Winter Preventative Maintenance: 3 Tips to Get You Ready

Staying organized, documenting problems as they arise and communicating with those in charge of the spaces that are being maintained are three keys to conducting successful winter PM.

Tim Albright

It’s about time to get ready for preventive maintenance during the holiday break. This can be a daunting task, so here are some tips on making the most of PM.

1. Organize

At the college I was previously employed, we had three campuses with 200 classrooms to take care of. Part of what made the process simple and efficient was organization.

My colleague and I would take a work cart, supply it with cleaner, dusting rags, replacement lamps for the projectors, a DVD to test the system and laptop with the requisite software and control programs loaded.

Walking up and down the halls,  we would pop into a room, check off our to-do list and be in and out in under half an hour.

This took about a total of 100 man hours or roughly twelve working days. With two of us, we were able to complete the circuit in about two weeks.

2. Document

Documenting is an incredibly important step as it sets the stage for the “M” part of PM.

When you find a problem, have a system in place for how to take care of it. I would not recommend taking care of it right then and there. Here’s why.

When you are in PM mode, you are there to clean and test the system. If you discover an issue that needs to be dealt with and can confidently diagnose the issue quickly, then by all means fix it.

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If, however, you cannot set it aside for another day, here’s what I recommend.

Typically, we would set aside one day for every three days of PM work. That means we would PM Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then Thursday we would work on issues that arose in the first three days.

This way, you are not waiting until the very end and discovering you need to order a part or send something off for repair. Doing winter PM is as much time management as it is doing the work itself.

3. Communicate

Communicating is a huge step. Make sure those in charge of scheduling the rooms as well as faculty know what is going on with the rooms they depend on.

We typically had in-service the week before classes resumed in the spring. This was a great time to gather key faculty or department heads and inform them about what was going on in their teaching spaces.

Winter preventative maintenance is a key part of making sure the learning environment is kept in working order. It is more of a time crunch than the summer, but when done right, can head off bigger problems down the road.