Change The Oil In Your Building

Are You Changing the Oil In Your Building?

Huh?  My building doesn’t run on oil you reply.  True.  However, I’d like to use a simple analogy to help explain my question.

Everyone I know and interact with on a daily basis owns a vehicle.  Some are impressive sports cars, some are minivans, some are large pick-up trucks and some are basic transportation on 4 wheels.  Most all of these individuals when asked, “Do you change the oil in your vehicle regularly?” all reply of course.  So I continue, “Why do you change the oil?”  The common response is “so it won’t break down and leave me stranded.”  Finally, I ask “do you ever consider skipping an oil change when it’s due?”  Again most all answer “No, I don’t like to take chances or gamble on an unplanned breakdown.”  The percentage of positive responses tend to be closer to 100% the more expensive the vehicle.  It’s interesting when I ask how did they know to change the oil, the answer is usually someone like their father or a person of great respect told them this was an essential part of owning or leasing a vehicle.  Ultimately it goes to back to what we would call the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule.  This is information found in a document that automotive manufacturers refer to as an Owner’s Manual.  Except for the section on how to connect your electronics, does anyone even read these anymore?  And what does this have to do with my building?

As you may know, changing the oil in your vehicle is what’s known as Preventive Maintenance.  It seems self-explanatory to most of us.  Maintenance to prevent failure.  Or maintenance to get the longest life from my vehicle or any other significant asset.  Not only changing oil, but completing other recommended preventive maintenance; rotating tires to get the longest life from them, replacing air filters, and performing tune-ups to get the best efficiency (gas mileage).  According to USA Today, the average price of a vehicle today is $33,560.  If you lease and didn’t purchase, what is your responsibility for maintaining the vehicle to not void your lease?

So let’s talk about your building where you run your business.  How much did you pay for your building?  Or if you lease, how much is your lease and what is your responsibility so as not to void the lease on your space.  Are you completing the preventive maintenance on your building and building equipment recommended by the manufacturer or landlord?

Most business owners we meet do very little preventive maintenance.  We find a very large percentage fall into the “run to failure” category.  This is essentially driving your vehicle and not changing the oil until the engine fails.  You then pay to have the engine overhauled or replaced.  Not a good way to spend your hard earned dollars.

Okay, I have your attention.  Where should I be doing preventive maintenance in my building?

Starting with the building structure itself, your roof, exterior walls, doors/windows, and floors need to be checked regularly.  The concrete and asphalt around the exterior needs to be reviewed.  The heating and cooling equipment needs at least a bi-annual check.  Plumbing, and electrical inspections are necessary.  And the most important is your life safety equipment.

The best way to identify what preventive maintenance is required is to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Check with your local contractors, suppliers, and city building inspectors for their input.  You can extend the life of your building and building equipment and never have to worry about unplanned breakdowns and potential loss of business.  Just make sure to change the oil.

Thomas C. Cook – Team Facilities Inc

More about Preventive Maintenance next month.

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