If there’s one thing everyone involved in the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion can agree on, it’s that it could have been prevented. Granted the explosion and resulting oil spill is a worst case scenario, but it begs the question: Do you have the appropriate commercial construction preventive maintenance checklist in place?
Whether you own or manage a shopping center building, office building, restaurant or retail store, what is not investing in your commercial construction maintenance budget now going to cost you later?
As a commercial construction general contractor, it’s our job to know not only what equipment needs to be checked and how often, but the difference in construction costs to maintain equipment verses replacing it. We can also help put a commercial construction safety plan into place in the case of equipment malfunction.
That said, listed below are some items that should be routinely reviewed to ensure your existing or new commercial construction project is running at optimal performance. For a more detailed preventive maintenance construction punch list you can email me.
- HVAC – The typical rooftop unit should be checked every quarter. Investing a minimal amount each quarter in the construction maintenance costs of your HVAC can drastically increase its longevity. Do you want the HVAC to last five years or 15? If you don’t maintain your HVAC, you could spend as much as $10,000 for a rooftop unit. That doesn’t include the construction costs to rent a crane to remove the old unit, install the new unit and power down the building or retail store. Plus, certain rooftops aren’t accessible by a crane and instead require the rental of a helicopter at a minimum of $3,000 an hour. For example, any rooftop work at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill., requires a bird.
- Electric – Electricians and breaker manufacturers suggest annual reviews before a retail store or office opens. If you exercise your breakers by shutting them off and on to make sure they run you can diminish them shutting down accidentally.
- Plumbing – Needs to be reviewed once a year. When it comes to restaurant maintenance, a number of restaurants have annual jetting of the pipes.
- Kitchens – The health department walks these once a year. At the least your restaurant construction contractor should touch up the caulk and grout before the inspector’s visit.
- Roof – Some shopping center owners forget you can have a warranty on the center’s roof for 10, 15 or 20 years – just like you can a home, as long as you have it inspected. Along this same line you should also keep up with the maintenance of the mall’s parking lot, landscaping and the shell of building.
As a shopping center landlord, or commercial property manager, having the appropriate preventive maintenance plan in place can also help you secure new tenants or help in rental negotiation.
For example, we are often brought in by tenants during the inspection process of a new store location to estimate just how much equipment or fixtures can be reused to keep their retail construction costs down.
In situations where the existing mechanicals have not been properly maintained, the prospective tenant often goes back to the shopping mall landlord or property management team to negotiate a lower rent. In the extreme case where the vacant store has been neglected for too long or the construction renovation costs to get the equipment up to code are too high, the tenant might just opt out and move onto a different location.
I know everyone is watching their bottom line right now and we’re all guilty at one time or another of thinking “if it’s not broke, why fix it?” But as we all learned from the Deepwater Horizon explosion, we often don’t know something is broken until it’s too late.
What’s the most recent preventive maintenance job you’ve encountered and what was the outcome?
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