Track the performance of plant and equipment running times, downtimes, repairs, and operational hours. The equipment history will help in estimating plant replacement.
  10. Bar code systems – You can maintain a register of plant and equipment in the property with a bar code system. This process integrates well into the tracking of replacement parts and operational parts.
  11. Capital works programs – Major items of plant will need to be replaced in the property at certain times. It is normal for those works to be scheduled over a time frame and set to occur when the property is not operational.   Capital works programs allow for the planning of major works and the costs of getting the plant changed over.
  12. Building code and compliance registers – Understand the requirements of current building codes when it comes to property operation. Ensure that your property satisfies code requirements and keep registers to prove that the required checks and maintenance activities are being undertaken.

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