Having settled into your newly refurbished office space, you’ll want to ensure all your systems stay in good working order and that the space is kept safe and clean for clients and employees. This means putting a maintenance schedule in place to cover everything from air conditioning units and fire safety equipment to carpet cleaning.
Areas of responsibility
Once you’ve moved in and unpacked, speak to your office fit out company about setting up maintenance agreements with suppliers and service people. Typically, if you’re leasing space in a commercial building, your areas of responsibility will include at least:
- air conditioning
- fire safety systems
- water filtration
- pump out units
- office cleaning.
You can ask the building manager or owner for a complete list. And if you’re leasing the whole space, or you own the building you may also need to think about elevators, bathrooms, windows and security systems, etc.
How often is often enough?
When and how often to maintain something largely depends on how often it’s used. For example, if you’re running your air con from 7 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday, units may need maintaining every three months, particularly in polluted areas. If, on the other hand, you can open windows in your office and you’re only running the air con during the hottest weeks of the year, an annual service may be sufficient.
Likewise, when it comes to, say, your water filtration unit, you’ll need to consider how many people are using it. If you’re an office of three people, it’s probably only filtering a couple of litres per day. If, however, you have 30 employees it could be churning through 30 to 40 litres a day and will need maintaining on a more regular basis.
While staying up to date with all of your scheduled maintenance will help to keep everything in top condition, this also serves to safeguard your warranties in case anything major goes wrong.
For instance, you may have a five-year warranty on a particular piece of equipment, but if you’re not maintaining it and it becomes defective, your warranty may be null and void. If it’s the toaster in the office kitchen it’s not such a problem, but you could be talking about a $40,000 air conditioning unit. Without a valid warranty, you’ll need to pay for repairs or replacement out of your own pocket.
Fire safety inspections
Another maintenance area you definitely cannot afford to ignore is fire safety. Each year, building owners must provide their local council with an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS). This certifies that a competent fire safety practitioner has inspected the premises and found that necessary fire safety measures comply. Depending on your building, measures could include hose reels and fire extinguishers, detection and suppression systems and smoke alarms.
The building owner or manager should organise all this (you just pay for anything that needs rectifying). That’s not always the case, however, so it pays to keep track of when your AFSS is due. Failure to provide it can incur substantial penalties and could lead to legal proceedings.
A comprehensive maintenance schedule will ensure everything gets taken care of at the appropriate time. This not only helps to avoid unnecessary fines and costly emergency repairs, but it gives you peace of mind, too.