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Advice from Granny about your building maintenance

Your wise Granny may have once said a “stitch in time saves nine”.

Your wider read Granny could even have quoted the words of Mark Twain where he wrote “Eat the frog”, encouraging you to get on with items that you don’t really want to do. Twain went on to recommend eating the frog in the morning, to get it done, and always eating the biggest frog first. This is frequently good advice in either dealing with your “to do” list, or in considering your building maintenance.

The dripping gutter that is left to soak the wall below leading to an outbreak of rot, or the minor roof leak corroding the steel roof truss below, may be fairly cheap and easy to rectify in the first instance but lead to major costs if left. Some minor maintenance in time is frequently money well spent to the benefit of your business, even if the saving made cannot be easily displayed on the balance sheet.

Building maintenance can be put into two basic categories, unplanned or planned.

“Reactive” or “unplanned” maintenance refers to those urgent calls to the builder when something leaks, has fallen off or failed. Reactive maintenance is frequently more expensive, as it is urgently required, causes consequential damage and can often fail to deliver best value for money, as for example, you may erect scaffold for an urgent repair and need to erect and pay for similar scaffold shortly afterwards to decorate the building.

“Planned” maintenance, unsurprisingly, refers to maintenance works that you have planned in advance. This can be as simple as the list of DIY jobs you have planned for the weekend, or for commercial premises it would take the form of a “Planned Maintenance Schedule” allowing you to plan your expenditure over years and manage the priorities.

When it comes to commercial property and your business, repairing responsibility under leases, service charges or similar agreements makes it even more important to plan out those tasks, know about those future costs to the business and choose to do the right job first. Dealing with those maintenance issues, that will grow if left to develop and planning to control your costs avoids that unexpected disruption to your business.

So if, as the seasons turn, you have grass growing from your gutters, or last year’s leak has still not been resolved, can I encourage you to “eat the frog” and deal with those maintenance issues before the frog gets bigger and slipperier. I’m sure granny can’t have been wrong.

Matthew Williams MRICS IMaPS BSc(Hons) Building Surveying

Matthew is a Chartered Building Surveyor who works for Stratton Creber Commercial; who can assist with all aspects of your commercial property and who specialise in the South West. If you would like to talk to Matthew about planning maintenance of your property he can be contacted on 07834 996419