For the want of a nail…
Emergency repairs and maintenance are never welcome. And why do they so often seem to occur at the weekend or at night, when the call-out rate is higher? Whilst some things can’t be helped, for every unavoidable repair job there are several more that COULD have been avoided with some foresight, proactivity and better planning.
Kevin McCabe of Clear Building Management explains how to prevent minor issues turning into major headaches.
It can be tempting for a managing agent to try to keep costs down by taking a reactive approach and simply dealing with issues when they arise or are reported.
In our experience, this can be a false economy, as small issues (a loose stair-grip for example) can have the propensity to turn into a major headache (a leaseholder tripping over the sagging carpet and falling down the stairs).
At Clear, we recommend investing in an active and regular search for issues that have not yet been brought to your attention by residents or contractors. As well as helping to identify potential future issues, it frequently means you can also make improvements, rather than just maintaining the status quo.
A proactive approach to maintenance work will almost always save costs in the longer term. Ignoring small problems or scrimping on repairs can lead to sharp spikes in the service charge if emergency works are required.
Identifying and fixing problems before they become major issues is also good risk management: insurance cover is rarely cheap and claims drive up the cost even further – it’s a simple formula that we all understand.
To help us with a proactive approach to property management, we have created three detailed checklists that we use on our site visits and incorporate into our reports. These checklists cover:
- Communal areas inside the block
- Leisure and activity areas
- Communal areas on the site
From availability of roof access ladders to condition of the mailboxes, and from reliability of the lift to the frequency of fire drills, it is fair to say that these checklists are somewhat of a labour of love! They have passed through several iterations as we seek to capture the most information possible from our many years of residential block management experience.
Crucially, our site visit reports – together with the completed checklists – are then sent to all leasehold owners and residents so they can see what we have found.
If you would like a copy of our full property management checklists, please do get in touch with us at Clear Building Management – we’d be pleased to share them with you.
They may just help you to put in place some simple and proactive practices that will make sure that a missing nail doesn’t turn into a maintenance nightmare or, even worse, a health and safety disaster.