• Monday, July 15, 2024
businessday logo


Importance of property maintenance/facilities management


The two terms are generally intertwined and relates to the upkeep of a property or estate which may be residential or a commercial venture. It should always be carried out through an established property maintenance company or a local service provider, for example the day to day cleaning or gardening, even though it is sometimes run by laymen who do not know much about the services needed. The services which can be classed as property maintenance are wide ranging and can include many sectors of the maintenance industry such as, maintaining air conditioning equipment, painting, generator servicing, borehole maintenance, plumbing, electrical repairs, roofing repairs, locksmiths, glazing or refurbishment. Good Maintenance companies are also trained to manage properties to prevent costly repairs due to wear and tear and general deferred maintenance. Whether you have one rental home or several apartment complexes, as the landlord you are more often than not too busy to see to every single detail that companies tend to in the way of prevention and repair. Additionally, good maintenance companies employ certified professionals for any electrical or plumbing issues, among other specialty areas. It is highly likely that in bypassing a good firm to hire out the work yourself, or to do it all yourself will result in a larger expenditure as well as a great deal of wasted time.

Our own personal homes keep us busy enough, and adding other properties to our list of things to do, can be overwhelming. Facility maintenance companies are worth their weight in gold. Many good facility maintenance services have experience with other property or construction companies. This means that when the time arrives to update your rental units and estate, they are equipped to perform any refurbishment work you need. This is important since you will have already developed a relationship and trust with your service company, and they will already be familiar with the unit and its individual issues. Hiring a reliable company is in the best interests of any investment property owner. Usually, referrals, references, or talking to other developers and landlords would be of great help in finding a good company that will gladly take this burden from you. Unfortunately in Nigeria, we have to rely on word of mouth referrals or make do with unregulated companies, and trust that the properties are properly managed. Works which if not carried out immediately will present an immediate threat to the health and safety of residents, and can cause major damage to the building. These include but are not limited to the following: roof leaks, loss of electrical services to a building, generator breakdown, major water leaks or lift failure.  The minimum requirement for good service companies should be aimed at making problems immediately safe for a later full repair to be carried out by professionals. This could mean something as simple as turning off that service at the mains or cordoning off that area so that no one has access to it in the mean time.

Commercial property maintenance can involve a number of companies and services including an umbrella property management company who may look after the entire estate of properties for one particular company. In turn, the management company may employ the services of one or more subsidiary companies to provide the required property maintenance services. The retail and banking industry, in particular, makes a high usage of property maintenance services, particularly reactive maintenance (also known as response maintenance) since their buildings usually cover a wide expanse of space  and require the highest standards of maintenance in order that customers continue to patronize the business and ensures staff work in a clean and safe environment. If the maintenance of the business is left to lapse then it often loses trade due to poor service delivery. A lot of new Shopping Malls are already showing signs of poor maintenance, with many toilets and air conditioners out of order. If this is left to continue the state of the Malls will be a safety threat to users. Other property maintenance services such as Planned Preventative Maintenance (often known as PPM) provide an alternate way of encompassing property maintenance, not relying solely on reactive maintenance but to plan works to minimise disruption to the business. Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul(MRO)  involves fixing any sort of mechanical or electrical device should it become out of order or broken. It also includes performing routine actions which keep the device in working order (known as scheduled maintenance) or prevent trouble from arising (preventive maintenance). MRO may be defined as, “All actions which have the objective of retaining or restoring an item in or to a state in which it can perform its required function.

So as you can see, property maintenance is serious business and not to be taken lightly by non professionals! To keep properties in good shape, one should always employ a tried and tested  maintenance company as well as regularly monitoring performance.

Caroline A. Akinlotan