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What is Planned Preventative Maintenance?

Planned preventative maintenance is a great way to keep your property in top condition, reduce your costs and keep your tenants happy.

Published 07/11/2022

Author articles@evo

What is Planned Preventative Maintenance?

Planned preventative maintenance is a great way to keep your property in top condition, reduce your costs and keep your tenants happy.

Highlights:

  • Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) is when a landlord takes a proactive approach to property inspection and repair.
  • It is a legal requirement to ensure your property is habitable and safe.
  • There are many benefits to PPM, including fewer callouts, easier budget management and happier tenants.
  • A good PPM system enables order management, inventory management, project scheduling and tracking.
  • Property management software is the best way to manage your planned repairs and maintenance.

In the residential housing sector, PPM is when a landlord takes a proactive approach to property inspection and repair.

It involves scheduling regular inspections and maintenance work throughout a tenancy. This enables the landlord to spot minor issues before they escalate and become expensive repairs. It also helps them comply with their tenancy agreement.

This article explains why PPM is important, some of the benefits of having a system, what a PPM system consists of and how to set one up.

Why is PPM Important?

There are a number of reasons why landlords should have a PPM system in place. These include:

Maintain Your Property’s Value

Properties are valuable assets, but rental homes are more susceptible to wear and tear than private ones. Consistent preventative maintenance will help ensure you retain this value.

It is a Legal Requirement

You have a legal duty under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to ensure that the residential properties you rent out are habitable and safe. 

Under the Act, you are responsible for maintaining your property’s:

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas supply (including getting any fittings checked by a registered engineer)
  • Drains
  • Plumbing
  • Boiler and central heating
  • Electrical sockets
  • The roof
  • Guttering
  • The exterior walls, windows and doors

Easier to Manage Your Budget

Maintenance work is most likely to be required after inspections, as that’s when you spot potential problems. By scheduling inspections you can also predict when you will need to spend money on repairs. Proactively fixing small issues before they become major ones makes the repairs less expensive.

Fewer Reactive Maintenance Call-outs

PPM helps you reduce the number of unexpected issues that you need to deal with. It also means tenants will report fewer unexpected problems. 

This means fewer reactive maintenance call-outs in your daily schedule and less stress for you, your tenants and the tradespeople you work with.

Scheduled Maintenance is More Efficient 

Inspecting a property and then conducting all repairs in one go is quicker, cheaper and easier to manage than fixing multiple ad-hoc problems as they occur. 

You can book tradespeople to be available for scheduled maintenance and ask for a bulk discount. For example, you may wish to repaint each of your properties once every ten years. If you have ten properties this will be a significant contract for a painter/decorator, and they will likely be happy to offer a reduced rate to secure the work.

Happier Tenants

If your property is well-maintained your tenants are more likely to be happy living there. They’ll also feel safe knowing that you are checking the health and safety aspects of their home on a regular basis.

PPM also allows you to give tenants plenty of notice. You can even provide them with a PPM schedule at the beginning of the tenancy, so they can see the planned inspection and repair work for the year ahead. This also allows them to make arrangements to be at home to let inspectors or tradespeople in if required.

Happy tenants are also more likely to stay, so you won’t have to look for new tenants or experience gaps in rental payments.

Planned Preventative Maintenance System Features

To perform PPM correctly, you need a system to manage it. You can either set this up yourself using a range of different software tools or you can buy a purpose-built system that handles it all for you.

Whichever one you choose, there are four main capabilities that it needs to fulfil: work order management, inventory management, PM scheduling and tracking. Let’s look at each of these individually.

✅ Order Management

At its most basic, a PPM system should allow you to create, assign and manage work orders with tradespeople from a single dashboard. 

✅ Inventory Management

Many jobs will require you to buy materials and equipment ready for tradespeople. Your PPM system should therefore allow you to place orders, track them and keep a record of what you have in stock. 

✅ Scheduling

Most jobs won’t just happen once. For example, your property’s boiler needs to be serviced annually. Therefore, it’s important to be able to schedule repeat jobs.

You should also be able to add subtasks that allow you to seamlessly hand off jobs between different people in your business or team. After a property inspection, for example, the inspector can tick off their task and request any repairs from the relevant tradesperson. Once they have completed the repairs they can tick off the job, so you know it’s time to pay the invoice.

✅ Tracking

The three factors above will make your business more profitable and efficient. Having the ability to collect data on your property maintenance will take this even further. By collecting data on some of the things listed below you can analyse your operations and improve efficiency.

For example, is a particular property experiencing more repairs than others? If so, do you need to speak to the tenant? Is a particular tradesperson more efficient than others? If so, should you give them more work?

How to Set Up Your System

You need a practical system for running your PPM strategy. Here’s how to set one up.

1. Prioritise Tasks

Begin by making a list of your most urgent jobs and scheduling them. Urgent jobs are those which you have a statutory obligation to do at certain times - like providing your tenant with a gas safety certificate, or they could be issues that are stopping you from renting out a property, such as damp.

Then layer in less critical jobs such as routine inspections and redecorating. Less urgent jobs can also be prioritised based on the rental income of each property. For example, if you have a house with a monthly rent of £2,000 and another with a monthly rent of £800, you may wish to prioritise work on the former to secure the greater income.

By using the critical jobs as a baseline and building the other jobs around them, you ensure that the important work gets done in a realistic timeframe.

2. Try to Predict Future Issues

Gather historical information on the work carried out on each property over the last few years. Use this to try and spot any recurring issues that might come up again in the future. You can then add these issues to your list. For example, if a property has experienced a rat infestation three times in the last four years it may be worth scheduling a visit from a pest controller to get to the root cause.

3. Make Projections

Now you know which planned maintenance tasks you need to undertake, it’s time to think about costs. Think about who is going to make repairs, what they charge, which materials you need to buy and when, plus any administrative costs you may incur.

Note these costs and the timings of them in your budget and make sure that you have suitable funds available on those dates.

4. Create Your PPM Schedule

Contact all the different tradespeople that you will need and book them in for the dates required. For each job, write down all the individual tasks that each person involved will need to complete and schedule them.

For example, servicing your boiler would involve:

  • The engineer checking the boiler and giving you their report
  • You commissioning any further repairs required, or buying replacement parts or a new boiler
  • The engineer coming back to make the repairs or to fit the new boiler
  • You giving the tenant a gas safety certificate within 28 days

5. Improve Your System

Your system won’t be perfect straight away and it will take time for you, your tenants and your tradespeople to get used to using the new system. 

Don’t be afraid to rethink parts of it that aren’t working and remember, simple is better.

You should also adjust the frequency of scheduled work based on how much is required. Imagine, for example, that you are checking and maintaining a property on a regular basis. If the tenants keep it pristine then consider performing fewer inspections and increased planned maintenance intervals. 

Use Software

So far we’ve explained what your PPM system needs to do and the steps you need to go through to set it up. 

But what software should you use? We recommend using a digital solution that brings convenience to both tenants and landlords. By transforming how maintenance, management and repairs are delivered, the EVO platform connects owners, residents, tradespeople and property managers together to reduce costs and ensure transparency.

It features:

  • Online dashboard: All your people, places, repairs, and service history all in one place, with a real-time calendar, messaging, and secure document storage.
  • Helpdesk: There to help with all repair and planned maintenance needs, fast.
  • Repairs: Certified trades available 24 hours a day, ensuring a fast response and quality workmanship.
  • Reminders: Ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Service history: All jobs and services logged and easily accessible, with completion notes and images.
  • Compliance: Gas safety compliance, electrical testing and more, with digital records and service reports all in one place.
  • Emergency cover: Providing trustworthy 24/7 emergency services in case of serious issues. 

Get in touch to find out how we can help you manage your inspection and repairs more effectively.

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