Today’s post is authored by BOMA Vice President Lisa M. Prats, CAE.
Benjamin Franklin is famous for saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That sentiment certainly rings true today when it comes to commercial buildings and the importance of preventive maintenance. According to BOMA International’s Experience Exchange Report, an annual benchmarking report of office building income and expenses, overall repair and maintenance expenses increased a whopping 5.9 percent last year, with HVAC leading the way with a 6.5 percent increase. Isn’t it time you took a serious look at your O&M expenses and dusted off your preventive maintenance plan to make sure you are maximizing efficiencies, time and money? Why, you ask? Because a properly implemented maintenance program increases property values, tenant satisfaction and building safety and security. How, you ask? First let’s look at the cost of a preventive maintenance program. The following is an actual case study from BOMA International’s Preventive Maintenance Guidebook: Best Practices to Maintain Efficient and Sustainable Buildings.
A property manager compared the relative cost of performing or not performing preventive maintenance at properties with different types of HVAC systems—central plants, individual units/VAV systems and properties where only non-leasable areas are maintained. In all but the last example, the relative cost per square foot of performing preventive maintenance was significantly less than not performing maintenance. But, even in the case where it was more expense to perform maintenance on only the non-leasable areas, the savings in other areas such as energy and capital replacements offset the additional expense.
Still not convinced? What about this fact—well-maintained properties are more marketable, command higher prices and achieve higher tenant satisfaction and retention rates. Just think of buying an existing office building the way you buy a used car. If the car is clean, well-maintained and has a well-documented repair and service record, then the ownership risk is lowered, the investment is more secure, lending and insurance costs are lower and the market price is higher. According to BOMA International’s What Office Tenants Want office tenant survey results, maintenance/engineering is one of the top five factors in overall tenant satisfaction. And, we all know that tenant satisfaction drives tenant retention!
Finally, a well-executed preventive maintenance program impacts building safety, security and sustainability. It reduces the risk of fire; electrical explosions; leaks of water, refrigerant and sewage; injury and other losses. It also minimizes any negative impact on the environment through optimal performance of the building’s systems.
Benjamin Franklin is also famous for saying, “A little neglect may breed great mischief…for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.” I wonder if old Ben was a building engineer in a previous life.