12 Things Maintenance Can Do During Coronavirus
COVID-19 has sent our country and the multifamily industry into unchartered waters. Management and maintenance teams find themselves facing new challenges. Service requests are still coming in but many of the normal maintenance requests or preventive tasks can’t be done if it requires entering an apartment home. However, that doesn’t mean that maintenance has to wait for the all-clear to get to work.
Here are 12 areas that maintenance teams can focus on right now, without putting staff in danger:
HVAC MaintenanceThis is a great time to perform exterior HVAC maintenance.
- Clean condensate lines.
- Trim bushes around condensers
- Replace missing caps, tighten wire nuts/screws.
- Level and secure units.
- Repair or replace pipe insulation.
- Paint exposed metal surfaces.
Most importantly, take the time to clean the condensing unit. Grab a hose, coil cleaner in a poly pump sprayer, and work with the resident for an acceptable time for their AC to be turned off for an hour or so. Then, remove any debris from the outside unit and spray the coils, following up with a rinse after the recommended time period (specific to the coil cleaner manufacturer instructions).
LightingCheck all the bulbs and fixtures in common areas. Clean fixtures and change exterior bulbs (usually when one goes, others will shortly follow). Maybe even take this time to convert to LEDs and use the maintenance team to do it versus a sub-contractor. Download our lighting preventive maintenance checklist for more tips.
IrrigationPerform checks and repairs on the irrigation system. While you may usually have a contractor take care of irrigation, you can save on that expense and have the maintenance team tackle this area. Repair or replace broken solenoids or sprinkler heads. Clear popups and rotors, adjust patterns, adjust and secure risers.
Pressure WashingGrab the hose, some Power Wash and the pressure washer and get to work. Tackle breezeways, common areas and parking lots to give them a clean and fresh feeling.
PaintingTake a critical look at the paint condition of exterior areas. Repair and paint office and clubhouse, property signage, breezeways, handrails, fences, and possibly doors. If you usually subcontract out painting, keep this work in house and have your on-site staff use roller/brushes if you don’t have paint sprayers.
PoolsUse this time to perform some extra TLC on the pool. Clean filters, pool tile, and the pool in general, etc. If you used an outside service, now may be a good time to bring it in-house. If you are just maintaining pool chemistry, we have Pool Chemistry Resources to help with that.
Make Ready/Vacant UnitsLook for opportunities to save while getting units ready for the next resident. We recommend finding a way to handle some of the usual tasks in-house versus using outside vendors. Painting, flooring installation (plank or sheet vinyl) and carpet cleaning may be appropriate tasks.
General Areas and AmenitiesUse this time to deep clean and sanitize high-traffic areas. While exercise equipment and workout rooms are closed, it is the perfect time to go the extra mile and get to areas not usually addressed. If Dog Parks remain open, keep up with those areas. Regularly clean and sanitize mail, trash, and other popular areas.
General Safety and Curb AppealIf the team has been on property any length of time, it is easy to become used to little items and areas that need to be addressed. Safety and curb appeal need a critical eye, tasks may be easier to find than originally thought, such as:
- Repair sidewalk trip hazards.
- Replace cracked steps.
- Fill parking lot cracks and holes.
- Restripe parking areas.
- Fill small holes and trip hazards in grassy areas.
- Re-nail or screw wooden decks.
- Check and secure handrails.
- Correct damaged downspouts.
- Repair or replace window and patio screens.
PlanDetermine how you are going to revisit “non-emergency” work orders. Be conscious of all your daily maintenance requests coming in and be aware of the parts needed. Once you are able to get back into units you may find properties all trying to place orders for parts at the same time. Stay within your budget and purchase needed parts now. Then, mark all your received supply orders with the unit numbers so you are ready to go when the time comes.
EducateTake the time to train staff and educate residents. Online training courses and webinars are in ready supply right now. Have staff attend online trainings and meetings to learn new skills.
Your staff can even use this time to knock out EPA608 and CPO certifications. Chadwell University is able to offer virtual certification options for our customers during the coronavirus shutdown. For information:
This is also a great time to create some property specific videos of simple repairs that can be shared with a resident to help them maintain their apartment home. If video is not possible, take the time to talk with residents and try to walk them through easy tasks, such as resetting a garbage disposal or changing an air filter.
Shop OrganizationDeclutter, re-arrange, sort, organize, etc. Just think how much time can be saved if your shop is organized and you can find exactly what you need for work orders. Pay close attention to safety and how equipment is stored. Check out this Virtual Lunch discussion for more helpful tips and tricks: Shop Organization: Now is the Time to Do It