Building Maintenance that should NOT be Delayed

August 2021

The pandemic has caused communities to delay maintenance.  Problems created by this will persist long after the pandemic has become a memory.  The purpose of planned maintenance is to ensure that small problems don’t grow to become more serious.  Diverting from planned maintenance for crucial infrastructure is  ill-advised.

Nearly everything in a building will eventually break down.  This includes windows, roofs, elevators and machinery.  Proper maintenance will extend the life of these major systems, reduce breakdowns, and minimize the cost of major repairs and replacement.

Roof Leaks and Cracks

Rain, snow, heat and cold penetrate a damaged roof.  Heat breaks down the roof making it easier for moisture to penetrate.  Ice and snow removal can cause damage.

The roof should be visually inspected at least once each year.  Roof spaces used as a common area require more frequent inspection.  Every few years a roofing professional should undertake a full inspection to ensure roof integrity is maintained.  Inspections should include the ceiling of top floor units for water damage or seepage, or warping of the ceiling.  Issues noted during an inspection should be repaired.  Once annual roof repairs exceed five percent of replacement costs, it may be time to consider full replacement.

Window Cleaning

Windows can last for 35 years or more.  Poor maintenance can speed the need for replacement to as little as 20 years.

Window cleaning offers more than aesthetics.  Traffic congestion, dirt, birds, air pollutants, pollen and weather end up on condo windows.  Rain contains dirt and other stuff which adds to this buildup of pollutants on windows which can cause permanent staining if not regularly cleaned.  Contaminants weaken glass making it more susceptible to cracks or chips.  Increased growth of allergens and mould can cause respiratory problems.

Elevator Repairs

Elevators are expected to function 24 hours a day seven days a week, for 20 to 30 years.  Upgrades occur about every ten years and maintenance is recommended at least once each year.  In practice, elevators malfunction multiple times a year.

A service call should be scheduled at the first sign of problems.  Doors may not open and close properly, the ride may not be smooth or the cab may not stop properly aligned with the floor.  Lesser problems include atypical noises or vibrations when in motion.

Failure to have an elevator serviced increases the risk of someone getting stuck in a cab or more serious system malfunctions.

Kitchen Stacks

Each kitchen stack carries food, waste and oil from many units.  They should be cleaned out every couple of years to avoid blockages that can cause backups from seeping up into unit sinks.  The cost of clearing backups is much greater than regular cleaning of stacks.

Underground Parking

Parking structures degrade when moisture protection systems degrade.  Water and salt make their way into the concrete structure and cause damage.  Weakened structures are unable to properly support the parking area and any building above it.

Salt and other contaminants can be removed by power washing twice annually.  Moisture protection systems should be inspected each year.  Leaks, wear and standing water are signs that repairs are needed.  Drain pipes and drains should be cleaned at least twice a year.