Planned Maintenance

Plan your maintenance proactively and reap the rewards of your efforts – don’t just bury your head in the sand

“The effective management of maintenance liabilities can save you circa 20-30% on your maintenance costs but you need to start years in advance in order to see real savings,” says Planned Maintenance Expert; Damien Finnegan.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today

The phrase ‘never put off until tomorrow what you can do today' is very relevant when it comes to managing the maintenance of blocks of flats. It’s not just a matter of dealing with the problems as they arise but the real deal is identifying the problems before they occur. For a suitably experienced Building Surveyor this is relatively easy but not always so easy for a busy Property Manager or the Board of directors.

It is vitally important not to overlook the benefits of having a Planned Maintenance Programme (PMP) developed for your block. But, it doesn’t stop there – it actually only starts at the point when you have the plan in place. The real work is involved in managing the plan and keeping all stakeholders on board along the way. The truth is that the benefits of the Plan (the savings) are not seen on the bottom line immediately. Like most things in life, property is a long game, and it is about being consistent in every way. This is to ensure that the investment of your time and money translates into a long, effective life of your building.

As my mum always said to me growing up, “you get back what you put in and this applies to everything you do in life.” This has always stood by everything I do and I know it works!

It amazes me how often the intentions of replacing or repairing that leaking gutter, fixing a loose tile or repainting the exterior woodwork are left on the back burner. Most of the time this is not intentional and is simply down to the fact of a lack of input/guidance/support from a surveyor. It’s often too late when the real consequences occur! Regular (yearly) inspection by a surveyor is vitally important to pick up those little defects, which are easily missed and compound into more significant costly repairs over time.

Of course, property repairs can be expensive but not as high as the price of procrastination: neglecting that leaking gutter can lead to damp, ignoring the loose tile is the way to extensive roof repairs and the longer the timber paintwork is left to peel, the sooner the windows will rot and need replacing.

The above are only a few examples of how relatively modest building repairs can escalate in scale and cost due to neglect and not having an active maintenance plan in place.

These scenarios can be avoided by setting up a detailed PMP.

The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) recommends as good practice 70% planned maintenance and 30% corrective or urgent/reactive repairs and maintenance. A PMP is a blueprint for effectively servicing a property. It allows major works, repairs and redecoration to be properly scheduled and budgeted for and reduces the risks of costly emergency/reactive fixes/repairs.

Ideally the programme should be drawn up by a suitably qualified and experienced Building Surveyor, who will provide a schedule of works and associated costs, identify any urgent repairs and also areas that will require attention in future. It is a strategy to value-engineer future spend/investment into an affordable programme for all stakeholders.

An appropriately managed PMP will yield compound savings over a 10 – 20-year period on any building.

In the case of residential blocks or estates, a planned maintenance programme enables work to be arranged with reasonable cost/budget certainty and the right level of service charges can be agreed so the necessary reserves collected in advance, without having to request supplementary demands for repairs and Major Works.

Ultimately, a properly implemented and managed PMP will protect the underlying value of the building, it will reduce unnecessary expense and reactive costs. It will help reduce service charge demands over time and ultimately reduce costs and expense to leaseholders. BUT…… there is a BUT. You need to start the plan as soon as possible and the compounding benefits will take time to see/deliver.

So, the message is “don’t wait for tomorrow to organise a maintenance programme – do it today!”

Start 2017 with a 10-year plan in mind. Think about how you can control future liability. Start by interviewing and engaging appropriately experienced professionals who share your passion to invest and save money over time.

Maintaining you block can be exciting and rewarding. Take control and make it enjoyable.

Damien Finnegan is Managing Director of Finnegan Property Servicesuniqueaward winning and dedicated to delivering the best advice to clients. Passionate about customer service and communication, and promise no nonsense, results-driven advice directly from an appropriately experienced partner.