With the end of the year approaching quicker than many of us would like to admit, many businesses are engaging in budgetary planning for 2018. An area that is frequently neglected in the budget is building maintenance management—often with disastrous results. Providing proper preventative care to your building can reduce the risk of significant unforeseen expenses that can completely devastate your budget.
In most cases, the benefits of an ongoing maintenance plan outweigh the cost—it is a long-term investment that can end up saving your facility big bucks in the future. Although it may seem superfluous to put a continual preventative care plan in place for your facility, the reality is that basic maintenance will only do so much—fading carpets, scratched floors, and health violations will become apparent before long. Regardless of whether your building is industrial or corporate, it’s vital to have a clean space that is hospitable, healthy, and safe for both employees and visitors.
In preparing your facility’s 2018 budget, here are five tips you should follow to ensure your building continues to flourish.
When creating any budget, the first step is to calculate the amount you are willing to spend on building a maintenance program. One general rule of thumb is to have an ideal total maintenance cost in mind for the year. The added structure can help with prioritization, allowing you to consider which services are most critical when developing a schedule.
When planning out your budget, it’s important to consider the fiscal year ahead in addition to what projects and improvements the organization needs to complete within the next five years. From heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems down to the carpets, the majority of items in your facility should have a manufacturer’s warranty that details the recommended maintenance schedule. If you wait until those repairs are hindering normal operations, your subsequent costs are going to increase significantly. Use the guidelines provided in the warranties to determine what projects to address in year one and which to hold for subsequent years.
When evaluating your building maintenance budget, consider the type of community the building hosts on a daily basis. Does your facility only house employees—such as in a large call center—or are you operating a medical facility, gym, or similar building that welcomes clients? If it’s the latter, consider prioritizing the maintenance of client-facing areas, such as a lobby or reception area, above other, less visible areas of the facility. If the organization’s clientele are not in the building, more attention should be paid to areas such as employee lunchrooms, break rooms, or conference rooms.
Walk your entire building as if you were a client or employee to get the full picture of your facility. Bend down to look under furniture and at the floors, observing where dust collects heavily. Walk the parking lot or other common areas, as well. Consider what clients and employees see every time they approach your facility to get a better idea of where to allocate maintenance resources.
Additionally, it is important to focus on both the janitorial and non-janitorial maintenance of your facility. Janitorial maintenance items—such as vacuuming, trash removal, and cleaning of restroom surfaces—provides a first impression of not only your building, but your business overall. Non-janitorial items, such as general maintenance and repair to the carpet, floors, and windows, will have an immediate impact on the overall appearance of your property and should be done routinely.
Just as you are the expert when it comes to your facility, your vendors are the experts on the maintenance services they provide.
Vendors and building maintenance management companies can help set objectives for your facility and determine when to plan maintenance for particular items. If you’re working with limited funds, don’t be afraid to ask vendors about payment plans. For some larger projects, many vendors may be willing to accommodate your budgetary needs by finding a payment solution that works for both parties. Additionally, for a small fee, some building maintenance management companies will perform an assessment to help determine how you should prioritize based on the degree of life left in each facet of your facility.
You will also want to review your facility’s maintenance costs from the last three years to determine on what areas you were spending the most, which vendors you were using, and each vendor’s pricing—use your history to plan your future, taking note of trends over time. Review and evaluate each vendor that has serviced your facility on its timeliness, pricing, responsiveness, professionalism, and overall results to determine which ones provide the most value.
Everything is seasonal, including maintenance routines. For example, if your facility is in an area that sees heavy snowfall in the winter, you may need to budget for the purchase of snow removal equipment in September to allow ample time to prepare for inclement weather (see page 10). In early March, as the weather begins to improve and the temperatures rise, prioritize your budget to focus on your lawn, landscaping, and parking lot. Understanding how your facility maintenance routine coincides with each season will assist you in better allocating facility management funds.
Additionally, consider the scale of each project when creating a budget schedule. Start by allocating resources to improvements or repairs required on the building’s physical structure and work your way down to the smaller details. In between larger projects, fill in smaller upkeep items such as carpet cleaning, floor finishing, or bathroom steam cleaning to maintain the overall maintenance and cleanliness of your facility.
Within the facility maintenance industry, there are a number of professional organizations that provide free, online resources for creating a detailed maintenance budget. Consider utilizing the following organizations when preparing your 2018 budget:
Also, consult other local facility managers, real estate managers, or building owners to evaluate what has worked best for them and their facilities. While their priorities may differ from those of your building, they can provide you with invaluable insight into local vendors, maintenance scheduling, and more.
As is the case with many facilities, unexpected repairs and damages come up and may force you to reschedule, rearrange, or postpone a service, but having a plan in place prior to an emergency will leave you better prepared to deal with unforeseen circumstances that arise.
There are a number of options to consider in the planning and budgeting phase, so when you’re making your budget for 2018, be sure to include preventative maintenance to save yourself time, stress and, most importantly, money in the future.