Preventative Maintenance in Strata
This article aims to assist our clients to avoid the pitfalls of poor maintenance of common property, namely:
- Poor reliability of assets
- Compromised safety
- Shorter life spans that are likely to result in unplanned upgrades or replacements
- Emergency repairs that can result in insurance claims that have an impact on future insurance premiums
Legislative obligations exist to keep common property assets in a state of good and serviceable repair. Here are our tips for strong preventative maintenance programs which will also assist with capital works planning.
Asset documents include warranties and manuals. Initial maintenance schedules are required to be created by original owners of new strata buildings. It is the norm for warranty conditions to state that the assets must be serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements.
Copies of these documents should be provided to your maintenance contractor.
MAINTENANCE SERVICE REPORTING
There is an opportunity for reporting expectations to be refined. Business practice to-date is to focus on the provision of a safe-work statement where needed. We recommend the following expectations should be incorporated into each maintenance contract:
- Copies of service reports detailing what was tested, how exactly this was done and when. The more detail the better eg settings, pressures, emergency functions
- An assessment of where the asset is in its life cycle, and a regular review of this assessment
- Contractor to pre-advise, perhaps 18 months in advance, of the likely need for asset upgrades or replacements.
The suggested expectations aim to provide adequate time for proper review and consideration of any upcoming asset decisions.
An independent audit of both the asset and the related maintenance contract by a specialist might be a prudent step for a highly complex and expensive asset. In addition to establishing comfort as to the safety and compliance of the asset, an independent audit also enables you to:
- assess the quality of the maintenance,
- identify shortcomings that might be rectified at no extra cost,
- provide clarity on what should be expected or included to the contract clauses,
- can advise as to market assessment of labour rates if specified in the contracts.
ASSET LIFE CYCLES
Inadequate maintenance can lead to excessive wear which can lead to the pitfalls listed at the top of this Guide. The following information is indicative only. Advice should be sought from specialists in the respective areas.
Lift manufacturers usually provide spare part availability for 20 years. The decision to replace or modernize should not be only about cost, it should be about the reset of life cycles, the achievement of current Codes and ongoing hazard and risk assessment management.
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) are usually the biggest contributor of electricity consumption, approx.. 40% of total building electricity and up to 70% of base building electricity. Thus efficiency opportunities exist when servicing or replacing items such as cooling towers, pumps, heaters, fans etc. HVAC equipment life cycles range from between 5 to 10 years for smaller systems and up to 15 years for more complex plant and equipment.
Hot water units, cold water pumps, water storage tanks are examples of hydraulic assets. Similar to HVAC the life cycles can range from as little as 5 years.
Examples of these assets include lighting systems, electrical distribution boards and circuit breakers, components of which can have different life cycles.
If you have any questions, simply contact your Strata Plus strata manager.