When creating a budget for building maintenance, there are five, simple steps you should take. First, plan for routine care. Then, examine the life cycle of more costly equipment. Next, talk with management to determine which capital expenses are coming up. Put a contingency fund in place. Finally, be prepared to reevaluate and reassess your building throughout the year.

Every year, owners can expect to make a few updates. These typically include the maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment, like changing filters and light bulbs. Any items that need to be serviced should be included in your yearly budget.

While those are typically smaller costs, there are larger ones you can plan for as well. For example, HVAC equipment typically has a life cycle of 10 to 15 years, depending on how well it is maintained. To keep your equipment running as long as possible, be sure to follow the maintenance schedule for each piece of equipment. Put those routine checks on your calendar to ensure they happen throughout the year.

Furniture also lasts for 10 to 15 years. However, companies may be ready for a change sooner, if there is a shift in style or working arrangement. For example, many years ago, workplace environments moved from private offices to the original workstations. Now, companies are reconfiguring their spaces to match new, flexible work environments and collaboration areas.

To determine how much to plan for, talk to your controller or CFO and President about the budget. Every year, it should include routine costs for maintenance. However, it’s important to find out if bigger capital expenses are coming up. Some things that may trigger these expenditures are:

  • Equipment nearing the end of its life cycle.
  • Upcoming renovations.
  • Mergers or acquisitions.
  • A large increase in hiring.

If you’re planning a large renovation, bring partners in early, even if it’s just to create a conceptual budget. You need those numbers to plan for the change in the following year’s financial plan.

There are many expenses you can count on, but some may still surprise you. Having a contingency fund for unexpected updates and fixes can be a life-saver. There a few signs you can look for to anticipate when equipment may stop working. If something is leaking or smells like smoke, it may be time for a replacement.

Once you have a budget set, make a plan to reassess it. We recommend evaluating your building needs every six months. At the check in, you may determine everything is working well, but taking them time to ensure you have a functioning office is important to the success of your company as a whole.

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