Building Maintenance

What is building maintenance?

Building maintenance includes a wide variety of tasks depending on the particular business or organization. It encompasses a great deal of “behind the scenes” work to ensure that a facility or building remains functional and comfortable for its users.

Building maintenance includes cleaning common areas, removing trash regularly, and repairing items that are broken. It can involve inspecting, repairing, and maintaining electrical systems, heating and air conditioning systems, and other utility services.

In some cases, building maintenance extends to the outdoor property as well and includes sprinkler management, lawn care, and landscape management.

Types of building maintenance workers

Building maintenance workers are typically divided by experience and responsibilities.

  • Janitor: These individuals typically handle the cleaning of a building or facility. This includes mopping floors, vacuuming carpets, cleaning bathrooms, and washing windows and glass doors.
  • Maintenance technician: These team members perform the inspection, repair, and maintenance of building systems including HVAC, electrical, and water. Tasks are typically assigned by work orders and maintenance workers report to supervisors who oversee their tasks.
  • Maintenance supervisor: Supervisors plan, assign, and manage a team of maintenance workers for a particular shift. They review incoming work orders as well as short- and long-term objectives to prioritize the maintenance department’s work for the day or week. Maintenance supervisors also handle personnel issues such as interviewing, hiring, and training maintenance workers.

Example of building maintenance

A building maintenance department handles all the systems, repairs, and ongoing tasks to keep a facility running each and every day. Often, other employees of the business take much of the maintenance team’s work for granted. They simply expect that the building will be kept clean, the snow will be removed in the winter, and the air conditioning will be on in the heat of the summer.

An apartment complex is one example of a business that has varying building maintenance needs. Management requires regular lawn and landscape care of the property as well as cleaning and repairing units as residents move in and out. Residents themselves initiate work orders with appliance repair requests or pest control problems. Common areas also require cleaning.

Organizations that use building maintenance

  • Businesses: Just about every business requires building maintenance services. Smaller organizations tuck these responsibilities under general operations and outsource services themselves. Larger businesses maintain an in-house maintenance department to manage these needs.
  • Residential complexes: Apartment or condominium complexes maintain a team of building maintenance workers to inspect, repair, and manage all the indoor and outdoor maintenance needs of the entire complex.
  • Government: Municipalities utilize building maintenance teams to ensure city buildings, post offices, and libraries are in good working order to serve the needs of the public.

Building maintenance certifications and training

Building maintenance workers can apply for various certifications to increase their skills and advance their careers.

  • Building Systems Maintenance Certifications: Offered by BOMI International, an independent institute for property and facility management, this certificate is recommended for those who maintain building systems. The certification covers efficient energy management, HVAC, plumbing, and water treatment topics.
  • Building Operator Certification: Offered through a network of approved providers, this certification provides level one and level two training. Topics covered include energy management, electrical distribution, control point management, and HVAC.
  • HVACR Certification: Apprenticeships through the Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Association of Home Builders help maintenance workers achieve HVACR certification. Candidates are tested on their knowledge about heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and radiation.

Building maintenance news and resources

  • International Facilities Management Association: IFMA is the largest association for facility management professionals and provides a wealth of knowledge and resources for professionals. Publications such as FMJ Magazine and Wire newsletter keep members up to date on latest developments and a knowledge library provides a great deal of information. Networking directories are available as well.
  • Association for Facilities Engineering: AFE is a professional organization that provides resources for all professionals working in the “built environment.” Professional development opportunities, local chapters, and an association newsletter provide excellent sources of information for building maintenance professionals.