Regular inspections are basic to planned maintenance. They ensure continuing serviceability and economy of labour and materials. Inspections should be carried out using standard forms to assist comparison with previous inspections. It is desirable, but not always possible to use the same people over a long period to aid continuity with maintenance assessment.
As a property manager it is unrealistic to expect you to be and expert in all trades - at the very minimum you would be required to develop your skills in detecting the first signs of failure - difficult for even the most seasoned of performers.
Whilst a well planned schedule can provide an average life expectancy for materials or elements, remember that location, micro-climate and orientation will affect the rate of deterioration. Again, you would need to monitor life expectancy and adjust it annually based on your inspections - and again this is a tall order for those who have no experience in one trade - let alone a multitude of trades!
We wish to stress that you should NEVER attempt to carry out work or inspections that may expose you or others to danger, and you should always seek the help of relevant specialists if necessary.
There is no general rule on how often maintenance surveys need to be carried out. Frequency will be influenced by the rates of decay and deterioration of various building elements.
Clearly some elements may deteriorate more rapidly than others. For example, storm water drainage is likely to require more frequent inspection and attention at closer intervals than joint or roof repairs. One of the main purposes of a maintenance plan should be to provide guidance on this kind of event.
When the maintenance plan is introduced it is sensible to err on the conservative side and carry out some inspections at shorter intervals. Gradually, after background data has been collected, it may be found appropriate to extend the intervals between inspections and maintenance procedures of the various building elements. Similarly, it may be necessary to decrease the intervals - (i.e. a building that is located adjacent to large trees may need gutter inspections on a seasonal basis)
While many defects can be easily seen, others may require instrument or laboratory testing for an early indication of rot or termite infestation in timber, dampness in walls, or decay beneath a painted surface.