7 Preventative Maintenance Construction Projects to Extend a Commercial Building’s Life

We often budget for home and car repairs, but commercial building upkeep and maintenance are sometimes only dealt with when there’s a problem. And it’s usually a lot more expensive to fix a problem than it is to prevent it.

Whether you manage a bustling office, a manufacturing plant, or a busy healthcare facility, staying ahead of maintenance issues can save you from unexpected disruptions and hefty repair bills. By understanding where potential problems might occur and how to tackle them, you can keep your facility running smoothly, efficiently, and looking its best. Here are seven areas to consider.

1. Roof Inspections & Repairs

Nothing can degrade a facility faster than water damage from a leaky roof. Commercial buildings often have flat roof systems that are susceptible to membrane punctures, pooling water, and deteriorating flashing. Buildings with metal roofs may have issues like rusting, loose fasteners, and seam failures. 

Even small leaks, if not addressed, can cause extensive damage to ceilings, walls, and electrical systems. By investing in regular inspections and timely maintenance and repairs, business owners can extend the life of their roofs and save on expensive emergency repairs or complete roof replacements. This proactive approach not only preserves the building's value but also ensures the safety and comfort of those who work there.

2. HVAC System Upgrades

Preventative maintenance is crucial when it comes to heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems, especially given the significant advancements in technology in recent years. Many older HVAC units are not only improperly sized for most buildings — especially if there have been additions or building updates — but are also inefficient. 

In addition to maintaining or upgrading equipment, business owners need to consider whether existing ductwork, wiring, and insulation are compatible and up to code. Engaging a commercial construction team with experience in smaller renovation projects can help business owners prevent potential issues and plan for future updates through a phased construction approach.  

3. Plumbing & Electrical System Checks

Routine inspections of plumbing and sprinkler systems can help identify potential risks. Undetected leaks can escalate quickly, leading to major water damage that compromises a building's structural integrity, causes mold growth, and disrupts business operations. Corrosion, if left unchecked, can result in burst pipes, requiring costly emergency repairs and extensive restoration work. Regular maintenance and timely repairs of minor issues not only prolong the lifespan of these systems but also offer significant cost savings by preventing damage.

In tandem, ensuring that a building's electrical systems meet current safety standards and efficiency is critical. In particular, older buildings can have outdated wiring and inadequate circuit protection, posing fire risks and potential power interruptions. Consider upgrading to modern, energy-efficient lighting and equipment. Not only can it reduce energy consumption and lead to cost savings, it’s also good for the planet. 

4. Concrete Repairs & Upkeep

Preventative maintenance helps ensure the longevity and performance of structures like concrete walls, industrial equipment pads, parking lots, walkways, steps, and loading docks. These structures are often subjected to heavy loads, frequent traffic, and harsh weather conditions, which can lead to cracks, spalling, and surface erosion over time. Regular inspections and proactive maintenance can identify early signs of wear, cracks, or degradation, allowing for minor repairs before they escalate into significant issues. 

Preventative measures might include sealing cracks or applying protective coatings to prevent moisture penetration, which often leads to frost damage, especially in northern climates like Wisconsin and Iowa. Ignoring necessary concrete repairs can lead to uneven surfaces, safety hazards, and downtime, and unaddressed issues in concrete walls can compromise the integrity of a structure.

5. Exterior Maintenance

A building’s exterior provides a first impression to visitors and helps maintain a company’s image. Issues like loose mortar on brick exteriors, poor drainage from roofs or gutters, and wear and tear from weather conditions can tarnish a brand and lead to safety hazards. Inspect caulk at expansion joints to mitigate water infiltration regardless of the material (brick, Exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS), etc.).

Routine inspections of a building’s exterior can expose the need for maintenance. For example, the mortar in older brick buildings will deteriorate over time if not maintained, eventually requiring tuckpointing — an arduous process of grinding out the old mortar and replacing it with new. Routine inspections may reveal the need for sealing the mortar before it gets to that point. Likewise, wood or stucco buildings sometimes develop inclusions that are an open invitation for pests like wasps, rodents, or starlings to bore out holes for their nests. Damage from pest infestations leads to millions of dollars in unnecessary repairs and extermination fees for businesses each year.

RELATED: 10 Renovation Surprises & Construction Risks

6. Window & Door Inspections

Be sure to inspect the sealant on exterior windows and doors. Over time the sealant can degrade and crack causing water infiltration, drafts, and even compromised security. Motion-activated entryways and other doors may become misaligned, which can be an indication of larger structural issues. These conditions not only affect the building's energy efficiency, resulting in higher heating and cooling costs, but also provide a potential entry point for intruders. 

Timely repairs can significantly improve energy efficiency and security while reducing overall maintenance costs. Well-maintained windows and doors also contribute to a building's aesthetic appeal, creating a positive impression for clients and visitors. A related issue is accessibility; your facility should offer easy access to those with physical limitations. Make sure entryways and other areas comply with ADA requirements.

7. Interior Maintenance & Improvements

Periodic updates to interior spaces can boost property values and employee morale. Not all maintenance is structural; consider upgrading acoustical materials to help provide sound dampening or masking in open offices or cubicles. These materials can be ceiling-mounted or wall-mounted. Sometimes a space simply needs to eliminate the look of an outdated interior or be made more conducive to hybrid work models.

In addition to the maintenance tips noted above, consider ways you can improve a facility with: 

RELATED: Top 10 Commercial Interior Design Trends for 2023

Need Help? Contact Our Team

By regularly inspecting and addressing minor issues now, business owners can save significantly in the long run while maintaining a safe, comfortable environment for employees, clients, and visitors.

Need ideas for additional small construction projects that can improve your facility and increase the property value of your Wisconsin or Iowa-based business? Check out our Small-Scale Commercial Construction Project Guide, and reach out to our team for a consultation, site assessment, and recommendations.

Small-Scale Commercial Construction Projects

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