What Is Building Maintenance?

Building maintenance encompasses a range of activities undertaken to uphold and restore the operational efficiency of both residential and commercial properties. These activities encompass various tasks such as cleaning, landscaping, and the upkeep of electrical systems.
What Is Building Maintenance?
Written by
Darren Stewart
Published on
April 12, 2023

Building maintenance encompasses a range of activities undertaken to uphold and restore the operational efficiency of both residential and commercial properties. These activities encompass various tasks such as cleaning, landscaping, and the upkeep of electrical systems. The primary objective is to maintain a secure, functional, and pleasant environment for tenants throughout the year.

Property owners and managers are responsible for providing occupants with comfortable living and working spaces. However, many people overlook the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes to meet these expectations.

Maintenance teams carry out regular inspections, repairs, and replacements of equipment components to ensure that all assets remain operational. On any given day, workers may be involved in tasks such as clearing walkways of snow, replacing HVAC filters, and performing preventive maintenance (PM) activities to ensure uninterrupted operations.

The 7 Types of Building Maintenance

Most building maintenance falls into one of the following 7 categories.

1. Preventive Maintenance

This type of maintenance involves scheduled inspections, cleaning, and servicing of equipment and systems to prevent potential issues before they occur. It aims to minimise downtime and extend the lifespan of building components.

2. Corrective Maintenance 

Also known as reactive maintenance, this type of maintenance is performed in response to a specific issue or malfunction. It involves repairs or replacements of faulty equipment or systems to restore their functionality.

3. Predictive Maintenance

This maintenance strategy relies on data analysis and monitoring to predict when equipment or systems are likely to fail. By using sensors and advanced technologies, maintenance professionals can detect early signs of deterioration and perform proactive repairs or replacements.

4. Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance refers to regular and recurring tasks that are performed on a scheduled basis. It includes activities such as cleaning, inspection of fire safety systems, lubrication of equipment, and testing of backup power sources.

5. Emergency Maintenance 

This type of maintenance is conducted in urgent situations when immediate action is required to address a critical issue that poses a threat to safety or disrupts essential operations. Examples include repairing a burst pipe or fixing a power outage.

6. Cosmetic Maintenance 

Cosmetic maintenance focuses on the appearance of a building and its surroundings. It involves tasks like painting, landscaping, and general aesthetic improvements to enhance the overall visual appeal.

7. Planned Maintenance 

Planned maintenance involves systematically scheduling and organising maintenance activities in advance. It includes tasks such as equipment overhauls, major system upgrades, or renovations that require careful planning and coordination.

8 Types of Building Maintenance Workers

Different maintenance tasks require different areas of specialties. Workers are categorised depending on their responsibilities and experience. We’ve jotted down 8 of the most common types of building maintenance workers.

1. Maintenance Technicians

These workers have a broad range of skills and are responsible for performing various maintenance tasks, including electrical repairs, plumbing maintenance, HVAC system inspections, and general repairs.

2. Electricians

Electricians specialise in electrical systems and are trained to handle wiring, lighting installations, electrical repairs, and troubleshooting electrical issues.

3. Plumbers

Plumbers are skilled in installing, maintaining, and repairing plumbing systems, including pipes, fixtures, faucets, toilets, and water heaters.

4. HVAC Technicians

HVAC technicians specialise in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They are trained to install, maintain, repair, and troubleshoot HVAC equipment to ensure proper functioning and energy efficiency.

5. Carpenters

Carpenters are skilled in working with wood and are responsible for tasks such as repairing or installing doors, windows, cabinets, and other wooden structures.

6. Painters

Painters specialise in painting and finishing work. They are responsible for preparing surfaces, applying paint, and ensuring a smooth and professional finish.

7. Landscapers/Groundskeepers

Landscapers and groundskeepers are responsible for maintaining the outdoor areas of a building, including lawn care, gardening, tree trimming, and overall landscape maintenance.

8. Janitors/Custodians

Janitorial or custodial staff are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the cleanliness of the building's interior, including floors, restrooms, common areas, and other high-traffic areas.

These are just a few examples of the types of building maintenance workers. Depending on the specific needs of a property, there may be other specialised roles or additional maintenance workers involved.

Industries That Practice Building Maintenance

Various types of facilities rely on good building maintenance to ensure their optimal functioning, longevity, and the satisfaction of occupants. Here are some examples:

Residential Buildings

Residential buildings, including apartment complexes, condominiums, and houses, require regular building maintenance to provide safe and comfortable living conditions for residents. Maintenance tasks such as plumbing repairs, electrical inspections, and HVAC maintenance are essential for the well-being of residents.

Commercial Buildings

Commercial buildings encompass a wide range of facilities, including offices, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. These facilities rely on building maintenance to create a pleasant environment for employees, customers, and visitors. Proper maintenance of systems like elevators, fire safety equipment, security systems, and HVAC systems is crucial for smooth operations.

Educational Institutions

Schools, colleges, and universities need good building maintenance to ensure a safe and conducive learning environment for students and staff. Regular maintenance of classrooms, laboratories, libraries, sports facilities, and other areas is necessary to promote a positive educational experience.

Healthcare Facilities

Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities require stringent building maintenance to ensure the well-being of patients, staff, and visitors. Maintenance of critical systems like HVAC, medical equipment, plumbing, and infection control measures is essential to provide a safe and sterile environment.

Industrial Facilities

Industrial facilities such as factories, warehouses, manufacturing plants, and distribution centres rely on building maintenance to ensure efficient operations and worker safety. Maintenance of equipment, machinery, electrical systems, and ventilation systems is critical to prevent breakdowns and accidents.

Public Buildings

Public buildings, including government offices, libraries, museums, cultural centres, and community centres, need regular maintenance to serve the public effectively. Building maintenance tasks such as general repairs, cleanliness, accessibility, and functional amenities contribute to a positive user experience.

Hospitality and Tourism Facilities

Hotels, resorts, theme parks, and other tourism-related facilities rely heavily on building maintenance to provide a memorable guest experience. Proper maintenance of guest rooms, common areas, landscaping, pools, and recreational facilities is necessary to uphold the reputation and attractiveness of these establishments.

In general, good building maintenance is crucial for any facility that aims to provide a safe, functional, and enjoyable environment for occupants, employees, customers, or visitors.

Certifications and Training for Building Maintenance Workers

There are several popular certifications and training programs available for building maintenance workers to enhance their skills and knowledge in the field. Here are some examples:

1. Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRT): Offered by the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP), this certification validates the knowledge and skills of maintenance technicians in areas such as equipment reliability, preventive and predictive maintenance, troubleshooting, and safety practices.

2. Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT): This certification is specifically designed for maintenance technicians working in the multifamily housing industry. It covers various topics, including electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, appliance repair, and customer service skills.

3. Facilities Management Professional (FMP): The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offers the FMP certification, which covers a wide range of facilities management topics, including maintenance and operations, project management, sustainability, and finance.

4. Building Operator Certification (BOC): The BOC program provides comprehensive training and certification for building operators, including maintenance technicians. It covers energy efficiency, HVAC systems, lighting, controls, and overall building performance.

5. Electrical Training and Certification: Various organisations and institutions offer electrical training and certification programs, such as Certified Electrician, Certified Electrical Technician, or specific certifications for different electrical systems, like programmable logic controllers (PLCs) or solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

6. HVAC Certifications: There are several HVAC certifications available, such as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification, which validates technicians' knowledge and expertise in HVAC installation, maintenance, and service.

7. Plumbing Certifications: Plumbing certifications, such as Journeyman Plumber or Master Plumber, are offered by state licensing boards or professional organisations to demonstrate proficiency in plumbing systems installation, repair, and maintenance.

In addition to these certifications, there are also training programs and courses offered by vocational schools, trade associations, and equipment manufacturers that cover specific skills and technologies relevant to building maintenance, such as electrical troubleshooting, green building practices, energy management, and equipment-specific training. It's important to research and choose certifications and training programs that align with the specific needs and requirements of your desired career path in building maintenance.

Examples of Building Maintenance

Routine tasks include:Certainly! Here's a bullet point list of some example building maintenance tasks:

  • Conduct regular inspections of building systems, equipment, and facilities.
  • Perform routine cleaning and sanitation of common areas, restrooms, and high-traffic areas.
  • Repair or replace faulty electrical switches, outlets, and lighting fixtures.
  • Inspect, maintain, and repair plumbing systems, including pipes, faucets, and toilets.
  • Test and service HVAC systems, including cleaning filters, checking refrigerant levels, and calibrating thermostats.
  • Perform preventive maintenance tasks, such as lubricating machinery and conducting equipment diagnostics.
  • Address and fix minor carpentry issues, such as repairing doors, windows, and cabinets.
  • Paint and touch up walls, ceilings, and other surfaces as needed.
  • Conduct regular landscaping and grounds maintenance, including mowing lawns, trimming bushes, and clearing walkways.
  • Inspect and maintain fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems.
  • Test and maintain emergency backup power systems.
  • Respond promptly to maintenance requests and address any issues reported by tenants or occupants.
  • Monitor and maintain building security systems, including surveillance cameras and access control systems.
  • Inspect and maintain elevators, escalators, and other vertical transportation systems.
  • Conduct regular pest control measures to prevent infestations.
  • Keep accurate records of maintenance tasks, repairs, and equipment servicing.

Please note that this is just a sample list, and the specific tasks required for building maintenance can vary depending on the type of facility and its unique needs.

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