Charge tenants fairly for preventive maintenance

When dealing with office building maintenance, are you reactive or proactive?

If you answered that you're reactive, you're not alone. Many people only handle office maintenance as it happens or when it's too late.

Maintaining an office building isn't cheap. It's tempting to ignore maintenance until something breaks. No one wants to break the bank when dealing with office building repairs.

However, questions about tenants' rights are emerging as tenants in Singapore grapple with the costs of their office maintenance.

How do you handle your office building maintenance? How do your fairly charge your tenants for maintenance? Read on to find answers.

Reactive Repairs

The problem with reactive office maintenance is that by the time you notice a problem, the failure has already occurred.

A reactive mentality leaves you with an unpredictable budget. Repairs are often higher than expected and will throw your budget out of sync.

Owners of office buildings avoid maintenance plans while hoping that their property stays in working condition. They believe that the cost of a building maintenance plan is too expensive.

Due to this, they often wait until something is unusable before they seek assistance.

This approach has a central flaw: there is no forward thinking plan. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. A lack of planning for future repairs will result in a budget that doesn't factor in office maintenance.

Repairs cost more when they occur last minute. Service providers may sense panic from your side. They know you need help and you need it quick. Unfortunately, this often leads to them taking advantage of you and overcharging for their work.

In addition, you may need different contractors for each repair, which increases the risk of unreliable work. Without a maintenance plan, you'll end up with a contractor that is out of touch with your business and building.

An impersonal relationship like this is not in your best interest. There is a lack of prior trust or understanding between your company and theirs.

A reactive approach to office maintenance is not the best option for you, your tenants or their office.

In-House Repairs

Another approach to office building maintenance is to rely on in-house repairs.

Some people elect to keep their office maintenance in-house, depending on the skills available to them from their own labour force. The idea behind this approach is that in-house repairs will save the company money.

The issue with this kind of office maintenance is the often limited ability or availability of the in-house team. Your team may not have the specific skills required for every job, or they may have too many projects to work on at one time. Your own in-house team may not be able to solve the array of maintenance issues you face.

The problem with relying on your own people is that they already have daily tasks and roles to fulfil. Any sudden damage or unexpected repairs may overload the team's resources.

You'll face delays because your team isn't ready to handle maintenance problems. Delays in repairs mean more downtime for your tenants and their company.

Business Continuity Management

Business continuity management (BCM) is the capability of an organisation to continue delivery at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive incident.

A central goal of effective office management is to support business continuity management.

BCM involves management's capability to identify potential impacts that threaten an organisation. BCM should provide a framework for building resilient and effective responses to safeguard an organisation's key stakeholders, reputation and brand.

The two approaches to office management mentioned above are not in line with BCM. They don't plan for issues and aren't effective in safeguarding an organisation against downtime or delays.

Although you can't predict the future, you can have a plan in place to deal with it. You can't schedule disasters, but you can plan to mitigate their effects.

Whether it's a fire, a leaking roof, or the complete destruction of a building, you can have a plan in place for resilience and recovery.

Although often described as common sense, it's really about taking responsibility and being serious about business continuity. We'll now discuss an approach to office management which does include BCM in its strategy.

Preventive Maintenance

Unlike reactive maintenance, preventive maintenance practices stay ahead of operational issues.

It prevents major faults that put businesses at risk of severe disruptions. In addition, it ensures that employees and customers have a safe environment to operate in.

Problems like broken electric sockets and faulty doors are common trigger points for accidents. There are a variety of trigger points in office settings, many of which can go unseen and unnoticed.

More importantly, preserving your brand image will help you build brand equity. To ensure customers return, you want them to have the best experience possible.

Floor polishing, furniture service repairs, paint touch-ups, and floor surface repairs are all part of premises care. If maintained, your office tenants in Singapore may be willing to pay towards maintenance.

A negotiated agreement can ensure their business has optimum brand image and loyalty.

The idea is to keep your building and resources in prime condition to prevent wear and tear and prevent serious issues.

Preventive Maintenance Pros

There are a variety of benefits offered by preventive maintenance. We list them below.

Work smarter, not harder

Preventive maintenance actions include scheduled tasks and a planned approach to prevent breakage.

Putting off maintenance tasks often results in more work for you and your tenants later on. Small problems will grow into bigger, more unmanageable issues.

This snowball effect will cause the need for frequent repairs. This will cost you time and effort that could be better used elsewhere.

Savvy Savings

Intelligent preventive maintenance is carefully constructed to stop you from deferring office maintenance. You'll save money in the long-run.

It prevents last-minute quotes, which will cost you more than preventive, scheduled maintenance.

A preventative approach also prevents you from relying on unskilled help or people who aren't familiar with your needs. If you rely on unskilled labour, you may face greater costs later on when trying to fix the shoddy work they provided.

Peace of Mind

There's nothing worse than stressing about office maintenance. As a landlord or building manager, you have a lot to think about. You may own or manage multiple buildings, each with their own challenges.

Instead of worrying about something falling apart, use preventive maintenance to ease you into the routine of conducting scheduled tasks with the help of a professional.

It's always important to work with foresight instead of responding when it's too late. As a landlord or building manager, dealing with your building and business challenges can be tricky to juggle.

To maintain your peace of mind, opt for preventive maintenance over other approaches to office maintenance.

Keep Tenants Happy

Your tenants are the most important priority you have as a landlord or building manager.

You've got to keep your tenants happy while ensuring you're not being financially compromised. It can be tough to balance compromise with profit, and it may be helpful to reach for support.

Preventive maintenance minimises downtime, which keeps your tenants satisfied. The last thing they want is to lose money due to their facilities being unusable or unsafe.

Preventive Maintenance Assistance

If you're looking into adopting preventive maintenance techniques to streamline your office maintenance needs, read on. We'll tell you how a service provider can help fulfill your office maintenance goals.

One Stop Shop

A thorough service provider who is transparent and trustworthy is essential for streamlined maintenance. Look for a provider that can support you in several ways.

Instead of relying on different service providers for various needs, you'll be able to get to know one provider. This increases trust, efficiency and will save you time and money.

These providers will have you sign a contract that outlines all costs of repair, maintenance and refurbishment are also outlined. They do it all and put everything in the contract for you to see. You'll know what the service charges are and can easily track them.

Commercial Lease Agreement

A commercial lease agreement is an agreement between a tenant (the business) and the landlord (owner of a commercial space).

It's normally the result of negotiations between these two parties in accordance with the prevailing laws of the area. What this means is that a lease agreement is contractual in nature.

There's no cohesive statute to guide parties about the contents they must or should include in their lease.

Tenants in Singapore

In Singapore, there are a few common terms and conditions that tenants and landlords usually adhere to. They are as follows:

  • Lease duration
  • Rent
  • Deposits and other payable fees
  • Utility and maintenance
  • Sub-lease
  • Insurance
  • Office renovation work
  • Illegal employment

Utility and Maintenance

When speaking about preventive office maintenance, the most relevant point is utility and maintenance.

Under a lease agreement in Singapore, the tenant is responsible for electricity and telecommunication bills. These are generally paid to the relevant service providers.

Important maintenance and the cleanliness of the exterior and common areas are the landlord's duty.

In general, the tenants are in charge of the maintenance and cleanliness of interior commercial spaces.

Office Renovation Work

Another point on the lease agreement relevant to office maintenance is office renovation work.

The tenant is normally required to return a commercial space back to the landlord in its original form. At the end of the lease, the landlord will conduct an inspection of the space.

Due to this, a tenant may only customise the commercial space within the terms and conditions provided. If the tenant wishes to change the space to fit his preferences, he may approach the landlord.

If the tenant's wishes are different from those stipulated by the landlord, he may not be able to carry them out. Both parties agree upon the stipulated boundaries of renovation during the writing up of the lease.

This is because commercial spaces in Singapore usually come with certain standard fittings. Fire sprinklers, air-conditions, security systems and basic window fittings are some examples of these.

Accordingly, any modifications to the existing fittings must have the landlord's approval. It's not impossible for the tenant to renovate, but the landlord must approve.

Breach of Lease Agreement

A breach of the lease agreement occurs when there is a failure to adhere to the terms laid out in the contract.

A common example of this is a breach of the utility and maintenance clause.

As mentioned above, it's generally agreed that the landlord takes responsibility for the maintenance and cleanliness of the premises. This includes the exterior and common areas of the space.

A breach by the landlord of this term arises when:

  • The common corridors are neither kept clear of obstruction nor in good condition, posing a safety or fire hazard.
  • Common areas aren't kept clean, meaning the environment is in an unhygienic state and not presentable to customers of the tenants.
  • The landlord fails to ensure adequate, routine maintenance of the escalators or other safety equipment.

This list isn't exhaustive. Wherever there are causes for concern in common areas, the tenants must notify the landlord.

Along with this, it's the contractual duty of the landlord to rectify these issues. Consequently, if the tenant notifies the landlord and it isn't rectified, the fault will always lie with the landlord.

Specialised Help

Many responsibilities related to office maintenance fall within the landlord's realm of duties.

Instead of putting yourself and partners at risk of a breach of lease agreement, it's better to plan ahead. Getting help with maintenance is useful and frees your time for other tasks.

 

In terms of office repairs and maintenance, it's better to get the work done right the first time. A team with a plan in place for your unique needs will make this possible. Of course, your tenants in Singapore will also benefit from this service.

For more information about preventive office maintenance, please feel free to contact us.