If you are one to observe and appreciate architecture or you are perhaps someone that pays attention to detail, it is most likely that at one point or another you have uttered or heard the familiar phrase “we lack maintenance culture” when referencing the state of properties generally in Nigeria. The world “WE” in the sentence is very appropriate because only few people I know appreciate preventive maintenance. This may sound like a strong indictment on our real estate but it is a reality that must be discussed with a view to change perspectives and the maintenance culture we have.
It is mind boggling to me that investors, landlords and occupiers having spent money on a property seem to lack further interest in ensuring that its value, quality and looks are kept intact. I had a discussion recently with someone who seemed knowledgeable and whilst discussing the capex and opex of owning and operating a car, they dropped the bomb shell that “I don’t have to maintain the car because I bought a very good ‘Tokunboh’ (oversea used) car”.
It made me think. If people can have such attitudes towards a high maintenance item such as a car, what are their view towards property which has greater longevity? Surely to think that a property and its facilities will last another 365 days without complete failure is folly? For landlords and property investors especially, having a well maintained property is essential to their property remaining competitive and attractive in the property market.
The word maintenance is widely used but done so loosely without a full understanding of the term. In simple terms:
Maintenance is everything that we need to do or not to do to ensure an asset, equipment or gadget is fit for purpose every time throughout its life cycle. There are two main types of maintenance; Proactive and Reactive maintenance.
Proactive maintenance is about ensuring assets do not break down and are fit for purpose throughout their life cycle. There are two main types of proactive maintenance- preventive and predictive maintenance.
Preventive maintenance involves establishing the lifespan of the components of the equipment and replacing them shortly before the expiring date whether or not they are bad. The expiring date is usually advised by the manufacturer, imposed by statutory bodies or recommended professional bodies. For example, changing the engine oil of a generator after it has ran at 100 hours irrespective of whether the oil is good or bad. Another example is the servicing of an AC component at three month intervals whether or not they are dirty or require servicing. The benefit of this type of proactive maintenance is that it reduces the failure rate of the equipment to the barest minimum. This maintenance is recommended for sensitive and important assets, the disadvantage however is that this approach can be quite costly and not cost efficient.
Predictive maintenance involves confirming from time to time if the component(s) of an asset requires maintenance based on the recommended specification for the component. The confirmation is done using test equipment and trade experience etc. This can be a good maintenance strategy for cost efficiency although it is not as effective as preventive maintenance.
Reactive maintenance is doing what is necessary to repair or replace an asset(s) to make it fit for purpose. In this case, it means that the asset can no longer perform the purpose it was installed for without repair, e.g. a generator shuts down and refuses to start or a leaking tap in the kitchen sink etc.
Run to failure is a special form of reactive maintenance used for equipment that are not essential or assets that are more expensive to maintain than to replace. In this instance, the equipment is used until it has reached the peak of its wear and tear before changing it. A good example is the bulb we use in our homes.
The most advisable type of maintenance strategy is the Reliability Centered Maintenance strategy (RCM). This involves the right mix of all the above mentioned maintenance strategies based on the critical condition of the equipment, maintenance cost versus replacement cost and availability of maintenance service experts. This method is very effective and efficient and can be used in all types and forms of facilities.
The existence of all property assets and the building itself require effective maintenance to elongate their lifespan, to be fit for purpose, and to perform their set objectives. The choice of maintenance is greatly dependent on the knowledge and experience of the users or facilities managers and the availability of the right resources.
Whatever strategy you choose to adopt, it is important to note that maintenance is a vital necessity and not to be left to chance, which in many cases is also a cheaper option than breakdowns and emergencies.
By Oladipupo Bakare (Lead Property Manager)
Our property management team applies the RCM strategy and keeps robust records of maintenance to ensure the best service to our landlord clients and residents. If you have need of maintenance for your property you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org where we will be happy to assist you.