Planned Property Maintenance for Care Homes
Chris Price looks at how a programme of Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) avoids unexpected shocks when capital expenditure suddenly becomes urgent in our cash-strapped elderly care sector
I became Property Director at Horsfall House, a charity run nursing home at Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, in April 2017. The home provides 44 beds, split evenly between General Nursing for the frail and elderly and Specialist Nursing for those with dementia and other memory disorders. In my previous article, I considered the financial balancing act facing many care homes today.
Here, I make the case for the importance of having a programme of Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) in place.
The Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) Survey
Previously, repairs and maintenance at Horsfall House had been undertaken on an ad-hoc basis without proper planning which led to unexpected shocks when capital expenditure suddenly became urgent. The first step following my appointment was to advise the Operational Board of the potential exposure for repair, maintenance and upgrade over the next 10 years and so I commissioned a comprehensive survey and report that considered a 10 year strategy to be implemented over a period of 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years. The report adopted a traffic light system of reporting and was fully costed, focusing on two primary areas of concern for the home
1. Condition rating for the building and fixtures; (4 categories traffic light coding: Green, Yellow, Orange & Red)
2. Health & Safety Rating (3 categories traffic light coding: Green, Orange & Red)
The traffic light system quickly and clearly identifies those areas that must be prioritised and those which can be attended to later and in this case the report identified several urgent matters in relation to both the buildings & fixtures and also requirements resulting from updates to the fire regulations.
Benefits of a Planned Preventative Maintenance Programme
As with many operations of this nature it is easy to overlook the day to day management of the building and mechanical and electrical systems leading to high and often un-budgeted costs when things go wrong. We would recommend that operators of similar homes should have 10 year plans for the buildings and essential equipment and PPM schedules can be a great tool which allows for sensible budgeting and programming of works providing the following benefits
Cost Savings – new efficient equipment. For example with the continual improvements in efficiency and the drive for reducing carbon output large savings, in excess of 25%, can be achieved by replacing old boilers with new.
Cost Management – this is probably the area where PPM programs give the greatest benefit to the management of the home. A long term plan allows repairs , maintenance and improvements to be planned with the most urgent being given priority. Financial shocks are avoided and the improvement in cost budgeting feeds through to the homes pricing strategy which can be more accurately set.
Price Management – A properly run PPM programme will over a period of time show considerable savings as work can be undertaken in a planned and timely manner. Expensive emergency works are avoided and competitive prices can be achieved for major spends.
Minimal Disruption – this is particularly important in homes where residents due to the nature of their condition do not like changes to their daily life. By planning for the works with the nursing teams activity in bedrooms is scheduled for times when residents are at lunch or engaged in other activities.
My experience based on real life examples is that a professionally produced and implemented PPM greatly improves the management of nursing and care homes leading improved budgeting, cost savings, reduced stress for both the caring and maintenance teams fewer complaints, helping with CQC inspections.
At the end of the day a clean pleasant and well maintained facility is what is needed for this essential service.
Chris Price is lead director at PACT Property & Assets Ltd
with more than 30 years experience in the property sector
T: 0117 456 8775
M: 07979 541215
CHRIS PRICE MRICS, NARA