Key aspects of block maintenance

Reasons for Maintenance

There are many good reasons to keep up with maintenance. too many to list here but the obvious being:

Legal requirements – landlord’s/RMC/RTM etc covenants to maintain and repair.

Statutory compliance - lift inspections and electrical testing are just two examples of this.

Safety reasons – falling tiles or other hazards from lack of maintenance.

Residents’ comfort and safety – a well maintained building should also include a safe well maintained, clean communal area.  This will include keeping hallways clear with appropriate signage and enforcement.  A well maintained communal area allows a well-lit escape route, safe from hazards.  This also promotes pride in the building and better rental and resale value.     

Cost effective - early intervention is likely to save higher costs in the future.

Reduces insurance costs - a building which is not maintained is more likely to incur water damage and claims and will find its premiums rise and costs.

Resale Value – we all look for a well maintained building when purchasing a flat. A well maintained building will normally add value.

We could all add to the above but these alone ought to be more than enough to address opposition against regular maintenance usually to keep costs down. Certainly reasonableness has to be a factor of any well drafted planned maintenance report, but that shouldn’t mean nothing gets done.

Maintenance Planning

Maintenance of a building is everything from day-to-day cleaning right through to repairing and painting the external elevations, roofs etc.  A well maintained building should have a predetermined plan of all the maintenance tasks required.

Health and Safety Reports

Look at any available documentation relating to the building which should be available. Ensure the surveyor has sight of these when preparing the plan. Those responsible for the day to day management should work through these as well to be familiar with requirements.  

Health and safety documents are very important in preparing immediate and future planning and as an integral part of the maintenance plan and contractors working on the building should have access to them for compliance with safety legislation. The periodic Health and Safety report will generally identify the specific legislation which applies to lift inspections, water testing, fixed wiring tests etc. If any report is not available it should be commissioned as soon as possible and reviewed as necessary to ensure the various maintenance requirements are actioned on the maintenance plan.

Everyday Maintenance

It is very important not to overlook the basic everyday maintenance as this is essential to the overall maintenance plan. On-site inspections or even contract cleaners or gardeners, consider what routine tasks would be within their reasonable competence. 

Basic examples should include checking that all drainage outlets/gullies are clear/properly covered and that light bulbs in common parts are replaced when required.

Identifying and reporting back defective overflows staining the exterior and creating dampness is another possible use of those on site.

The maintenance plan for each block should be regularly reviewed and adjusted as circumstances dictate. Remember, buildings require a considerable amount of maintenance, ranging from their skeletal structure through to perishable external components, and internal fitments that are subject to heavy use. 

A planned programme of maintenance is the optimal way to facilitate a building’s upkeep, allowing costs to be budgeted and predicted well in advance of any works being carried out. Planned maintenance programmes also carry the added advantage of helping to minimise disruption by setting a prearranged and carefully scheduled plan of action in place.