Preparing a program
At least two levels of programming are required:
Long term maintenance, up to and including the first painting cycle (usually every three years internally and five years externally) and then beyond for further items such as flat/ felt covered or thatched roofs
Annual maintenance, for items such as boilers, gutters, fire extinguishers etc a schedule can be compiled by referring to your annual inspection survey, day log book or diary and work carried over from the previous year. How you deal with urgent maintenance should be reviewed at least annually and sooner if problems persist.
Invariably, the cost of all the works you might want to carry out in any one year will exceed your budget. You have to decide what is necessary this year to maintain your pub within the funds available, and what could be carried forward to the successive year(s).
In other words you will have to prioritise your spending according to several factors, including health and safety (such as worn carpets and other tripping hazards, security of premises (that dodgy lock that a 3-year old could pick), statutory requirements (annual inspection of the gas boiler), vandalism and accidental damage (graffiti included), increased operating costs (fixing that door closer on your beer store to keep the cold air in), loss of revenue caused by disruption to business operations (you have to shut the kitchen because of an EHO notice about the state of repair or decoration), likely failure of critical building fabric (your roof has just blown off in a force 8 gale!).
Inspecting your pub and equipment
Regular inspections are essential to any planned preventative maintenance programme as they ensure continuing serviceability and reduce labour costs and materials used. Inspections should be carried out using standard forms to assist comparison with previous inspections.
When carrying out inspections, you need to develop your skills in detecting the first signs of failure (have a word with your surveyor and the local tradesmen you use for hints). Do not attempt to carry out work or inspections that may expose you or others to danger seek the help of relevant specialists if necessary.
The inspection schedules (over time) should guide you in what to look for, and how often you need inspections to maintain your property. The schedule should give an average life expectancy for materials or elements (again speak to your surveyor and tradesmen/suppliers), but remember that location (are you a seaside pub?), micro-climate (say within a steamy kitchen or damp cellar) will affect the rate of deterioration. You will need to monitor life expectancy and adjust it annually based on your inspections.
There is no general rule on how often maintenance surveys need to be carried out. The frequency of inspections will be influenced by the rate of decay and deterioration of various building elements and equipment. One of the main purposes of a maintenance plan should be to provide you with guidance in this area. Clearly some elements may deteriorate more rapidly than others, for example, storm water drainage is likely to require inspections and attention at closer intervals than joists, timbers or roof repairs and a heavily used glasswasher will need more attention than a less used one.
When the maintenance plan is introduced you should be conservative and carry out some inspections at shorter intervals, for example six or twelve months. Gradually, you may find it appropriate to extend or reduce the intervals between inspections and maintenance procedures of the various building elements and equipment.
While many defects can be easily seen, others may require instrument or laboratory testing for an early indication of rot or infestation in timber, dampness in walls, decay beneath a painted surface or serviceability of a fire alarm system. Obviously for these test you will need the assistance of a specialist contractor.
The effectiveness of the maintenance work that has been carried out should be reviewed regularly. An important part of the maintenance planning for your pub is to improve on previous maintenance decisions so that subsequent maintenance spending is more effective. Issues to consider when reviewing the work include was it necessary or appropriate? The timing and standard time frame of the planned maintenance work. The suitability and effectiveness of contractors and/or staff involved in maintenance tasks and the costs involved.
Top Tip – getting a full structural survey done at the start of a tenancy or when you purchase a property will give you the benchmark for much of your PPM program – as it will tell you the condition, what (if anything needs doing) and when you can expect to have to do any works. It should also indicate the likely costs and thus you will not only be able to prepare the schedule of works for your PPM but also make informed budgeting decisions. See the separate article on Structural Surveys.
A Note on Dilapidations and a change in the Law
For those of you who rent or lease your pub from a brewery or pubco a new dilapidations protocol came into force on 1st January 2012 and has been adapted as a Pre Action Protocol under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). The 59th update of the CPR in relation to dilapidations, was confirmed by Government as being officially in being from 1st October 2012. Basically any Dilapidations Schedule upon which reliance is placed after that date, should be compliant with the relevant CPR. The Landlord has to now provide further details in respect of the dilapidations issues which are as follows:
- Confirmation that all works are reasonably required to remedy the tenant’s breaches.
- A statement making clear what the Landlord’s intentions are at the end of the term, whether the Landlord intends to seek change of use, or demolish the property, or undertake a significant internal development / refurbishment.
- A statement should be made available that the Landlord’s surveyor has taken into account the Landlord’s intentions. This is obviously to avoid stating that items need replacing if, in fact, the Landlord will be removing these items at the end of the term.
- Confirmation that any costings are reasonable.
Finally and aside from the CPR Protocol as above, there is also the issue of the realistic extent of any damage to the value of the Landlord’s reversion.
The CPR specifically applies to any ongoing dilapidations issue concerning the termination of a business tenancy. It does not matter if the original Schedule of Dilapidations was served say, last year, if the issue is still ongoing, full compliance must be observed.