Few things are as detrimental to your business as emergency building repairs. The cost in time, money and lost clients can range anywhere from moderate to catastrophic. For this reason, smart, informed preventative maintenance is crucial to your operation. Here are some tips on how to stay on top of building maintenance and health.

Establish a Maintenance Program

Routine is key to effective maintenance. Prepare checklists for regular inspections of the workplace and facility and make sure your employees are familiar with the procedure. Because maintenance tasks vary in how frequently they need to be performed, you need at least daily and monthly checklists—ideally a seasonal checklist as well, since certain issues are most significant at different times of the year. You may find it helpful to use a template as a starting point.

Use Monitoring Systems

Not all signs or causes of structural damage are apparent to the naked eye, but you don’t have to rely on manual inspections alone. Just like the warning lights on an automobile’s dashboard, a building health monitoring system collects data from various sensors around the building to detect indicators of structural damage. These sensors track vibrations, spreading cracks, deviations from the vertical and more, as well as environmental conditions like temperature and humidity. Because many issues develop gradually rather than suddenly, this real-time tracking goes a long way in keeping you aware of the building’s structural health.

Act Quickly and Decisively

When you do find a building issue—a leaking pipe, a patch of mold, a crack in the foundation, etc.—the worst thing you can do is put off fixing it. Any of these issues can grow and become increasingly difficult to manage if given time. However much time and money it costs now, it almost certainly will cost more later if you let the problem continue.

Outsource Maintenance

A great deal of maintenance and repair work requires specific equipment and knowledge that you and your employees likely don’t have. While it’s a good idea to train employees to contribute where they can in the workplace—such as notifying you of roofing leaks or cleaning up their workspace to discourage pests—you probably don’t want an in-house team dedicated to monthly or seasonal work, especially the more involved stuff. Instead, hire local contractors.

Managing a commercial building isn’t simple. However, with preparation and the right approach, it can be made much easier. Routine maintenance is essential to making sure that your business is safe for employees and inviting for clients.