Avoid Maintenance Surprises with a Property Maintenance Plan


There is no way to avoid surprises when it comes to the maintenance of your community. And while preventative maintenance goes a long way in making sure your systems are keeping future problems at bay, many communities have started implementing predictive maintenance as well.

Predictive maintenance uses data to predict when existing systems might fail. It operates on the premise of having the right information at the right time so that you can plan and schedule maintenance, and shorten the length of time you experience an interruption of service. With a predictive maintenance schedule in your arsenal, you can also budget for those times much better, and ultimately, eliminate many of those pesky surprises.

Below are five tips to help you get your predictive maintenance schedule started.

1. Do your research.

We’ve all heard the saying that “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” And the same is true when starting your preventive maintenance schedule. If you don’t already know the history of your equipment, a first easy step is to review your maintenance bills and repair history. What you want to look for are trends that will help you anticipate when these systems might fail again. You may also want to survey your property personally, or call in a professional, to visually document building systems, public spaces, private spaces, and all surfaces.

2. Make your plan.

Once you know what maintenance issues you’ve faced in the past, and with what regularity, you can create a list of all of the aspects of your community that need to be placed on a predictive maintenance schedule. Next, talk to those professionals who work with these systems to establish reasonable inspection intervals. When determining these intervals, consider how much it would affect your long-term operational costs if the system went down for an extended period of time, along with how many residents would be affected in the instance of a system failure. Predictive maintenance might also result in downtime, but with proper planning that downtime should be significantly shorter, meaning less to your bottom line.

Your plan should also clearly define your expectations and how to measure if they’ve been met. The vendor you chose should be equipped to monitor their work and measure the results. Partnering with the right property management company can easily eliminate a significant amount of pre-planning, as they should be able to connect you with local vendors who are well-versed on predictive maintenance schedules and analyses.

3. Know the testing techniques.

There are a number of techniques that will assist you in getting the data you need to create a predictive maintenance schedule. These include:
  • Vibration analysis - measures the vibration of moving parts in machines. Monitoring these vibrations, and their changes, can help you anticipate future issues.
  • Thermal imaging - tells you if equipment has experienced changes in temperature that could indicate “hot spots,” leaks in sealed vessels, faulty insulation, overloaded circuit breakers in a power panel, fuses near their rated capacity, among other things. 
  • Laser shaft alignment - uses technology that will keep pumps, motor shafts and impellers from becoming damaged and causing misalignments to occur.
  • Trends analysis - recognizes potential areas of fault in equipment.
  • Oil sampling and analysis - identifies area of wear, along with the lubricating ability of equipment oil. 

4. Create your predictive maintenance schedule.

With all this data at your fingertips, it’s time to create your predictive maintenance schedule. While it is key to have your equipment and systems monitored and analyzed regularly, also remember to keep your schedule fluid so that it can accommodate variables. For example, in Florida some equipment may experience additional wear and tear because of our extreme weather conditions. That means that certain machines may need to be serviced sooner than anticipated. By keeping your schedule fluid, these variable will not throw you off.

5. Complement with technology.

Technology may also help with the management of your predictive maintenance schedule. A Computerized Maintenance Management System (or CMMS) can automate all of your schedule’s processes. When utilizing a CMMS, make sure you consider factors like the number of users, where the application will be hosted, whether your technicians can access the CMMS remotely and via mobile devices, and if it tracks items like work requests, scheduled maintenance and inventory.

While it may take some planning on your part, creating and maintaining a predictive maintenance program is a win-win. Not only will it save you time, it will also save you money and a lot of headaches. For more information, contact FirstService Residential.


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