Maintenance of Buildings: Meaning, Aims and Types

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Maintenance of Buildings is described as “the combination of (all technical and assorted administrative actions) any action carried out to keep an object in order or restore it to a condition in which it can perform its necessary function” in British Standard 3811-1974.

Furthermore, the Government of India’s Committee on Maintenance described maintenance as “work undertaken to maintain, repair, or upgrade any facility, i.e., every part of a building, its facilities, and its environs to a currently acceptable standard and to sustain the utility and value of the facility.”

The aim of building maintenance is to:

Thus, maintenance is construction with a variance in method, with the main objective being:

  • To keep machinery and construction systems, foundations, and other equipment in good working order.
  • To return them to their original condition.
  • iTo upgrade the facilities in accordance with the advancements in the concerned/relevant engineering.

A structure is exposed to the elements and is used for a variety of purposes. In addition, various in-building structures will invite various decaying agencies to act. Decay leads to damage, which attracts more decay, which invites more damage, and so on, until the structure is rendered unusable and dilapidated.

Building Maintenance Types: Building maintenance can be generally divided into three categories:

i. Routine maintenance,

ii. Preventive maintenance, and

iii. Remedial maintenance/measure or repair.

i. Routine Maintenance:

To keep the structure working and protect it from early deterioration, it must be maintained on a regular basis. A structure is made up of various parts that are placed in various positions and are made of various materials. Both of these are subject to natural deterioration as a result of aging. During the design process, the members’ lives are considered to be regular maintenance. A timber member, for example, is believed to be painted at regular intervals.

According to this assumption, timber will lose 40% of its power in 5 decades. Now, if the timber is not maintained, i.e., surface painting is not renewed, the timber member will display signs of decay early and its strength after 5 decades will be much lower than anticipated. Cleaning, servicing, oiling, greasing, plastering renewal, painting walls, painting woodwork, and so on are all part of routine maintenance.

There are a variety of tasks that come under routine maintenance which must be completed on a regular basis to ensure the building’s upkeep. Certain tasks must be completed daily, others weekly, and others at frequent intervals.

Routine maintenance is a post-construction task that must be completed in order to maintain the building in good repair and prevent it from being non-functional due to early decay.

These can be mentioned as follows:

a. Duties that must be completed on a regular basis:

  • Cleaning of the floors, walls, and other surfaces, not only with brushes but also with swabs as required, twice or even three times in the case of hospitals. If you don’t scrub, dirt and dust will collect, leading to early decay.
  • Brushes should be used to disinfect water closets, and acid or other commercially available cleaning products should be used at least once a week.
  • After cleaning the sanitary equipment and grounds, a hygienic ground must be spread with detergent powder or liquid.
  • Glass panes of doors and windows should be washed properly at least once a week with commercially available liquid cleaners.

b. Work that must be completed on a weekly basis:

  • The roof top should be washed weekly because dust and debris will obstruct the outlets, allowing rain water to accumulate on the roof and eventually leak in, causing significant structural damage.
  • Bathrooms and bathing areas should be washed at least once a week by flushing with 2/3 buckets of hot water. This will dislodge the oil and fat particles that have clogged the pit. Cleaning the utensils with earth and ashes is not recommended because it will clog the trap and shorten its Cleaning the utensils with earth and ashes is not recommended because it will clog the trap and shorten its lifespan.
  • The doors and windows can make a squeaky sound when they close, indicating that they need to be oiled. Once a week, the hinges should be oiled.
  • Once a week, the ventilation systems should be tested, washed, and oiled.
  • Electric pumps and motors can be mounted. These should be reviewed on a weekly basis, and their output should be documented in the log book. If there are any tube-wells, they must be tested on a regular basis, and their yield calculated and recorded in the log book.
  • Heavy electrical systems, such as transformers and switch gears, must be inspected and tested on a regular basis by a trained engineer. The amount of oil in an oil-based transformer must be tested.
  • At least once a week, the inside and outside decorations must be thoroughly washed.

c. Tasks that must be completed on a frequent basis:

  • Leaks can be found in soil pipes, waste water pipes, and rain water pipes, especially in horizontal sections. This may be the result of joint leakage. The leaking section of the pipe should be closed, and the damaged joint should be opened and cleaned. The joint would then be redone in the same manner as before. The joint between C.I. pipes and asbestos pipes should be sealed with lead caulking, while the joint between asbestos pipes should be sealed with cement.
  • The water supply lines must be tested, and if any leakage is discovered, the affected section must be removed, cleaned with dilute industrial acid and a brush, then washed with clean water and re-installed.
  • It is essential to clean the water reservoirs, both underground and above ground, for hygienic reasons. These should be washed at least once every three months.
  • In the walls, there are small hair cracks. These should be dug up and cement mortared. This will keep the affected area from deteriorating further. These patched-up holes will be kept under close scrutiny.
  • Small plants can be seen growing on the wall. This should be stopped when they are still tiny, as they can cause cracks in the adjoining portion of the wall and cause significant problems in the future. The plants should be uprooted as well as removed, and the area should be treated with a copper sulphate solution or acid to ensure permanent eradication.
  • Plastering on internal and external walls, as well as the ceiling, can bulge or crack in places. By pounding these areas with a light wooden hammer, these areas must be carefully examined. The areas that emit a dull sound suggest that the plaster has separated from the surface

After raking out the brick joints and washing the surface, these parts should be removed in a normal form and re-plastered with mortar of the same proportion.

  • Painting the interior and exterior surfaces of a building is essential for a variety of purposes, including hygienic, structural, and aesthetic considerations. The framework is covered by the surface rendering. However, since it is porous and retains moisture, it causes irreversible damage to the walls and, as a result, has a negative impact on the structure.

External painting (cement-based paint or lime-based color wash) covers the holes in the plaster and preserves the structure. Internal wall painting should be done once a year, and external wall painting every four years.

  • Painting of doors and windows, as well as water supply and drainage lines, should be undertaken at least every four years.
  • If sound or heat insulation is present, it must be tested for any leakage. If this is discovered, it should be fixed as soon as possible
  • Check electrical systems, internal plumbing, switches, fans, water heaters, and other similar items to see if there are any leakage spots, which are common in older buildings. These must be washed on a regular basis. To avoid any danger from a short circuit, the wiring must be checked every two decades.
  • The illuminating bodies should be washed once every month to keep the maintenance factor (P) at a constant value so that the bodies’ illumination does not deteriorate.
  • The plinth defense around the building must be maintained adequately so that surface water cannot percolate to the base and disturb its settlement.
  • For vertical transportation of people or goods, there might be installations such as lifts, escalators, and service elevators. After these are installed, Servicing and Maintenance Contracts are signed with the companies that installed them. They perform maintenance on a daily basis.
  • Daily cleaning of the grounds, i.e., the building’s compound, including the cutting and removal of unwanted trees, shrubs, and the removal of garbage, is needed to keep the area clean and friendly. This will strengthen the occupier’s/aesthetic user’s sense, as well as instill a sense of duty, better living, and good habits.

ii. Preventive Maintenance:

Preventive maintenance entails practices that are necessary to keep the structure strong and sound, as well as resistant to early decay or injury. The term “preventive maintenance” refers to the process of enhancing the efficiency of a structure’s construction in order to make it more stable and usable.

Prior to the start of construction, take the following precautions:

Preventive maintenance actions include soil investigation, gathering information about the site’s climatic environment, including any potential seismic hazard, and improving the structure to account for all likely future events.

Until this information is retrieved and fed to the builder, the structure will remain vulnerable to future disasters.

Taking Preventative Measures During Construction:

Even if the above information is retrieved and the structures are well-designed, they may be vulnerable to early decay due to a lack of preventative measures taken during construction.

The following are preventive steps that must be taken during construction to ensure the structure’s consistency and durability:

  • Choosing the appropriate materials for building and applying them correctly in accordance with specifications and I.S. Code.
  • Improving workmanship by employing skilled workers.
  • Cement concrete is one of the most important things that requires the most preventive maintenance in order to keep it weatherproof, sound, and long-lasting. Lime concrete, particularly when used as a water proofing course over a R.C.C roof, necessitates additional precautions.

Steel members that are used in building construction and are exposed to the elements are prone to early corrosion and require preventative measures to avoid early decay.

Timber used in building construction is prone to early decay and decomposition in a variety of ways. This can be avoided by choosing the right wood. Seasoned, treated, and painted wood must be covered from early weather action by seasoning, treating, and painting.

Natural Disasters:

Over the structure’s lifespan, it can be subjected to natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, floods, and so on. To allow the structure to withstand these, appropriate preventive measures must be integrated into the design and construction.

iii. Corrective Maintenance:

Even if all practicable preventive measures are taken and routine maintenance is performed, a structure will succumb to decay and damage, which will necessitate remedial measures.

The removal of any decayed or defective portion of the structure, as well as the removal of any flaw in the structure, is referred to as remedial maintenance or repairs. The structure can display signs of damage or distress due to a variety of factors. Action for repairs or reconstruction work should be taken without allowing the potential defect to worsen, causing more structural damage.

Before beginning any repair work, the cause and precise location of the defect or damage must be determined for proper removal. Repairing any defect or damage at random without determining the cause can result in serious damage in the future rather than rectification of the real issues!

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