If you’re part of your community association’s board, you know that maintenance costs can often add up to an average of 25% or more of your overall expenditures. It’s important to budget for regular upkeep of landscaping and grounds, common areas, facilities, equipment and other routine maintenance that you can project the costs for.
When something unexpected happens – such as a natural disaster or a maintenance issue like a water line break, it can easily toss all your planning out the window. It’s best to plan for the worst, so that you don’t get caught off guard.
Many boards prefer to spend less on regular maintenance because they’ve always got their eye on the budget, which is good. But avoiding relatively small regular upkeep expenses now, only to pay – and pay big-time – later, is an approach that typically backfires in the long run. Small issues have a way of becoming full-blown problems, and when that happens, the costs will probably require a special assessment. By budgeting for routine maintenance and upkeep, you can extend the life of almost everything in your community; developing a relationship with a reliable, forward-thinking community association management company is a great first step.
“A reliable company can get you to where you want to be in no time,” says Anna Albert, CMCA, Community Manager. “With knowledge of local inspectors and experts, along with deep experience in creating predictive maintenance schedules, your local community association management company will help you engineer a proactive program that will provide real savings and wipe away your worries about unexpected maintenance issues.”
Here are the three ways most boards approach maintenance programs. Which one applies to you?

Maintenance Option #1: Reactive Maintenance

This style is based on the old adage “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.” Hopefully not many of you are seeing this as a reflection of your maintenance style,but more boards than you would imagine adopt this kind of approach. While there are obvious upsides to saving money, what happens when  it seems like most of your community has suddenly fallen into disrepair? It can cost a good deal of money to get things operational again. Reactive maintenance is a short-term solution to a long-term challenge, and it’s an approach that rarely pays dividends.

Maintenance Option #2: Preventive Maintenance

While a preventive approach is better than a reactive one, it’s not foolproof. Preventive maintenance is centered around creating regular service schedules for the community’s essentials and engaging with reliable contractors who can complete the work on time and on budget. Think you’ve got everything covered and under control? Think again. This is when that other old adage of “Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” comes into play. You should never underestimate the possibility of a surprise maintenance emergency.
Another important thing to prepare for when you’ve taken a preventive approach to maintenance is the possibility of a new board taking over. A new board may unwittingly void existing contracts and warranties, so it’s important to make sure the new members are “on board” with your preventive maintenance plans. By ensuring a smooth transition from board to board, you can rest assured that preventive maintenance will provide you with a comprehensive, balanced and responsible approach to your community’s maintenance.

Maintenance Option #3: Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance requires ongoing monitoring and inspections of all your buildings, facilities and equipment, so there are no surprises. This provides you with a conclusive snapshot of your community’s maintenance scenario – from which elements are operating at optimum capacity to which ones may need attention in the near future to which ones require immediate attention.

With greater predictability, you aren’t just positioned for financial stability, you are now able to think far enough ahead to implement proactive “green” building practices and choose energy-efficient equipment and materials that will end up saving you more money in the long run. Predictive maintenance is, without a doubt, the style that serves communities best.

For more information on what the right community association management company can do for you, contact FirstService Residential, Maryland’s leading property management company.

Tuesday May 23, 2017