Public Housing Authority Sustain the Benefits of Recent Renovations
Increasing Energy Efficiency and Resident Comfort
A major urban area housing authority made local headlines when it renovated a 177-unit facility. The authority installed solar water heating, co-generation and a host of other ‘green’ features to increase energy efficiency and resident comfort.
DPA was tasked with developing an annual maintenance plan and maintenance management approach to protect the housing authority’s investment in this residential facility.
What the Team Faced
The housing authority’s staff had been accustomed to maintaining the older facilities that the authority had acquired over the years with a “fix it when it breaks” maintenance approach. Consequently, they were faced with the need to establish pro-active policies and procedures necessary to sustain the condition of this newly renovated building.
DPA senior consultant Glen Veno began by meeting with the site management and maintenance staff to understand their work environment and walk the facility with them. He then spent the next several weeks gathering equipment details and facility configuration information needed to create a master property and equipment list. This information would form the foundation for the development of preventive maintenance (PM) tasks, including inspections, lubrication, regulatory compliance as well as funding source compliance requirements. After the tasks were defined, routes were developed to optimize the scheduling and execution of these tasks (performed by both residential and contracted labor resources).
Glen reviewed the hardcopy and online OEM manuals as well as the current PM practices developed by the central maintenance organization, some of which were written on the walls and ductwork near the equipment, in preparation for developing formal PM procedures and the annual plan for PMs, unit inspections and general work execution.
The housing authority asked that these priorities be included in the Annual Maintenance Plan:
- Annual inspections that meet established Housing Quality Standards (HQS)
- Routine and seasonal work
- Preventive maintenance
CHA asked DPA to develop the annual maintenance plan in an easy-to-use Excel format because they did not want to continue using their aging CAFM system. The final plan (and details) would need to be simple enough to use immediately, but comprehensive enough to meet the contract requirements and in a format that would allow importing into the impending CAFM replacement. As a result, DPA developed a 52-week annual maintenance plan for all planned work and a monthly schedule for all their outside contractors.
As the PM and work procedures were developed, the annual maintenance plan was expanded to include regular unit inspections in accordance with HQS requirements and routine upkeep tasks for the building exterior and grounds, and for planned outside contractor visits…virtually any task that would involve the consumption of residential labor or outside contractors, associated with the maintaining the property and assets.
Where appropriate, each work procedure included scheduled frequency, skill (general labor, electrician, plumber, etc.), estimated hours, and any special materials/tools required. The plan showed the total work hours required for housing authority staff for each week of the year to facilitate level loading and resource planning.
The housing authority’s maintenance staff reviewed and approved the PMs, inspections, and general work procedures as they were developed. This made for an easy transition to begin using them (with a weekly schedule) as part of the new maintenance management program. The facility manager took over responsibility for maintaining the annual plan, the weekly work schedule, and issuing work orders on a weekly basis for the scheduled work.
The housing authority stands to benefit from the new annual maintenance plan and related procedures a variety of ways:
- All routine and PM work is now captured in a 52-week schedule that shows the estimated hours required.
- Step-by-step checklist-style work procedures will be issued along with each work order. This not only helps workers perform the correct tasks but also establishes an accountability trail by requiring sign off by the worker performing the work and the supervisor who reviews the completed work.
- Outside contractors can be more easily managed now that their expected visits are visible in the maintenance plan.
- The new daily “walk down” checklist provides a thorough listing of inspection points and criteria for the staff to check from the roof to the basement.
- Regularly scheduled residential unit inspections are designed to meet Housing Quality Standards and include PM tasks to minimize intrusion time into the units.
- As part of the maintenance management program, DPA established a set of baselined cost ratios such as maintenance cost per square foot and per unit. The program also includes key performance indicators for regular reporting to increase transparency and accountability.