Each day, you grapple with the challenges of attracting and retaining tenants while controlling expenses.
One of your most important tools for satisfying these priorities is an effective building maintenance plan that enhances and preserves the appearance, functionality and value of your building.
Let’s take a look at how you can maximize the value of your building by investing in a preventive maintenance plan for your metal, stone and wood surfaces, especially in or near entryways and other high visibility areas.
Benefit of Preventive Building Maintenance over Deferred Maintenance
Maintenance can be very easy to put off in favor of other, seemingly more urgent, facility management activities. Decision makers get lured into a sort of we’ll-do-it-when-we-have-to mentality by the desire for short-term savings.
Facility management expert John Rimer, whose articles have appeared in numerous industry publications and journals, offers a number of other reasons why some organizations resist proactive maintenance:
- Maintenance is typically intrusive
- It usually requires downtime
- Managers worry about labor and production impacts
But remember, maintenance that truly adds value is proactive and not reactive.
The Kingsley Report urges managers to treat proactive maintenance as an “ounce of prevention” that actually saves money over time versus waiting to do reactive maintenance.
The Report points out how keeping up with small repairs and other low-cost activities on a day-to-day basis can pay off down the road in the form of attracting and retaining tenants, and avoiding the financial toll of dealing with emergency expenses.
Reactive, or deferred maintenance, according to Rimer, often results from years of insufficient capital reinvestment into your facilities. It hurts the image of your facility, diverts personnel and drains financial resources away from more valuable activities.
The bottom line is this: when you invest in regular, planned maintenance, you don’t risk unhappy tenants and suppliers.
Why Building Appearance Matters
Aesthetics are a very important determinant of the value of your building. The Kingsley Report notes that maintaining the appearance of your building is the #1 way to increase tenants.
According to Jeff Wilhoit, Director of Training and Communications at Mid America Specialty Services, first impressions are very important when tenants or customers first see your building. So devote special attention to those areas that prospects and customers will see first — parking lots and garages, entryways, lobbies and commons areas.
Don’t defer maintenance on these important things. Neglect allows your building’s appearance to fall below acceptable levels.
Proactive maintenance, on the other hand, keeps your building at or above target levels of appearance all year long.
Get More Mileage out of Metal, Stone, and Wood Surfaces
Metal, stone and wood surfaces, especially in your entry and common areas, carry aesthetic value and contribute to that all-important first impression that tenants and prospects have of your building. Think of these materials as the “Big Three” when it comes to your maintenance program.
Because of the high traffic these areas receive, the materials in them get lots of wear and tear which degrades their appearance in the absence of a well-planned preventive maintenance program. Metals, stones and woods can all get discolored, scratched, vandalized and other sources of damage.
The good news is that these materials can all be restored and/or updated without having to replace them.
- Metal surfaces: Metal restoration should be followed by a clear-coat lacquer to protect against tarnishing, fingerprints and scratches. You can also achieve a more up-to-date style with metal refinishing — such as an antique bronze color or polished satin or stainless steel look, which saves you thousands in conversion costs.
- Stone surfaces: Although stone is very durable, it develops scratches from people’s shoes, as well as watermarks from liquids containing acids, which reduces reflectivity. Stone repair by an experienced specialist uses advanced cleaning technology to produce a great shine with a high slip coefficient to improve safety, reduce slips and falls and lower maintenance costs.
- Wood surfaces: Wood is both less durable and tends to get more abuse than other surfaces. Maintenance can include (1) a touch-up for small scratches; (2) wood refinishing that includes touch-up plus tint or clear coat for fading minor scratches; or (3) a full wood restoration that includes stripping or sanding off the old finish, repair of damaged areas and staining and recoating of the wood.
The right maintenance service provider with the expertise for treating metal, stone, and wood, can keep your building looking its best.
A regular monthly preventive maintenance schedule, spread evenly throughout the year, can help you maintain aesthetic value, attract tenants and customers and control your costs.
— John Gardner, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mid America Specialty Services