4 Essential Skills Any Maintenance Technician Should Have

A man in a hard hat working on an electrical panel

If you look up “jack of all trades” in the dictionary, you might just find a picture of a maintenance technician. These versatile, multi-talented individuals are required to possess technical skills and capabilities in a number of areas. Rather than specializing in one field of maintenance tech, they must hone their abilities in everything from HVAC repair to ventilation system setup, general building surveys to plumbing and even electrical installation.

Whether they are new to the trade or a seasoned veteran, a good facilities maintenance technician should always be seeking to expand their repertoire of talents through continuing training and education. Furthermore, they must possess these 4 essential skills.

Give Techs Time and Real-Life Scenarios to Train Themselves

1. Problem Solving

A maintenance engineer will spend their workday being faced with problem after problem. They are responsible not just for identifying the issue, but for diagnosing its cause, developing a solution, and implementing that solution, often within an extremely short timeframe.

The sign of a good facilities maintenance technician is their ability to keep a cool head under pressure. When faced with a seemingly never-ending litany of electrical, mechanical and structural issues, they must not panic but instead move forward with confidence. A truly skilled maintenance tech will be able to prioritize the most important tasks but not allow smaller or seemingly “lesser” issues to fall by the wayside.

Here is an example of an effective problem-solving strategy which a truly exceptional maintenance technician might employ:

  • When asked to troubleshoot a failing electrical system, they begin by investigating common problem points such as breakers or surge protectors.
  • Once the cause has been identified and the core issue addressed, they then give the entire system a once-over to ensure that their solution has not brought any new problems to light.

2. Physical Ability

Facilities maintenance is a physically demanding job. Technicians are required to perform their duties from the very highest roofs and ladders to the tiniest crawl spaces. Lifting and dragging heavy machines and appliances is a regular assignment. Hours are long and often irregular, and jobs frequently force maintenance engineers to work outside in brutally hot or bitterly cold conditions.

Today, there isn’t a single job posting for a maintenance technician which doesn’t include a list of physical requirements. From an electrician in Illinois to a library inspector in Connecticut, employers seeking out maintenance techs are looking for candidates at the top of their physical game. Therefore, the best technicians are the ones who keep their bodies strong and well-trained and remain in top physical condition with a focus on balance, endurance, and stamina.

3. Attention to Detail

A facilities maintenance engineer will spend a lot of time closely examining complicated systems. They must be able to understand the inner workings of an electrical circuit and identify each tiny part which makes an HVAC system run properly. A keen eye is required to identify small issues within a much larger whole.

Maintenance technicians who are not detail-oriented will quickly find themselves overlooking problems in the systems they are called on to inspect and repair. Small problems, when ignored, can then develop into much larger issues which make a maintenance engineer’s job much more stressful and complicated.

Just how important is it for facilities maintenance techs to develop their eye for detail? Popular job-hunting site Indeed.com features “Detail Oriented Jobs” as a distinct category – and maintenance-related positions frequently appear at the top of the list.

4. Versatility

Take a quick look back through this article and take note of the many different elements which have been mentioned. Electrical wiring, plumbing, HVAC systems, ventilation, heating and cooling, a building’s external support structure…and that’s just scratching the surface of the areas which are considered a “maintenance technician’s domain”.

It’s no wonder that the fourth key skill a good facilities maintenance engineer must possess is versatility. In a single workday, a building maintenance tech might be asked to fix a fault in a building’s wiring, check that its windows are properly weather-proofed, and inspect the toilets to make sure that they are flushing properly. The tech must be able to quickly and efficiently move from one job to the next, never allowing themselves to become caught up or hyper-fixated on a single issue. The phrase “jack of all trades” is commonly followed up with “master of none” – but in the case of the maintenance technician, a more accurate description would be “master of all” as well.

Gain the Essential Skills and More with Interplay Learning

Interplay Learning provides an extensive, informative, fully interactive platform which allows maintenance technicians to learn new skills and expand their existing ones. All four essential areas of expertise are touched on with over 100 hours of HVAC and solar-centered lessons and virtual reality-based simulations. From the brand new technician to the most experienced engineer, Interplay Learning truly offers something for everyone.