Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What is Maintenance Management in Commercial Property Today?

plans and drawings on table
Plan and manage your property maintenance

In commercial and retail property management today the maintenance management procedure and process is highly important to the stability of the cash flow for the landlord.  Every specialist commercial and retail property management agency should provide comprehensive maintenance management services to their clients.  Here are some tips from our bulletin.

The maintenance control service forms part of the specialist property management procedures, and can be tuned to the landlord and the property in question.  Controlled maintenance in a managed property reflects in productive occupancy and better cash flows.

The maintenance of a commercial or retail property will have impact on various stakeholders including:

  • The tenants in the tenancy mix
  • The customers and visitors to the property
  • The contractors undertaking maintenance
  • The financiers for the property
  • The property manager and agency

The maintenance management process is not simply a matter of waiting for a breakdown and repairing relative plant and machinery.  It is all about controlling risk for the landlord and optimising the property for tenant occupation.

The maintenance of a property is an expenditure factor that requires strategy and control.  When it is done well, it removes the volatility of large operational costs from the financial aspects of the property.  Unexpected events are less frequent and that makes a happier landlord.

So the maintenance management process can be best described in the following way:

  1. The property expenditure in commercial, industrial, and retail property covers a number of categories and priorities.  Some of those categories will be controllable where others will be uncontrollable and a matter of fact requiring payment.  Uncontrollable expenditure items are usually associated with costs over which the landlord has no discretion or choice, such as rates and taxes and statutory charges.
  2. A budget process should be set for all income and expenditure activity in a managed property.  That would normally occur prior to the commencement of a financial year.  The budget will also have relevance to outgoings notices and charges that may need to be advised to the tenants.
  3. The history of the property will give some information that is useful in setting up the new property budget.  That being said, most property expenditure will rise based on contractor costs, statutory charges, building codes and compliance, and risk management.  The property manager should give due regard to these expected changes at the time of preparing the budget.
  4. There is a difference between planned maintenance and break down maintenance.  There is also a difference between a comprehensive maintenance program and a basic breakdown response service.  Choices will be made here relative to the demands of the property, the requirements of the tenant mix, and the instructions of the landlord.  The property manager is best placed to understand these pressures and requirements.
  5. Some maintenance issues are of a non-urgent nature and can be processed in a standard way.  The agency should have an established contractor order number system to facilitate those repairs.  Tenants should be advised of the status of the repairs and the completion when reached.
  6. Emergency repairs and response systems should be available in every commercial property agency.  It is only a matter of time before urgent maintenance requirements and unexpected events arise.  The property manager and the agency should have an appropriate response method to use when critical matters and issues of crisis occur.
  7. There is a difference between ordinary repairs and maintenance, verses major capital replacement.  There is a need to differentiate between the maintenance associated with each.  Capital items are usually of a major replacement nature and will be handled differently when it comes to cost processing and taxation.
  8. The landlord and or client owner of the property will have specific instructions and targets when it comes to the processing of maintenance and the establishment of maintenance costs.  The property manager should understand those restraints and requirements so that they can operate within the authorities of the client.

A good maintenance management program will bring benefits to a client through stability of cash flow.  The program will also strengthen the property management services of the agency allowing growth of the client base and market share.  Property management portfolio fees bring stability to agency performance.

Need more tips for commercial or retail property management?   Get our bulletin right here.