If tenants are the heart of a building, than the structure and equipment in that building is its lifeblood.  Without properly functioning systems, costs will rise, tenants will become dissatisfied and the property will degrade. Over time it will lose value and become less of a viable entity.

Much like your body needs proper care, nutrition, and regular check-ups, the equipment in a building needs the same.  That is the fundamental principal behind the need for a preventive maintenance program.

This certainly isn’t a new or revolutionary concept. However, truly successful PM programs are often perceived as hard to implement and manage in the commercial real estate space.

The reasons for that are fairly obvious:

1.       In a business driven by the issue of the moment, a PM program is a long-term investment with a difficult to identify return.

2.       There may be a short-term investment strategy that conflicts with the long-term nature of a PM program.

3.       The PM program requires knowledge and expertise owned by a few.

4.       Relevant and important information is difficult to access.

5.       There is no visibility into activity, problems and results.

6.       Electronic or online systems that promise to simplify the PM process are often overwhelming, complex and difficult to implement.

7.       Staff is overwhelmed and resists the input of sufficient data necessary to realize full system benefit.

So what is required to implement a PM program that delivers results?


Everything must begin with an underlying senior management belief that a successful PM program is a core strategic objective.

Management Will

There will often be pushback from teams and there is a change management component to the implementation.

  • The most common complaint will be lack of time to input what maintenance teams will portray as a huge volume of information to input.
  • This cannot and should not be a manual operation any longer. True efficiency requires automation of the PM process.
  • While good systems will help, at the beginning, this is a project that must be managed.

Cooperative Teams

  • PM is everybody’s concern and should not just be relegated to the maintenance staff or outsourced providers. The maintenance team needs commitment and help from management to do their job well and deserves input into the program.

A system that works for you

There are many available system choices to consider and evaluate. Ease of use and system reliability should be a given.  The critical evaluation factor should be to find a system that is designed to help you accomplish your specific PM objectives.

Guidance from knowledgeable partners.

Much like the internal requirement of a cooperative team, your system provider must be committed to a long-term partnership far beyond the initial sale. You will require expertise and knowledge from them about what it takes for a successful implementation.

As we wrap up 2010 and prepare for the New Year, this is time of budgets, planning and resolutions.

Make a resolution to commit time to evaluate and plan for the long-term health of your building by taking a long, hard look at the condition of your preventive maintenance program.