The house that you live in or are thinking of buying may be comfortable and very well built but surely needs repair and maintenance now and then (somewhat depending on its age). Before we go into details, we need to know the three basic terms i.e., Repair, Maintenance (pre-emptive maintenance), and Upgrade (renovation), and how they differ from each other.
Repair is done when something breaks down, stops working, or gets damaged during operation. For example, choking off a sewerage line, leakage in the pipe, or breakdown of the HVAC system, etc. Repair work is generally unplanned as it is done only when something goes broken or starts malfunctioning.
Maintenance is done periodically (when assets are in working condition) to minimize/avoid breakdowns of the equipment or assets and to continue to perform its work correctly. Maintenance is a planned activity carried out at fixed times or time intervals. For example, periodic maintenance of the HVAC system, cleaning of water storage tanks, painting of the exterior, maintenance of driveway and backyard, etc.
Upgrades are somewhat different as they involve expansion, renovation, and improvements by replacing old assets (which may or may not be in running condition) with modern, larger, and more efficient ones for example wooden floors, false ceilings, home appliances, doors, windows, curtains, lights and decor, HVAC systems, landscaping, etc.
Why House Repair and Maintenance is important?
Regular maintenance done periodically or after a certain time duration is very important for smooth operation and long useful life of the assets and it also saves on the cost incurred during repair of the same asset after it gets broken because of improper or no periodical or preventive maintenance.
Let us take the example of a garden fence. If we do regular maintenance by cleaning and painting, minor repairs like reinstalling missing nails and screws and cleaning and painting rusted portions, the fence is going to last longer. If we fail to do periodic/preventive maintenance all the fences will get rusted and lose their shape very soon and become either Beyond Economic Repair (BER) or irreparable. This means that repair costs would be more than the replacement costs. So, replacement becomes commercially viable. Had it been maintained properly it may have served for a few more years or months. Similarly, if we don’t maintain furniture with minor repairs and polishing, it will become loose and lose shape and shine. So preventive maintenance saves hassle and cost. Remember the famous saying “A stitch in time saves nine”.
How do we identify repair or upgrade needs?
The key word is “being watchful”. It is a good idea to put into your weekly routine a QHSE audit trip of the entire house i.e., from the driveway to the top of the roof. Keep your eyes and ears open, be alert, and concentrate on the condition and appearance. Any abnormal sound or appearance should call for your attention and investigation as there may be some minor repair work needed.
Pay attention to any signs of leakage, cracks, peeling off paint, vibration, or abnormal sound of any equipment, a hole or crack in the tarpaulin or fiberglass shed, as this may be a warning sign asking for a repair or replacement/upgrade. This early detection will help prevent the development of any major issue and provide an opportunity to get it addressed earlier at a much lesser cost and time.
If you ignore these symptoms, they are not going to disappear with time, for sure! The problems will grow severe with time and then it may become out of control and then you may have to go for some major repairs, for example, digging out the entire floor and replacing all underground piping, redoing the paintwork of the entire wall, replacement of the backyard fencing, etc., etc.
During the inspection, you may find that the equipment needs replacement or upgradation (mostly based on the general appearance, breakdown history, and the manufacturer’s recommendations). You may decide to replace the equipment with new ones because your requirement has increased, or the existing equipment is not energy efficient.
For example, if your existing TV set does not support a connection to the internet and you miss browsing or some other channel you may decide to upgrade by replacing your television with a smart television or you may feel the requirement for an additional TV in the lounge. This is termed as an upgrade.
Considering Efficient Planning with Construction Scheduling Software
When pondering house repairs, upgrades, or even preventive maintenance, it’s wise to consider efficient planning. Explore this guide on Primavera P6 vs. MS Project to delve into user-friendly tools that can enhance your scheduling game. These software options aren’t just for construction projects, they can be valuable in planning and budgeting your house repairs or upgrades effectively.
Understanding the capabilities of such tools can streamline your decision-making process and help you manage your home improvement projects with ease. So, if you’re looking to make your repair or upgrade journey smoother, this guide is an essential resource to check out.
How to budget a repair or an upgrade?
You will have to plan and conduct a market survey and solicit quotations. Once quotations are received you need to search for users feedback about the supplier, its after-sales service, and the quality of the product. Now you will have to repair vs. replace analysis yourself keeping in view the following factors as a minimum:
- Existing condition of the equipment. If the existing condition is too bad, for example, cracks in the body, rust, leakage, noise, etc. then you may decide to replace it with a new one.
- Any previous history of breakdown of equipment. If the product has a history of frequent breakdowns and high costs of repair, then you probably should consider its replacement.
- Expected balance useful life of the equipment. If the balance of useful life as per recommendations is very limited, then it may be a strong reason for replacement.
- Expected useful life of the new equipment.
- Credibility of the vendor or subcontractor. If the credibility of the vendor or supplier is not strong enough, then you should look for some other vendor even if that may be a slightly more costly option.
- Warranty and after-sales service. A good warranty assurance and a strong after-sales history should give you enough confidence to go for
- Any possibility of a mortgage or lease offer? If you don’t have a budget at the moment, then a mortgage or a lease may be a good option.
- And most importantly, your affordability.
The Rise of Eco-friendly Materials in House Repairs
In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards sustainability in house repairs and upgrades. Homeowners are increasingly opting for eco-friendly materials that not only reduce their environmental footprint but also offer long-term cost savings. For instance, bamboo flooring has emerged as a popular alternative to traditional hardwood, providing durability and aesthetic appeal while being a rapidly renewable resource. Similarly, the use of recycled glass countertops and low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints are becoming common in renovations, reflecting a commitment to healthier and more sustainable living spaces. Incorporating these materials not only modernizes your home but also aligns with the growing global emphasis on environmental responsibility.
DIY vs. Professional Help
When it comes to house repairs and upgrades, homeowners often face the dilemma of choosing between DIY projects and hiring professionals. DIY repairs can be cost-effective and offer a sense of personal achievement, but they may also be time-consuming and require a certain level of skill. For complex tasks like electrical wiring or plumbing, professional assistance ensures safety and adherence to building codes. In contrast, simpler tasks like painting or minor installations can be easily handled by homeowners. It’s crucial to assess your own skills, the complexity of the project, and the potential risks involved. Remember, while DIY projects can save money upfront, professional work often guarantees quality and longevity, potentially saving money in the long run.
Repair and preventive maintenance are unavoidable if you want to avoid premature replacement of the equipment. Preventive maintenance not only reduces the chances of sudden breakdown of equipment but also saves on repair costs (maybe the cost of replacement at times) which are generally many times more than the preventive maintenance cost. Upgradation is a replacement of equipment when you feel its inadequacy, frequent breakdowns, or induction of new technology and operating cost-efficient products.