As a building or property manager, you know that maintenance and upkeep are ongoing concerns. They are also vital in terms of property values and owner satisfaction. So, there should be no question that necessary funding will be available when work needs to be scheduled.

In annual budgeting sessions, however, it can be daunting to request major funding for an unanticipated expense, even if it stems from a major weather event or unexpected system failure. If it’s your duty to plan for and handle routine maintenance and repairs, it can be troublesome to explain the need to address a hidden problem, or to repair a system that is not obviously failing. While most property management boards and associations have contingency funds, if the cost is high enough to require dues increase or special assessment, “troublesome” is an understatement.

How to Plan for the Unexpected

Preparing a graphic timeline of the expected lifespan of each component can be your best ally in explaining the whys of necessary repairs, and to justify preventive maintenance costs and timing.

Everyone understands those kitchen appliances have an expected “failure” date. An individual dishwasher might last longer than the norm, but it’s always wiser to plan for early replacement than to trust in luck. Most people also acknowledge that normal wear and tear and routine maintenance expenses cannot be postponed without risk. Justifying those amounts is relatively easy.

But, how do you plan for the time when the roof will need to be replaced? How should an association budget for total parking lot replacement, or for resurfacing a sports court or pool deck? And how can you assure that there will be sufficient funds to tackle preventive restoration of a building’s plumbing system before a major failure occurs?

Address Alternatives; Listen to Concerns

Alert your governing board to the necessity of advance planning for major renovations and restorations. Outline the life expectancy of each component and system; suggest various “fixes” to address each situation. Demonstrate your expertise by attaching projected costs to each possibility. Defend your preferences with detailed comparative data. Collect pertinent bids in advance, and explain how the work might be scheduled in phases. Justify your requests with the possible consequences of doing nothing or delaying treatment, including major failures and higher costs.

Finally, keep records of problems such as leaky pipes, erratic lighting, and other minor annoyances. They may be warnings of impending major failures.

But, remember that you and the board are, ultimately, on the same team.

Should you find that you have a leaky pipe, reach out to NuFlow Midwest. Our pipe restoration offers a less invasive way to fix pipes while still keeping your tenants’ walls intact.