Rich Smeeton from Manage Your Block explains how to set up a fool proof maintenance programme for your block of flats.
When you think of looking after a block of flats, the first thing that comes to mind is handling maintenance issues- not just as a legal and statutory requirement but also as an essential element in maintaining the health, safety and happiness of the residents of your block of flats.
Taking care of your block of flats and preventing problems reduces expenditure and creates trust with your residents. A great maintenance programme can get you ahead of the game; helping you to avoid falling into a purely reactive role.
Why Set Up a Planned Maintenance Programme?
With so many reasons to keep on top of your block of flat’s maintenance there are a few too many to list here but the main ones are:
- Legal Requirements: It’s a legal requirement to maintain and repair
- Statutory Compliance: Lift inspections and electrical testing are just two examples
- Safety Reasons: Lack of preventative maintenance can lead to hazards
- Resident Comfort and Satisfaction: a well-maintained block of flats should include a safe, well maintained, clean communal area.
- Cost Effective: Prevention is always better than the cure- early intervention is likely to save on expenses in the future. Works can also be budgeted for through the year.
- Reduced Insurance Premiums: Insurers look for evidence of planned maintenance, as well looked after blocks of flats are less likely to suffer water damage etc.
- Resale Value: Potential residents will always look for signs of a well-maintained building and existing residents will look after their surroundings if they have a sense of pride in where they live.
- Minimising Disruption: Thoughtful planning can reduce lengthy or unexpected disruption for your residents.
What’s Involved in a Planned Maintenance Programme?
Your Planned Maintenance Programme (PMP) should include everything from regular day-to-day cleaning through to major projects such as re-pointing or re-roofing. With everything mapped out across the year, you should reduce your chances of nasty surprises in terms of expenditure, complaints and accidents.
A great place to start is to check the building’s maintenance records. From here you can book in any annual or bi-annual checks with your suppliers and get more of an idea of any areas that may have been neglected for too long.
If you’re new to the block and/or if paperwork or records are sparse, booking a visit from a surveyor is the best place to start. They can give the building an overall health check and advise if any particular areas may need specialist attention.
Health & Safety
The building’s health and safety documentation should let you know if anything needs attending to urgently as well as allowing you to map out future plans. Any contractors working on site should also have access to the documentation for the sake of compliance with safety legislation.
A periodic Health & Safety Report will identify any specific requirements for the building such as lift inspections, water testing and fixed wiring tests etc. If you find your most recent report is out of date (if one can’t be found at all!) then you should book in for one asap. It should then be reviewed regularly to ensure your overall plan is being stuck to and is suitably effective.
While booking in any major upkeep, everyday maintenance shouldn’t be allowed to slide. Keeping on top of more regular tasks will reduce the need for major jobs in the future and will keep a sense of pride in the building for your residents.
If you need to spread the load a little, look at the regular contractors you have on site such as gardeners or cleaners and consider what routine tasks they could potentially handle for you. For example, checking drainage outlets and gullies are clear could fall to the gardener. Cleaners could let you know about any light bulbs in need of replacement or if they spot any damp appearing.
The plan for your block of flats should be regularly reviewed and adjusted as circumstances change. What may look like a great plan for the year in January may need to be re-evaluated several times before Christmas!
While it may evolve, the plan shouldn’t be adjusted by moving major projects further and further down the line if this can be avoided. You may find yourself with a list of hugely expensive tasks to do within one financial year if you fall into that trap.
We’re not here to tell you how to run your block of flats, but we can provide you with highly specialized software to make the management of your block much easier. Contact us for more details on 0333 577 9070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.