Colder weather is upon us, so now is the time to make sure your strata corporation’s maintenance program is on track. You certainly don’t want to discover a leak in your roof during a heavy rainfall or have a boiler stop working during a record cold spell.
Unfortunately, these crisis situations occur all too frequently because many corporations neglect to develop an integrated maintenance plan. Instead, they favor a reactive approach
to maintenance – waiting until something breaks or fails before repairing or replacing it.
A lack of funds is a common reason for strata corporation’s to defer maintenance until major work is needed. Ironically, reactive maintenance is actually about three to nine times more expensive in the long run than a proactive approach. It’s much more cost-effective to be proactive, even if that means investing a bit of time and money up front. Ultimately, it will relieve a lot of headaches for your council and save money for your strata.
Proactively addressing maintenance needs gives the council more control over your property’s long-term maintenance activities.
1. Collect all your maintenance-related information.
For most strata’s, maintenance information is scattered among a variety of documents. The first step is to locate and consolidate it, including:
- Your corporation’s maintenance policy, which might be addressed in your governing documents
- Maintenance schedules
- Expected costs and timeframes for replacing equipment or making major repairs to components, which will be outlined in your reserve study
- Maintenance recommendations in owner manuals
- Maintenance requirements to keep warranties valid
2. Establish which common elements require ongoing maintenance.
Make a list of the equipment and components that need to be included in your maintenance plan. Start by looking at your governing documents, reserve study and vendor/maintenance contracts.
3. Identify specific maintenance activities.
A good reserve study will specify the types of preventative maintenance needed to ensure that a component or piece of equipment will reach its estimated useful life. However, be aware that any repairs or replacements that have been made more recently may not be included in your study. You may need to refer to owner manuals or warranties to find this information.
4. Create a master maintenance schedule.
Your reserve study will also indicate the schedule you should follow for each item it contains. If the maintenance schedule for a particular item is missing from the reserve study, check your warranties or owner manuals, or ask the manufacturer or contractor to provide it.
5. If you have an onsite engineer or maintenance manager, take daily readings and make weekly inspections.
Walking the property and taking daily readings gives an engineer or maintenance manager an in-depth familiarity with equipment. They are likely to notice subtle changes – smells, sounds, vibrations or temperature changes – that someone else might overlook if they’re not familiar with the equipment.
6. Enlist the help of experienced professionals.
A proactive property management company can offer a wealth of information and be able to help create your integrated maintenance plan.
With a solid preventative maintenance plan in place, your board needn’t worry when temperatures drop. The proactive approach we take at FirstService Residential gives clients the peace of mind in knowing their property is protected.