Top issues in church facility maintenance & management

Based on 29 years of maintaining large commercial and government facilities, ESRA founder Rob Rogers has compiled the following list of most neglected church facility maintenance and management issues:

1. Scheduled maintenance on HVAC Systems.

  • Key Indicators:  Low/no cooling; Runs excessively; Freezing up due to dirty coils.
  • What you should do:  Establish a Preventive Maintenance program.

2. Energy Management such as programmable thermostats, lighting control & usage, energy efficient windows, insulation, air leaks and water conservation.

  • Key Indicators:  Cold Spots; Systems on when building is unoccupied; Faucets leak; High Utility Bills; South facing rooms are hotter than others.
  • What you should do:  An Energy Audit to identify energy efficient upgrades.

3. Roof repair and maintenance.

  • Key Indicators:  Shingles that are warped, missing or torn; Ceiling spots or leaks.
  • What you should do:  Inspect roof and get repair estimates.

4. Budgeting and forecasting for building systems replacements and repairs.

  • Key Indicators: Urgent repair/replacement needs; no funds to complete the work.
  • What you should do:  Develop a 4-5 year Capital Improvement Plan that includes system replacements.

5. Tracking work accomplished or scheduled and associated warranties.

  • Key Indicators:  Not knowing when the job will begin and end; the impact on services; if the warranty covers a break or repair.
  • What you should do:  Track all work and warranties in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).

6. Annual inspections required by state or local codes and associated documentation.

  • Key Indicators:  Inspections expire without owner awareness, often resulting in fines.
  • What you should do:  Manage and track third party inspections in a CMMS.

7. Dealing with small maintenance issues before they become larger ones.

  • Key Indicators:  “Small” repairs become expensive replacements and/or work.
  • What you should do:  Don’t kick the maintenance “can” down the road by being penny-wise but pound-foolish.

8. Emergency evacuation/escape and Fire Suppression systems maintenance and operation.

  • Key Indicators:  Inadequate coverage; Cumbersome/cluttered escape routes.
  • What you should do: Inspect/test systems as required by manufacturers and conduct regular drills.

9. Handicapped accessibility, such as parking and movement through the facility.

  • Key Indicators:  Disabled members/guests need assistance to overcome obstacles when entering and/or utilizing the facility (e.g. doors, entrances, parking areas, restrooms, etc.).
  • What you should do:  Churches do not have to comply with Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, however, it shows consideration for the disabled to comply.  Should it be easier for a disabled person to enter a liquor store than enter and utilize a church?