Hotel Professionals

Maintenance is the unsung department and hotels



Modern hotels with all their mechanical installations must be maintained properly and regularly to ensure that everything functions as it should.

Without proper maintenance, anything mechanical will not survive for any length of time.

Engineering is the “unsung” department in buildings. Maintenance employees work behind the scenes, in backrooms, basements, in dark corridors, boiler rooms, on air conditioning installations, provide hot and cold water, electricity, properly functioning TV sets, IT repairs, fix plumbing, plan and conduct fire drills, provide general maintenance, from changing bulbs to ensuring even electricity consumption.

In some properties, this important department is in charge of disposing of garbage, maintaining the swimming pool, gardens, removing snow, and laundry room maintenance. No hotel or large restaurant can function without an effective team of maintenance workers led by a stationary engineer familiar with all the operations mentioned above. In big restaurants, a maintenance department may be needed, but in smaller establishments either an experiences maintenance employee or contract business can accomplish the task. In most restaurants, HVAC (heat, ventilation, and air conditioning), kitchen equipment, and electrical machines are important and must be properly maintained.

In old buildings (heritage, or sanctioned by the city as heritage) maintenance becomes even more important. Heritage buildings are solid with thick walls, but were never designed for modern conveniences i.e electricity, central heating, gas fired ovens, boilers, IT cables, and TV just to name a few. Installing any of these requires compromises and they must be properly maintained, and occasionally replaced at great expense. In cold climes, plumbing very low winter temperatures freeze and burst old pipes. Mice may gnaw electrical wiring, thus causing electrical supply failures creating havoc in teh smooth running of the establishment.

In most countries, even in developed countries, electricity may be sporadic, even fail completely, due to natural extreme weather conditions, or excessive demand.

It is crucial for hotels in such regions to install and maintain electricity generators that would kick in when the city supply stops abruptly. Think of fully loaded elevators stuck between floors when electricity cuts off. They stop immediately.

Ideally, all kitchens must be equipped with gas and electrical equipment so that if one fails the other can compensate for the failure. Maintenance departments are on duty 24/7 and the head of the department is part of the executive committee. In addition to all the above, in remote resort hotels the maintenance is in charge of sewage collection and disposal.

All maintenance department heads must develop plans for preventive measures, inspect equipment regularly and replace any faulty equipment. They must also maintain inventory for spare parts, and ensure a list of suppliers willing and able to sell required parts. Inevitably, some equipment must be imported, and spare parts may take a long time to arrive, and in some special cases even to maintain without expert advice or presence.

Emergency repairs, such as faulty TV sets must be dealt with immediately, while less important duties, like replacing bulbs in corridors, can be prioritized by using work orders.

As more and more mechanical and electrical equipments are installed in modern buildings, it becomes imperative to examine electricity consumption and install control mechanisms so as not to exceed maximum load, which ends up in penalties.

In some hotels the maintenance department must also plan renovations, i.e renovating plumbing, toilets, mattresses, repainting, installing new mattresses just to name a few .

General managers must guide and control the maintenance department to ensure a smooth functioning building and keep costs in line.


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