Regular building maintenance is a crucial, yet easily forgotten, task for building owners. However, deferred maintenance can lead to more expensive, time-consuming measures in the future. It is better to head off any problems in the present than to deal with a larger headache in the future that could greatly impact not only the property owner, but also possibly even affect the business paying rent in the building.
Strategically budgeting for repairs is the first step a property owner should take to maintain their property. Repairs, whether planned for or not, will always happen. Building owners should consider developing a replacement schedule for items such as roof replacement, paint touch-up, window caulking, and more. Knowing when certain projects will need to be addressed helps to budget and get ahead of the problem before it even begins. For instance, a new roof is rated for 15 years. Building owners should budget to replace that roof in about 15 years to avoid issues like water damage that will harm the building further and cause additional, costly fixes. Other projects can include foundation repairs, leaking windows/replacement, and pest damage.
Building owners also benefit from emphasizing quality building maintenance and repairs and avoiding cheap fixes cutting corners. Cheap fixes generally equate to a Band-Aid being on the problem that may or may not actually solve the underlying issue. For example, repointing brick with mortar that will actually hurt the integrity of the brick can cause expensive, unforeseen problems. Building owners should take the time to either look at the problem or have a trained professional with historic building experience identify the issue so that a plan of action can be set into motion for the longevity of the building.
Deferred maintenance or repairs can also negatively affect the business owner that is paying rent in the building. Main Street America studies and findings published in, “An Analysis of the Economic Impact of Physical Improvements on Retail Sales” by Brenda Spencer show that customers are more willing to step foot in and pay money to a business located in a building that is more visually appealing than a building that appears to be rundown and neglected. For the business to make money and pay rent, they need to be located in a building that is maintained and inviting to the public.
Be on the lookout for the next One-Pager from the Historic Preservation Committee on building maintenance best practices. To see the other completed one-pagers on “Shading Downtown: Awnings and Canopies”, “Masonry 101”, and “Painting 101: Historic Buildings”, please visit the Main Street blog and Main Street Resource Library.