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  • Writer's pictureScott Isacksen

Preventive Maintenance Defined

A large part of my focus for Tci Building Services is to help establish necessary preventive maintenance routines to protect apartment investments. Maintenance is discussed, but I hadn't stopped to clearly point out the definition.

I used the definition provided here:

Systematic inspection, detection, correction, and prevention of incipient failures, before they become actual or major failures. Contrasted with corrective maintenance.

The first word in the definition systematic is so important.

Systematic means that there is a set routine or program in place that is followed.

You are not doing preventive maintenance if it is not systematic.

We all have routines we either consciously or unconsciously follow. Teeth are brushed before bed, oil is changed in the car when the mileage reaches the point the sticker tells us. We go through predictable motions in the morning as we get ready for our day.

A building has cycles that stretch much farther out and we cannot rely on unconscious habit to guide the needed work. There is annual work, 5 year items, and some things that won't come up for 30 years.

Putting a system in place is essential to ensure needed routines happen on your property to protect your investment.

Moving on to the next words, inspection, detection, correction, and prevention are fairly clear. We need to have someone look at the property, know what they are looking for, and fix it or stop a problem from happening.

This can be fixing a trip hazard before it becomes an injury, fixing a crack before it becomes a leak, or fixing a slow drain before it is a clog. Most of these actions are much easier and require a lower skill level to correct than the result of ignoring it.

Incipient failures is what we are looking for. Incipient is a word we seldom see.

Incipient Failure is a partial failure in which the degradation is barely noticeable and can be regarded as a very early symptom of a degradation under development.

Basically, fix the little problems and vulnerabilities before they turn into big ones.

We generally know that the goal of preventive maintenance is to do that, but the systematization of the process is so important for it to really be preventive maintenance.

Do you have established routines written out for your property?

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