Building maintenance refers to all tasks necessary for keeping a building functional and livable. A single building requires a skilled team of multiple people with different maintenance specialties in areas like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.
Without regular maintenance services, a building can quickly become an unfriendly environment for living and working, which is why maintenance technicians are invaluable. Whether you’re looking to become a maintenance technician yourself one day or are just curious what building maintenance is all about, we’ll break down everything you need to know.
What Is Building Maintenance?
Building maintenance includes a variety of tasks that help create a safe and comfortable work or living environment for a building’s tenants. Ranging from anything inside a building, like cleaning bathrooms and maintaining electrical systems, to anything outside a building, like lawn care and landscaping, routine maintenance services are performed to keep properties in tip-top shape.
Typically, maintenance teams are broken up into different positions based on specific maintenance services. This structure usually looks something like:
- Janitorial: Common daily tasks include keeping the building clean by mopping the floors, emptying the trash, cleaning the bathrooms.
- Maintenance Technician: Responsible for the regular upkeep and repairs of building systems including HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.
- Maintenance Supervisor: Responsible for the timeline and delegation of tasks that need to be completed for overall building maintenance. Maintenance supervisors are also responsible for the management of staff including hiring and reviews.
Why Building Maintenance is Important and Here to Stay
Building maintenance is important because it ensures the safety and comfort of anyone who stay in a building, whether they live or work there. From a business standpoint, proper regular maintenance can save property owners money in the long run and contribute to increased property value.
Keeps Occupants Safe
A poorly maintained building can create dangers for those working or living there. Whether it’s peeling paint, an uneven walkway, or poor air circulation, regular maintenance helps to prevent unsafe environments. To ensure this, safety codes from organizations like the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) were created. Upholding these codes and completing ongoing general safety maintenance practices can prevent major health issues and hazardous work and living areas.
Precaution is more cost-effective than a cure, which is another reason why building maintenance services are important. An urgent repair or replacement of a major system is going to be more expensive than ongoing preventive maintenance. It’s also easier to create a budget around regular upkeep of building systems than an unpredictable repair or replacement.
A maintenance service team can not only help to save money over time, but even contribute to overall property value. There is more worth in a well-maintained, up-to-code building which could mean more income potential from selling, renting, or leasing spaces.
The People Behind It All
Behind every properly maintained building is a team of highly-skilled maintenance technicians. A good technician is well-trained, proactive, versatile, and detail-oriented in multiple areas including HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.
More specifically, maintenance technicians:
- Inspect existing systems to actively seek out problems
- Prioritize tasks and juggle multiple projects
- Work to keep the building’s systems “like new”
- Typically work a varied schedule of 40-60 hours a week
- Are frequently on-call for unexpected or emergency repairs
Maintenance techs have many responsibilities and it takes quality preparation to become a skilled technician. So, if you are wondering how to become a maintenance technician, here's what you need to know.
What it Takes to Be a Maintenance Technician
The path to becoming a maintenance technician requires a combination of developing essential soft skills, expanding your technical knowledge with training, and improving your resume via certifications. Deciding which of the different types of maintenance areas you wish to focus on can help guide you as you continue to educate and train yourself as well.
Essential Soft Skills
Of course, any aspiring maintenance technician will undergo training to learn the trade, but they should also possess particular soft skills needed for the job. These types of skills are usually picked up through schooling, from as early as elementary to post-high school.
Some of these skills include:
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
- Problem solving
- Team player
In addition to having the essential soft skills needed for a career in maintenance services, certifications and ongoing training will help to develop the technical skills needed.
Certifications and Apprenticeships
To start getting the technical training needed to be a maintenance tech, many community colleges, vocational schools and employers offer apprenticeships.These programs are typically classroom style mixed with on-the-job training.
You also have the option to obtain certifications in desired areas of maintenance, instead of taking on apprenticeships for generic maintenance responsibilities. Here are few certifications that are available for anyone wanting a career in maintenance services:
- Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician: This is an entry-level certification that is perfect for breaking into the maintenance technician field. The CMRP assessment test is both predictive/preventative maintenance – identifying problems before they occur – and corrective maintenance – solving problems the moment as they arise.
- Building Systems Maintenance Certification: This certification is awarded by the International Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI). It covers the maintenance of both plumbing and HVAC systems, with a focus on environmentally friendly practices and efficient management of energy.
- Building Operator Certification (BOC): This is a multi-level certification with exams targeted at facility staffers and maintenance technicians of all specialties. The core principles of BOC include the importance of becoming a well-rounded technician with proficiency in various systems.
- HVACR Certification: This certification focuses specifically on heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and radiation (HVACR) systems. It also includes identifying Green alternatives and issuing water treatment initiatives. It is administered via the Home Builders Institute and National Association of Home Builders and covers both system installation and repair.
A good maintenance technician has knowledge – but an excellent one is always seeking to expand that knowledge. In the ever-shifting world of technology, it is important for techs to stay up-to-date on their building maintenance training while continually keep their skills fresh. And with maintenance and repair positions expected to grow in demand over the next 10 years, ongoing training and additional knowledge puts you in a good position to move up the chain of command.
Whether you are looking to advance your own individual skills or have a property maintenance team that you want to keep well-trained, Interplay Learning offers online training courses in facilities maintenance, HVAC, plumbing, and more.
Online Building Maintenance Training with Interplay Learning
Interplay Learning is a one-stop shop for effective skilled trades training. With extensive online courses specifically in facilities maintenance, technicians of any level can learn everything from electrical and HVAC basics to troubleshooting specific plumbing issues.
What makes Interplay Learning unique is that they also offer virtual reality and 3D simulation training as well, which can not only improve overall performance, but also provide for a much more enjoyable and in-depth learning experience.