How to Save Money Through Proactive Building Maintenance

August 6, 2019

Usually, when you purchase something valuable like a home, car, or new appliance, it comes with instructions from the manufacturer and recommendations designed to help you get the most out of your investment. 

Often, this includes a suggested maintenance schedule that outlines parts that need to be routinely inspected, cleaned, or replaced, and how often you should be keeping up with those activities if you want to keep your new item functioning properly. 

Theoretically, following the maintenance schedule outlined by the manufacturer or builder will help extend the life of your property and maintain the value of your investment. Realistically, though, following a maintenance schedule also requires self-discipline, organization, and a willingness to invest additional time and money into what you own.

That’s probably why most of us jump into planned maintenance with the best intentions, but then find priorities changing as time goes on. For example, while traveling the first 10,000 miles in a new car, we’ll probably manage to check all the items off the recommended maintenance list. But after that, the novelty of the new car has worn off, life gets in the way, and we forget. Until we start hearing concerning noises under the hood...

Whether it’s a vehicle, a roof, or a 200,000-square-foot commercial building, failing to pay attention to planned maintenance and inspection schedules can result in expensive and avoidable repairs and replacements that often pop up unexpectedly. That’s why it’s vital for owners and facility managers of commercial buildings to understand and appreciate the need for routine planned maintenance on all building systems, and to make it a priority from day one. 

Planned maintenance makes good business sense

Following a planned maintenance schedule designed for your building’s unique systems can save tens of thousands of dollars annually, and extend the life of your investment by many years. Here are just a few examples of where those savings come from:

Energy efficiency

Energy prices are always in flux, but one thing that doesn’t change is the fact that they make up the largest portion of nearly every commercial building’s operating budget. So, improving the facility’s energy efficiency can result in significant savings. 

Beyond the dollars and cents, you’re likely aware of the increasing public desire for companies to embrace ecological responsibility. So, reducing energy usage in demonstrable ways and creating a more sustainable energy plan can have impressive marketing and PR benefits as well. 

Planned maintenance activities — like replacing air filters, performing routine visual inspections, and keeping up with standard wear and tear — can ensure that every system and building component is running at optimal efficiency. It can also ensure that aging or faulty parts can be replaced before they cause the entire structure to waste energy or lead to an unexpected emergency repair. 

Lifespan of the Asset 

Every component that makes up your commercial building is aging at the same exact rate. While some things are going to wear out faster than others, nothing can justifiably be ignored forever. Let’s use the HVAC system as an example, since it experiences a lot of wear and tear and represents a significant capital expenditure in the making should you let it break down. 

Major commercial HVAC components like chillers cost tens of thousands of dollars, and full-system retrofit or replacement projects can cost hundreds of thousands. Logically, extending the life of the HVAC system by just two or four years can be huge. Not only does it save on capital expenditure now, but it also allows for a more strategic, planned approach to upgrading or replacing the system down the road.

Planned maintenance can ensure that structural and mechanical components throughout the facility are kept clean and running smoothly. It can also identify parts that need to be replaced or upgraded so every system continues running well for as long as possible. This reduces strain on the building and adds years to its productive lifespan.

Improved safety and productivity

A facility where every system is running in top form and every structural element is well maintained provides an optimal living and working environment for machinery and people alike. Whether your facility’s occupants are employees, visitors, or tenants, comfort and safety are vitally important. 

For tenants and casual guests, this isn’t just a matter of legal and ethical obligation. It directly impacts occupant satisfaction, which will be reflected in how well they take care of the property themselves, whether they’re going to renew their lease, and how much they’re willing to pay to use the space. If it’s an event venue, restaurant, or similar property, it could factor into their decision to ever return. So, enhancing the look, feel, and performance of the facility as well as safety can have a direct impact on occupancy and therefore revenue.

If your building is used by employees of your own or your tenant’s business, their productivity every hour of every day is directly affected, along with morale and overall employee satisfaction. For example, a properly heated and/or cooled internal environment has been proven to help employees work more productively. 

The power of mixed reality for facility management

Mixed reality is one incredibly exciting tool that owners and facility managers are finding adds value to many aspects of their facility management programs. Combined with a field-verified, “as-built” constructible model, maintenance technicians and others tasked with handling various maintenance and improvement projects throughout the facility can strap on a mixed-reality headset and see data-rich model components overlaid in real time. 

The following video shows the technology in use by installation crews on a working construction site, illustrating how the model can be compared and contrasted with the as-built environment using mixed reality:

This powerful option can speed up repairs, renovations, and remodels by helping crews locate key connections and available spaces behind current walls and above existing ceilings. It can also help maintenance crews better visualize the result of proposed changes or upgrades without requiring any time-intensive or costly exploratory work. The more extensive a facility’s maintenance requirements, the more time and money mixed-reality technology can save for the owner. 

Planned maintenance across the entire structure can ensure the facility is clean, safe, and comfortable, boosting occupancy, productivity, energy efficiency, and the lifespan of the entire structure.

For all these reasons and many more, a commitment to planned maintenance makes excellent business sense for any commercial building owner or facility manager. To explore tools designed to facilitate the management of a planned maintenance program, visit Trimble’s Real Estate and Workplace hub.

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