Feature Article - October 2014
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More Consideration Needed for Long-Term Facility Upkeep

By Deborah L. Vence

Keep a Checklist

A good way to make maintenance a priority is by keeping a checklist of what needs to be cared for on a regular and long-term basis—a list of all of your facilities and fields that need to be maintained.

"You create a checklist that every day you need to check this meter, this belt, every two weeks and every week [check the] hydrolics. Whatever the sequence takes place within that year. That should be laid out that something that needs to be done," Beckner said.

A good way to make maintenance a priority is by keeping a checklist of what needs to be cared for on a regular and long-term basis.

For example, lighting in a ball field is something that will have to be attended to consistently to ensure proper upkeep. And, with standardized lighting you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars just in buying the lamps. If you have 300 fields with 28 different types of lighting systems, that can be costly in having to maintain different lighting systems on a regular basis.

"People maintaining it have to be knowledgeable about it, [too]. Then, they will have specialty tools to maintain a particular model. And, you need to schedule funding for replacement," he added.

In another example, with other amenities, such as tennis courts, the windscreens around them and the surface of the courts will have to be attended to and maintained. The sub base of a tennis court will last for 20 years, Beckner noted, but it won't last 20 years if you allow the surface to crack and open itself to water and freeze and thaw. "You would have to break the sub base up and redo the whole thing," he said. However, "Tennis courts can go forever depending on the weather and soil."

To boot, a cyclical aspect of hard court basketball exists, too, as well as issues with sand courts, grass courts or asphalt courts … the turf itself has its own issue, depending on how you are taking care of it.

"Some of those kinds of things you can't plan for. Roofs on buildings … some buildings you may have to replace the shingles on a certain cyclical timeframe," he added.

A building or facility has a lifecycle, and you would expect that under sustainable maintenance that that facility—whether it's a tennis court or recreation center—will last X amount of years. Certain amenities have a timeframe as to when they are going to need to be repaired or replaced. Rugs might have to be replaced every five years; operating equipment in pools might have to be replaced every 10 years; and a boiler could need replacing every 15 years.

"Anything needs to have a lifecycle of the building. Those things that you need to do to keep pumps running, and things metered, bells and whistles—those are an annual thing and [should be] checklisted [to ensure you have] enough money," Beckner said.

And, don't forget about the minor things that can be an issue, too, if you don't plan it outright. The way you can manage that is by making appropriate cyclical replacements that are necessary.

You need to have all of those things filled out in the final documents, Beckner advised, because you need to build that into a maintenance management plan, so you have a cost and resource of material supply.

"And, you are either going to put that in as preventive in operating, or cyclical where you can put it in your capital budget," he added.