When managing a commercial building, making space in the budget for regular maintenance and repairs is critical. However, it can be tough to gauge exactly how much money to set aside.
Plenty of variables come into play as you think about budgeting for building maintenance and repairs. An understanding of both how the facility is used and what state the building is in can help you shape a smart budget that protects your building from foundation to roof.
How Is the Property Used?
Does the building house professional services or retail space? If so, expect to see people coming and going frequently. The parking areas may need frequent attention, including landscaping in warmer seasons and snow removal in winter. The interior spaces may also require more upkeep to maintain a professional appearance and ensure that features such as automatic doors stay functional.
If the building is used for more industrial applications, however, then your top maintenance priorities are more likely to be electrical and power needs, machinery repairs, or attention to loading areas and dock doors.
Current Condition of the Property
If you're uncertain how much to set aside for ongoing maintenance expenses next year, contact an expert. A professional contractor can assess the current condition of your property and help you estimate the remaining service life for the different areas of the building.
Consider also bringing in a talented general contractor or multiple contractors for specific areas such as the roof, electrical system, and HVAC system. Check to ensure you always work with contractors who are licensed and/or certified in their particular area to ensure you get accurate information.
Don't Forget Your Roof
As you navigate managing a commercial building throughout the year, one of the most important parts to include in your 2022 maintenance budgeting is your roofing system. Often, a building's roof is "out of sight, out of mind"—until there's a problem. The roofing system is your building's first line of defense against the elements, and even a small leak can result in losses and damages.
Former roofing contractor and current GAF National Accounts Manager Tim Botkin can't stress enough the importance of planning and budgeting for semiannual roof maintenance and inspections.
"In today's environment, I am seeing more building owners turn to proactive maintenance," says Botkin. That means nipping small issues in the bud before they turn into costly work orders.
"Contractors will inspect the roof and can make proactive repairs like repairing punctures, clearing out clogged drains, and removing debris that could cause problems," explains Botkin. "Inspecting and repairing roofs before heading into the winter or the summer months can help prolong the life of the roofing system."
Budgeting for the maintenance of your roof can vary anywhere from an average of five cents to eight cents per square foot, says Botkin. A professional roofing contractor will perform a thorough inspection and can alert you when your roof may be nearing the end of its service life so you can begin planning your replacement budget.
Botkin points out that when it's time to replace the roof, choosing a robust system can save money and maintenance over time. For example, he says that "instead of a standard 60-mil TPO system, I am seeing a lot of owners opt for an 80-mil membrane that is going to perform better."
Add Coatings to Your Maintenance Checklist
Botkin adds that more and more building owners are considering roof coatings to extend the life of their roofing systems, especially since the products often can be obtained with just a few weeks' lead time.
"With coatings, it's all about the dry mils of the system -- that will determine how long your coating system will last," explains Botkin. "Once you have coated the roof, it should be inspected twice a year. Your contractor can let you know the condition and when to expect to need to recoat the roof."
If you're unsure of the condition of your roof or what options are available for your building as you prep your maintenance budget, the experts at GAF are here to help. Contact GAF today to get started on your maintenance budget planning.