When you’re a small business owner who is responsible for your building, you likely don’t have a budget for a facility manager. Building maintenance probably isn’t something that hits your to-do list very often, but is still very important to the longevity and cost of building operation. Having a building maintenance strategy can help you proactively catch repairs, leaks, and heating deficiencies with way less expense out of pocket.
I spoke with our VP of Contract Management, Steve Seibert, about what is the best way for non-facility managers to monitor their buildings realizing that they may have never needed to pay attention to such things. Steve said, “The most important thing to monitor is your building envelope, so that the integrity of the building stays intact.” He is referring to your roof, EIFS, siding, and windows. “Your EIFS needs to be inspected periodically, and every transition of dissimilar materials needs to be re-caulked as needed, especially around windows”. He said that the life span of caulk can last five years or more, but once a year, caulked areas should be examined for any cracks or missing material and be repaired.
Another important part of your strategy is to manage your warranties. According to Steve, “If your single ply roof has a warranty for 15 years, call the manufacturer in year 14 to have them examine it.” Each manufacturer’s warranty will differ a little as it ages, but they should be able to make necessary repairs for little to no cost while it’s in the warranty period. If you wait until year 16, then any repairs or replacements will come completely out of your pocket. Things to look for on a shingled roof include fading, dinginess, and curling.
The same philosophy of knowing your warranty period is true for your HVAC system. In addition to this, Honeywell now offers Light Commercial Building Systems to make smaller commercial buildings SMART at a manageable cost. It is an automated HVAC system operation that can save on heating costs and will notify the appropriate person when the system gets disrupted from its programming. This person will know immediately if there is an issue via an alert to their phone where ever they are.
Other areas to monitor include lighting, electrical, plumbing, fire equipment, and access control. A quick internet search will lead you to thousands of Building Maintenance Checklists telling you specifically what to check on your building. However, our best advice is to keep your building envelope in good and clean condition, which will add to the life span of it and save yourself money and headache, too.
Wolgast Corporation is a commercial contractor specialized in the design and/or construction of medical office, dental office, manufacturing, restaurant, and school buildings. We provide comprehensive services from the design phase through construction and insurance restoration. Call us if you have questions about the longevity of your building