The True Cost Of Deferred Maintenance

As a property manager, staying on budget is always top of mind. Those unexpected costs can eat up any profit you hoped to achieve. As a manager, you often learn to do less with more.

The True Cost Of Deferred MaintenanceBut no matter what your budget holds for your most critical systems – heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical – if you put off general maintenance, it often comes back to you in the form of higher costs. If you wait for future budgets to rise or become available, you increase the chances of facing significant problems sooner rather than later.

According to Wikipedia, deferred maintenance is defined as the practice of postponing maintenance on real and personal property to save costs, meet funding requirements, or realign budgets to meet other needs.

Yet what is the true cost of this behavior?

According to the Building Owners and Managers Association, building repair and maintenance accounts for around 12 percent of total expenses, with 30 to 50 percent of that being preventative by nature.

When a facility is looking to reduce expenses, they know they can’t put off repairing a water leak, for example. So they turn to things that aren’t high on the to-do list – upgrade to a low flow fixture instead.

But this has costs.

It reduces equipment efficiency

When a piece of equipment is operating correctly, it offers full efficiency. If parts start to break, the rest of the hardware struggles to keep up. If not properly maintained, it may use more energy trying to compensate.

It can expedite entire system failure

Ever scrambled when a whole system shuts down – the air conditioner stops working on the warmest day of the year? Emergency repairs are always more costly in both time and financial terms than regular maintenance.

It increases safety and health risks

As a property manager, you must provide a safe, healthy environment for all who enter. But if the HVAC system isn’t working correctly, it can allow biological growth to form in the ventilation system, which means it reduces indoor air quality. If not working correctly, it can also create unsafe environments, depending on the functionality of your business. A hospital, for instance, can’t afford to have the heating or cooling go out with critical patients inside.

It can put you at risk for fines and shut-downs

When dealing with certain industries, functionality isn’t just about comfort, you might also be making yourself vulnerable to fines and shut-downs. Healthcare facilities have to abide by many different compliance codes. If alarms sound and requirements aren’t met, the people inside your building can be at greater risk. And that makes your building not as valuable.

Still think deferring maintenance is a smart thing to do?

If you want to ensure your building is on track for safety and efficiency, consider a maintenance agreement. It’s the perfect way to ensure longevity for all of your systems and equipment.

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