Good maintenance is good management, pure and
simple, but, an aggressive, realistic preventive maintenance plan and a
motivated staff are essential.
Step 1: Aggressive Approach.
The superintendent must be aggressive and
vigilant in keeping to a carefully established schedule.
Step 2: Knowledge.
A proper understanding of how the systems and
equipment in our building work is vital to a successful maintenance program.
A good way to learn about building systems is to ask
questions of the persons who perform repairs; by learning more about the
system, the super can learn to prevent breakdowns.
Another way to learn is to go to school. The Thomas
Shortman school at the Union provides free classes in may aspects of
building management for members of Local 32B-32J. To learn about classes
available in September, contact the Union at (212) 388-3800 or visit their
http://www.seiu32bj.org. New York City Technical College also teaches
many classes in building maintenance and superintendency skills. Contact
CUNY Tech at (718) 260-5500 or visit their website at
A third path to knowledge is to teach those who perform
maintenance what to do. For instance, just how much grease should a pump
get? Too much will overheat the pump; not enough will wear out the bearings.
And, just what kind of grease should one use? Its not so simple if one does
not understand the machine. But the pump should have come with an owner’s
manual. The answer is most probably there. When new equipment is installed,
make sure to get the manual and to keep it in a safe place. If the manual
has been lost, contact the manufacturer, either to get a new manual or the
information you need.
Step 3: Scheduling.
When one understands how a system or piece of equipment works, one has a
good idea of what needs to be done to maintain it. A schedule of maintenance
should be created. Again, an owner’s manual is the preferred reference,
because it spells out the where’s, when’s and how’s.
Step 4: Record Keeping.
Keeping records of individual pieces of equipment and of systems, including
when they were serviced, whether routine maintenance or repair, what was
done and by whom, is a must.
Step 5: Money and Time.
Without having budgeted for a maintenance program, one
cannot expect to carry it out. Money is needed for tools and materials
necessary to a maintenance program. It’s much cheaper to budget for
maintenance than to have to spend money on repairs or replacement.
Finally, we need to schedule staff time to perform the maintenance tasks
adequately and completely in accordance with the schedule established for
each building system.