Proactive thinking has all kinds of benefits for block managers, not least the amount of money you can save your clients by avoiding unnecessary callouts and costly repairs.
Cost-effective maintenance planning can be a game changer for property professionals, but how does it work, and where do you start? Executive Chair of The Property Institute, Nigel Glen, shares his expert insight and top tips.
How does proactive maintenance save me money?
1. Cheap repairs, not costly replacements
Proactive maintenance prevents your systems from total breakdown. By nipping potential issues in the bud, managers can save money on major repairs to their block. "Replacing an entire lift or boiler is much more expensive than replacing a single part or fixing a minor wiring fault before those small things lead to a bigger malfunction", Nigel affirms.
The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) states that as best practice, you should undertake 70% planned maintenance and 30% reactive repairs. By proactively investing time in planned maintenance, you free yourself up to react faster and more effectively to urgent repairs, ensuring you get there before the problem becomes expensive.
How should you be spending your time?
2. It makes the most of your manpower
Proactive maintenance also saves you money when it comes to labour hours. Unchecked systems can lead to time-consuming repairs — the longer these repairs take, the more money you spend on contractors and tradespeople and the more time you have to spend managing the problem. Manpower can be expensive, and proactive maintenance checks are often much quicker, as your contractor only needs to assess the area for any potential faults.
Moreover, being proactive means knowing exactly what needs to be done and when — so you can spread costs evenly throughout the year and spend less on open-ended repairs.
"Working closely with contractors and tradespeople will help make proactive maintenance much smoother. Very often, they will have specific knowledge that can help you plan maintenance in the most efficient and effective way." Nigel adds.
3. You can get it done in one
Planning ahead also means getting all your work done in one go, minimising the additional cost of secondary callouts and repeat trips. As Nigel explains: "A good example of proactive maintenance in action would be the routine replacement of lightbulbs. It’s something I used to see in the oil industry. Every two years, we would replace all the light bulbs in a petrol station, regardless.”
“That sounds at first rather crazy, replacing bulbs that are working. But the fact was, before LEDs, bulbs would only last a couple of years. That meant you were actually saving yourself repeated visits to change bulbs as and when they finally blew, thereby saving time, money and inconvenience in the long run. Modern LEDs have a lifespan of 1.5 years, meaning this particular example is something to think about, especially if they are on continuously or for extended periods.”
“Bunching your projects together can save money in the long term. For instance, when you have scaffolding up for external redecorations, that is the perfect time to assess the quality of your window frames and check on doors.”
How can I start saving with proactive maintenance?
"To start saving money with proactive maintenance, managers should think about what needs doing over the next few years and log and record all their work. Talk to your contractors and ask them, on the basis of their expertise, where they think maintenance can be improved. Discuss it with your clients, as you will need their buy-in too. If you make sure that the majority of the legwork is done before the maintenance work is required, you will find yourself saving time and money once it's underway."
"Proactive thinking means you won't need to pay extra for last-minute callouts or major repairs on systems that have gone unchecked, which is a positive for everyone involved," Nigel concludes.
We can help you get started
The right software is invaluable when it comes to working more proactively. With Fixflo, you can schedule Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) tasks regularly and receive automated reminders when work is due. Book a demo now and let the savings start.