Effective Preventive Maintenance Management: Tips for Commercial Property Managers (+checklist)

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is the performance of regularly scheduled maintenance to preempt unexpected failures. It is simply the act of fixing things before they are broken. Any maintenance that is not a response to an existing problem or malfunction falls under this maintenance category.

While the whole process can pose challenges such as time-consuming scheduling and inspections, as well as additional costs for implementation, it is an aspect that firms cannot afford to ignore.

Preventive maintenance is different from breakdown maintenance. The former identifies any issues before equipment failure or downtime, through routinely scheduled maintenance. Breakdown maintenance is a reactive type of maintenance and works by running equipment until it fails to operate, in which case repairs and maintenance are performed.

Why preventive maintenance is important?

When it comes to commercial properties, property managers cannot afford to subscribe to the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” school of thought.

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They must be sure to perform preventive maintenance for several reasons. Below please find the key benefits of preventive maintenance for property management teams.

Durability. Preventive maintenance enhances the durability of the property and assets by ensuring that everything is in good condition and an issue is detected before equipment breaks down. This ensures smooth running of affairs by reducing downtime encountered due to equipment breaking down.

Financial planning. Preventive maintenance also allows for active financial planning by enabling you to note equipment or facilities that may need replacement or repair in the near future. A piece of failing equipment is unlikely to take you by surprise because you will have been monitoring it periodically and will be adequately prepared to meet the replacement or repair cost. On the other hand, not carrying out preventive maintenance may unsettle your finances when there is little wiggle room in your budget for spontaneous repairs or replacement. Emergency reactive maintenance may also cost more.

Health & Safety. Scheduling periodic maintenance can also help promote the health and safety environment for tenants by ensuring that the equipment and building do not pose any danger. This aspect is crucial in industries where there is machinery that has the potential to injure workers. The same applies to healthcare facilities where equipment needs to be functional to deliver quality patient treatment.

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Preventive maintenance checklist template excel

The ideal preventive maintenance checklist would depend on the type of equipment or facility under maintenance. But in addition to catering to each property’s specific needs, some checks cut across most if not all commercial properties. We’ve prepared a preventive maintenance checklist template for you to use when managing multiple commercial properties. You can download the preventive maintenance checklist template excel here.

It outlines the critical checklist elements for a commercial building’s interior and exterior elevators, HVAC systems, and fleet.

Breakdown maintenance could require more resources and result in higher costs to repair than preventive maintenance.

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Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to perform preventive maintenance checks regularly.

HVAC preventive maintenance

Checking the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems of a residential or commercial building constitutes HVAC maintenance. Quarterly or biannual HVAC maintenance inspections are strongly encouraged for managers. The following equipment is checked during routine HVAC maintenance:

  • Air Conditioner
  • Heat Pump
  • Electric Heater
  • Gas Furnace
  • Dual Fuel Heat Pump Furnace

The HVAC maintenance varies between buildings. In most building complexes, however, some checkups are commonplace. These include;

  • Testing the performance of components
  • Cleaning
  • Replacing or repairing filtration systems
  • Removing debris

In addition to testing for leaks and corrosion of metallic elements, the checklist includes a check for leaks. There are also inspections for HVAC maintenance, such as:

  • Inspection of cooling systems
  • Inspection of loose screws
  • Inspection of the condenser coil
  • Inspection of the compressor and the refrigerant
  • Inspection and cleaning of the economizer
  • Inspection of heat pumps
  • Inspection of electrical heaters and air filters
  • Inspection of gas furnaces
  • Inspection of sensors and their subsequent calibration

Electrical preventive maintenance

Commercial structures require electrical checking for faults, short circuits, loose connections, and fire warnings. The elCommercial structures require electrical checking for faults, short circuits, loose connections, and fire warnings. The electrical preventive maintenance consists of the following sections:

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  • Checking cable assemblies in various areas of a building
  • Inspecting the wiring of electrical outlets
  • Inspecting wires for signs of short-circuiting and sparking;
  • Checking for proper connections in locations next to pools of water (bathrooms and sinks)
  • Verifying the voltage and wiring of moving equipment such as elevators
  • If the commercial structure has a separate transformer, that should also be routinely checked
  • Check the voltage of high-energy consuming components

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Lighting preventive maintenance

Checking that all lighting components are in proper working order is vital. The following are essential lighting preventive maintenance checks to observe:

  • Bulbs that have burned out
  • Faulty wiring surrounding lighting areas
  • The condition of the batteries
  • Color temperature
  • The gaskets screws and cables should be routinely checked and maintained
  • Mercury and lead lights should be routinely checked and handled with care
  • To increase performance and efficiency, the lighting surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned
  • The brightness of the lighting elements should be checked
  • Lighting hardware should be checked and replaced if broken or faulty
  • The transformers should be inspected routinely

Plumbing maintenance (preventive maintenance sewer lines)

Plumbing makes up a considerable part of a property’s value. A building quickly becomes unsuitable for human occupancy if there are plumbing errors and open sewer drains. Sewer lines preventive maintenance is necessary to avoid such occurrences. Some of the checklist items to look out for during routine plumbing maintenance include:

  • Checking for clogs and blockages, clogs s are a common occurrence in almost every water system, as such sinks and drains ought to be routinely checked and unclogged
  • Inspect beneath the sink for moisture or evidence of leaks. Evidence of moisture means that the drainage pipes are broken or there is a loose connection that should be repaired
  • Testing drains is an essential preventive maintenance task. One can do this by simply pouring water and noting how long it takes to go down the drain.
  • Checking for water or stains on walls can also help tell if the plumbing is defective
  • Inspection of couplings should also be done
  • Sewage pumps should also be checked: check the oil, inspect pump impeller, assess bearing damage, clean the vents

Roofing preventive maintenance

The following preventive maintenance inspections are essential to avoid roof leaks:

  • Examining and cleaning the drains
  • Inspecting for damaged shingles
  • Inspecting the sealant and the surface of the roof
  • Checking and protecting the roof against corrosion if it is made of metal
  • Checking the wall-roof connections
  • Checking for worn-out roofing tiles
  • Checking the perimeter of the roof and repairing any damage
  • For solar roofs, check for connections between the roof and the panels

Interior

Among the areas to check for damage in a commercial property are the ceiling, walls, floors, windows, and doors. Preventive maintenance keeps the walls from cracking or having the paint peel off, while a regular look at the ceiling to spot weaknesses that could result in it crumbling down. A checklist for the interior includes the following components:

  • Checking for cracks on walls and the strength of walls, sometimes an entire building might need restructuring
  • Checking for corroded walls and peeled-off paint
  • Checking the slabs and the floor of a commercial building
  • Checking for the condition of interior finishes like tables and cabinets
  • Checking the state of the ceiling

Interior-Building

Exterior building maintenance

The exterior of commercial properties acts as the face of the enterprise. The exterior should thus be neat and well maintained to make a great first impression. The exterior maintenance of commercial buildings includes:

  • Checking the state of the walls from outside
  • Checking and maintaining the loading dock
  • Checking the parking lot and keeping it in an operable condition
  • Maintaining the sidewalks
  • Checking and repairing the driveways
  • Checking the lawns
  • Checking the state of doors and windows and replacing broken panes
  • Checking the security cameras of a commercial building
  • Checking the state of the painting of a building
  • Checking the overall state of the building

Maintenance checks on these areas include checking for cracks on walls and peeling paint, mold growth, litter, and mud.

Fire safety

The federal government mandates that all structures meet fire safety requirements. The following constitutes a checklist for fire safety maintenance:

  • Check the proper storage of liquids and chemicals
  • Check the water supply
  • Check the functionality of fire alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers,
  • Check the emergency exits and the exit lighting

Preventive maintenance on a hot water heater

After faulty low water cutoffs, lack of preventive maintenance is the most significant cause of hot water heater mishaps and failures. You may run preventive checks monthly, semimonthly, and yearly to safeguard assets worth tens of thousands of dollars and maintain safe operating facilities. The following water heater & boiler maintenance checklist provides a good starting point:

  • The manhole gaskets should be routinely inspected
  • Check for electrical connections and terminals
  • Check for fuel levels
  • The boiler should be routinely cleaned
  • Check the combustion

Exclusive maintenance checks

In addition to the basic preventive maintenance that applies to all commercial properties, facilities such as industries and hospitals require specialized preventive maintenance that aligns with the equipment and function of such spaces. Below are key preventive maintenance checks in various settings.

Preventive maintenance of data centers

Data center downtime costs tens of millions of dollars. It is thus essential that data centers undergo routine maintenance. The checklist for preventive maintenance of a data center comprises routinely inspecting the condition of batteries, maintaining equipment in excellent condition to save repair costs, and extending the lifespan of this equipment.

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Healthcare maintenance

Compared to other sectors, the preventive maintenance methods in most healthcare institutions are outmoded. In the healthcare industry, preventive maintenance entails evaluating the functionality and condition of medical equipment and other systems. An efficient maintenance plan will guarantee that healthcare personnel can deliver services while reducing the expenses of repairs and equipment. Preventive maintenance in the healthcare environment includes predetermined, schedule-based work and predictive maintenance. Due to the complexity of patient care, it is advised that the healthcare system personnel must submit the completed checklist to the director of buildings and grounds and duplicate their records.

Preventive maintenance for property managers

Preventive maintenance is necessary to keep buildings, equipment and machinery running. Checking the overall condition of building components such as walls, slabs, machinery, elevators, and the grounds is crucial. Utilizing this preventive maintenance checklist template excel for buildings and facilities will boost their usefulness. In addition, providing the maintenance crew with a checklist for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly inspections may dramatically decrease the number of incoming work requests and complaints.

Emily Rothen

Emily has spent her professional career managing complex projects and ensuring customer success with SaaS software, across the commercial real estate and meetings & events industry, servicing enterprise level customers. She leads the customer success department at Fyxt, overseeing the onboarding, customer support, and professional services teams.

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