Preventive Maintenance, Taking The Time Saves Time


How do you find the time to include preventive maintenance in a schedule that is hard to predict?  The volume of service orders varies from day to day.  Leasing always seems to need the one apartment that isn’t ready.

“Preventive Maintenance can save time, and money for maintenance operations.  Building components like a water heater, furnace or air conditioner will have a longer service life if filters are cleaned and replaced.

No one is ever going to find time for preventive maintenance. It has to be scheduled: A half hour a day, a half day per week. There’s isn’t one right answer. There’s only a wrong answer-NOT SCHEDULING!

At the beginning of a month, or the beginning of the work week; determine the preventive maintenance focus for that time frame. Then determine how much time is needed to accomplish this task for the property.

– Changing furnace or air conditioning filters for 125 apartments.
– How much time for each apartment home?
– Enter
– Perform Service
– Check Smoke Detector, ALWAYS!!
– Exit, leaving door tag that says “Maintenance was in your home today.”

Worst case, ten minutes? So for 125 apartment homes, its 1250 minutes, about 21 hours of time to schedule. Almost three full days! To prevent maintenance operations from coming to a halt, could you schedule two hours a day for two weeks?

With a scheduled activity, the number of apartments being serviced can be managed to prevent overscheduling. In this case, twelve to thirteen apartments would need to be scheduled each day. A scheduled, controlled limited effort; compared to giving notices to an entire property.  When something interrupts the schedule resulting in the domino effect of revising notices.  Then mass confusion for maintenance and residents.

In many cases, it makes sense to combine quarterly initiatives;

  • smoke detector test,
  • unit inspections,
  • or filter changes.

It takes more time in each apartment home, but not near as much time as a repeat performance of entering every apartment home again. Before undertaking a property wide initiative, look at the calendar, what items are on the immediate horizon? Budget Prep? Is it time to update the capital needs inventory for the property? Use the time effectively and efficiently.

Properties with consistent preventive maintenance almost eliminate after hour emergencies.

The number of calls for poorly performing air conditioners or furnaces that are remedied after a pricey service call to change the filter is frustrating to anyone reviewing invoices; what a waste of financial resources. In addition to the realization that failure to service HVAC equipment properly will result in premature failure of the equipment or systems.

Exterior inspections are a critical feature of preventive maintenance.
Do exterior doors close securely?
Any loose shingles, gutters or downspouts?
Are extensions in place on all downspouts, with splashblocks to take water
away from the building foundation?

Spring, fall and even winter can be wet seasons. Heavy rains and melting snow give building drainage systems a work out. Without extensions to drain the roof run off away from the building, the excessive moisture is a perfect climate for mildew to develop on interior surfaces.

A resident reports they found mold on the wall, in the closet, behind the sofa or when they pulled the bed away from the wall.

Step 2, ( after Step One cleaning the area) Exterior Inspection, are the gutters and downspouts properly draining water away from the building.

If this isn’t a regular maintenance practice, additional time will be committed to this effort to reinspect after future rainfalls to insure the problem is resolved.

Properties in northern parts of our nation need an appropriate plan for snow removal.
Who plows?
Where is it pushed to?
Is the equipment for the sidewalks in good working condition?
Is there gasoline for the equipment, ice melt products on hand?

“Getting Around To It” generally doesn’t happen until there’s no choice because it is now too late to prepare, its time for action. Scheduling is the key to success.

Taking the time to review items for the preventive maintenance agenda, determining the time to complete the task and scheduling is the first step to proactive maintenance in an environment that changes daily.

Lori Hammond
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9 thoughts on “Preventive Maintenance, Taking The Time Saves Time

  1. Every maintenance call should address one item of PM, link checking flappers and toilet handles to all service requests for a set period of time then link checking plumbing fixtures for leaks next and so on.

  2. Great tips for how to fit preventative maintenance into your weekly schedule. It’s much more cost effective to keep up on maintenance than to wait for something to happen and then spending more money to fix it.

  3. As a previous administrative assistant working under supervisors with the preventative maintenance system for a property company, it became a necessity to buy and set up an online preventative maintenance software system programmed by a specialized programming company. This program scheduled preventative maintenance for one year and notified assigned vendors of preventative maintenance jobs coming up. Unless changes were made, the preventative maintenance was ongoing and repeated as scheduled either monthly, quarterly, yearly, semi-yearly, or annually. We were better able to keep track of when the maintenance was done, the invoices, the reports and any other problems that came up. The PM jobs were then closed out when finished. The invoices and maintenance reports were attached to the website for review. It helped to expedite preventative maintenance work orders. It also helped to eliminate costly repairs.

  4. Since some states to not allow routine annual inspections performing preventative maintenance while having been called to the apartment by the resident for maintenance issues is definitely the way to go – thank yo u for the tip!