Building maintenance plays an important role in prolonging the lifespan of a commercial or industrial property. Without it, buildings could fall into disrepair. Below, you will find the different causes of building maintenance failures and deterioration.
What Are the Causes of Building Maintenance?
A building is an asset and can be one of the largest investments anyone can make. Thus, it is within a building owner’s best interests to perform proper maintenance or hire professionals to do so. This will help preserve the structural integrity of the building as well as its initial appearance and functionality. And, as a result, the building will manage to retain its value.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of assets, buildings do deteriorate over time. This is a natural process, though there are certain factors that purposely and significantly contribute more to the deterioration than others. The first step in ensuring adequate maintenance is to understand the causes of building deterioration.
Here are the most common causes of building maintenance owners should know about and prepare for.
1. Lack of Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is a type of maintenance procedure that aims to prevent damages or malfunctions in the building. It anticipates potential problems and addresses them before they can even start to show. Preventive maintenance is vital to any building maintenance process as it helps extend the lifespan of the building and its components.
Some examples of preventive maintenance include:
- Checking and cleaning the gutters to prevent overflow, leakage, and damage
- Servicing mechanical and electrical equipment
- Cleaning and servicing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC)
- Checking the roof and ceilings for any signs of leaks or water damage
- Lubricating equipment parts
- Conducting frequent general inspections
2. Low-Quality Materials
One of the causes of building defects that can be traced to the very start is the use of low-quality materials during construction. Owners who are fortunate enough to oversee the construction of the building should make sure to use quality materials. A building made with poor-quality materials is more vulnerable to damage and deformation. Down the line, building owners will have to shell out more money to cover necessary repairs and replacements.
On the other hand, owners who buy already-constructed buildings should do their due diligence. Before buying, potential owners should ask current owners for complete details, including the building’s blueprint and the materials used to construct it. At this point, it is a good idea to consult a structural engineer to see if the building is even worth purchasing or will only cause headaches in the future.
3. Not Hiring Skilled Professionals
Building maintenance is not something that can be left in the hands of unqualified individuals. It involves a lot of work and requires a certain level of expertise across a wide range of topics. Thus, building owners should see to it that they hire skilled maintenance professionals to aid them. Leaving it to amateurs can only end in disaster.
4. Lack of a Building Maintenance Policy
Another one of the major causes of poor maintenance of a building is the lack of a maintenance policy. Building maintenance should rely on a schedule and a standard set of procedures for each component. As such, property owners should draft a manual (or have a professional draft one for them) that includes all of the building’s intricacies and maintenance requirements. It is also best to adhere to an established schedule, especially for preventive maintenance. This way, owners will not miss anything important.
5. Weak Workmanship
Poor workmanship is akin to using substandard materials in the construction phase of the building. For instance, a designer that fails to consider the contraction and expansion of materials might neglect to include proper spacing. Unskilled laborers can also contribute to faulty craftsmanship. While they may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, all of these things can contribute to early deterioration.
6. Limited Maintenance Budget
Building maintenance demands an adequate budget. Maintenance work does not come free — it requires quality materials and tools as well as qualified workers. But, as owners wish to cut back on expenses, many fail to allocate sufficient funds to building maintenance. And, with no money in the budget, no work can be done. Even the smallest of problems can quickly snowball into expensive ones.
To avoid this, property owners should always make room in the annual budget for maintenance and repairs. Unlike more frivolous expenses, this is something that owners can’t skimp on.
7. General Neglect
Some building owners think their job ends after signing the papers. But, to ensure a long lifespan for the property, owners must not have a nonchalant attitude. Many buildings suffer damage and deteriorate due to the owner’s neglect. Necessary repairs might be postponed until the damage becomes too large to handle.
8. Poor Treatment by Occupants
One of the causes of building maintenance that owners have little to no control over is poor treatment by occupants. For instance, an apartment building is home to many tenants, not all of whom will take care of the property as if it was their own. The same goes for the tenants of a commercial building.
9. Building Obsolescence
The obsolescence of a building can be caused by several factors, including the decline of a neighborhood or the advent of new technology. When this happens, a building can lose its utility, leading to poor maintenance.
Vandalism can have a negative impact on property values. It sends a bad signal about the state of the neighborhood. But, vandalism in and of itself does not directly cause damage to a building; rather, it is the repeated act of removing the graffiti from the wall. Repetitive scrubbing and the use of harsh chemicals can leave lasting damage to different types of materials, such as stone, brick, and even concrete.
Buildings are generally built with a specific purpose in mind. Sometimes, though, an owner will abandon a building after construction or use it in a manner which it was not intended. Suffice it to say, these two things can lead to the quick deterioration of a building, as equipment and components sit idle.
More Than Just Time and Money
Obviously, there are many causes of building maintenance and deterioration. Apart from costing a lot of time and money, these factors can put the building’s inhabitants in danger. Without proper maintenance, a building can collapse or malfunction, risking the safety of the individuals inside and putting the owner in legal trouble.
Maintenance Specialists, Inc. provides a wide variety of maintenance services to commercial properties. Call us today at 704.405.6000 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.
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