Developing a Preventive Maintenance Plan for your Co-op

Regular care and monitoring of your co-op’s assets and mechanical equipment is something all co-op staff are responsible for. While many co-ops may have set up detailed schedules, many others likely rely on the memory of a staff member to know when equipment service occurred and is due again.

If your co-op does not have a formal plan in place, setting up a schedule for preventive maintenance can seem like a daunting task, especially if one may not be familiar with the function of specific equipment.

Here’s a step-by-step suggestion on how to develop a preventive maintenance plan.

Step 1: Identify your assets.

Start a list of mechanical components like boilers, pumps, fans, hot water tanks, air compressors, air conditioning, heating and ventilation units. Write down the manufacturer, model numbers, the location and the function of the equipment. Interior finishes like hallway carpet or vinyl flooring require regular maintenance and upkeep. Structural elements like wooden railings, roof shingles, gutters and downspouts also require periodic inspection and upkeep. List any item that requires inspection and service. Group items by categories such as Fire, HVAC, Plumbing, Elevator, Interior Finish etc.

Step 2: Determine the Frequency of Maintenance.

How often do you vacuum your hallway carpets? How often are they professionally cleaned? How often are the air conditioner filters changed? For fire safety devices, your co-op’s Fire Safety Plan is an important document to determine the frequency for testing and inspecting equipment. Frequency would be defined as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, every two years etc.

Step 3: Who does the service?

Make a list of the contractors or vendors that your co-op uses, including co-op staff. For instance, the staff Cleaner may vacuum hallway carpets weekly, but a service company may be brought in once or twice a year to shampoo or steam clean carpets. The Maintenance Worker may change the Make-Up Air Unit (MUA) filters monthly, but your mechanical contractor may inspect and service the MUA yearly. The elevator service company is likely on site for quarterly visits. Who do you use for overhead garage door service? Many co-ops outsource their monthly fire alarm tests in addition to the annual testing and reporting.

Step 4: Create a calendar.

Determine which month of the year site visits occur. Mechanical service companies may be on site every month. Carpet cleaning may happen in June and December. Garage door service could be September and annual fire alarm testing could fall in November.

That’s about it. Use any format you are comfortable with. I like Excel as a spreadsheet because it is easy to insert rows and columns to add or expand information and the filtering function is useful to isolate items and categories such as HVAC items or all SEMI-ANNUAL tasks.

Most importantly, don’t sweat it. Accumulating and sorting information is a gradual exercise. It takes time and constant revision but having the information in a document is valuable for reference and helpful during a staffing transition.

Kent Price