Managing a facility is not a walk in the park. Some property managers get stuck with high occupancy rates, while others have trouble updating their building’s HVAC or electrical system. But if there’s one thing common among facility managers, it’s the challenge to keep up with preventive maintenance. Some maintenance tasks get ignored, and repairs are put on hold due to budget issues and other hindrances. But delaying building maintenance can cause costly consequences down the road.
Here are some dangers of delaying or deferring your building maintenance:
1. Reduced Equipment Efficiency
One of the objectives of building maintenance is to keep pieces of equipment running at an optimal level. But when you defer servicing them, you reduce their effectiveness. Plus, when HVAC units or other appliances aren’t well-maintained, they are likely to use more energy. That means higher energy bills, which may impact your future commercial building maintenance budget. So to alleviate all this, prioritise funding for servicing pieces of equipment that will likely have significant downtime issues when not maintained for six months to a year.
2. Full System Failure
A complete system failure is never good news. Take an HVAC system in a hospital, for instance. The system must perform optimally 24 hours a day to facilitate proper patient care. Now, imagine if the HVAC system is down for more than four hours. Patients would complain, and healthcare workers would be less efficient & comfortable performing their tasks. The result is nothing but an ugly situation.
To avoid a full system failure, review and track those systems that are close to the end of their cycle. Put the older systems on a “watch list” and prioritise them for routine maintenance. This should help reduce the need for urgent repairs, which can lead to significant downtime and cause massive business disruptions.
3. Health & Safety Risks to Occupants
It’s your responsibility to ensure a safe environment for all building occupants, including those with disabilities. That means making all the systems, appliances, fixtures, and even the flooring in your building work effectively. Delaying work on hardwood flooring cracks or faulty hallway lights is the opposite of that.
Say you own and run a multifamily SDA building. Tenants getting into accidents due to poorly-lit hallways or cracked pathways that are no longer PWD-friendly won’t only cost you a lot but also put you at risk of facing legal consequences. You might end up failing to repay your NDIS loan as you might have to spend thousands of dollars on hospital bills, legal fees, and other related expenses. So if you think you’re saving money by delaying routine maintenance or neglecting the condition of your flooring, think again.
Ensuring the safety of your building’s occupants involves addressing any issues with the flooring as well. If you have a flooring store nearby, it can be beneficial to establish a relationship with them. They can provide you with expert advice on flooring materials, maintenance, and repairs. Regularly inspecting and maintaining the flooring in your building, or hiring professionals from a flooring store to do so, will help prevent accidents and ensure that the floors remain safe and functional for everyone.
Remember, investing in the safety and maintenance of your property, including the flooring, is a wise decision that can save you from potential financial burdens and legal consequences in the long run.
4. More and Larger Maintenance Issues
When you don’t address minor building maintenance promptly, it can escalate to more and larger problems. Think of a leaky ceiling in your childcare centre. It may start as a leak, but if it goes unrepaired, it can end up ruining the light fixtures, walls, and other parts of your facility. The costs to repair the issue become much higher.
Also, emergency repairs are more expensive. Take the leaky ceiling as an example. If it suddenly collapses, you have to call for emergency repairs. Reactive maintenance comes with a higher price tag because you might have to rely on expert third-party services, instead of in-house staff, for quick, effective repairs. Plus, you might have to pay for expensive materials & equipment rather than wait for a stock of less costly items that have the same quality but aren’t available right now.
5. Shorter Equipment Life Cycle
Anytime you fail to perform maintenance tasks intended by the equipment’s manufacturer, you shorten the operating life of that machine or fixture by as much as one-third. So remember that the next time you’re tempted to delay preventive maintenance. If you really need to prioritise one maintenance task over the other, put equipment and systems on the higher part of the list. That way, you decrease the number of failures and even extend the life span of your equipment. Doing so will bring you long-term benefits and keep you from spending on emergency fixes.
When it comes to commercial building maintenance or tips for commercial building owners, the goal is to do more preventive work than reactive maintenance. It resolves a lot of potential issues and keeps your facility a safe, efficient and productive environment for the occupants.