Pickens Construction and Development Pathway: Facilities Maintenance Technician—The Future is Proactive

A good facilities or property maintenance technician, as you well know, can fix problems before anyone is inconvenienced or worse. The problem is, inconvenience is the problem. Tenants, whether they’re living or working in a property, don’t call maintenance until something breaks down or otherwise fails to work properly. At Pickens, you’re learning how to be proactive with regular maintenance and service of building systems and devices, especially HVAC units and water heaters. But sometimes maintenance doesn’t prevent every mechanical failure.

Many tenants will complain no matter how fast you solve the problem. You’re only there fixing an issue because they called to complain, after all. But new systems are being put in place already to better anticipate facilities and building systems and mechanisms needing fixing. Response times and required service levels become more problematic for maintenance techs during peak seasonal periods of heating and cooling, when maintenance requests can stack up and cause delays precisely when tenants need the most assistance.

In class, you’re learning all the skills you’ll need to fix most problems that come up in property maintenance. That means a little bit of carpentry, electrical work, HVAC maintenance and other building systems that need servicing and repair, and many more little skills you’ll need on the job. Once you have these skills, there’s good news for you after Pickens: facilities maintenance is getting easier.

Closed-Loop Remote Monitoring

Remote facilities monitoring is not a new concept, but today, advances are being made to this concept to make it much easier to predict and fix maintenance issues and energy usage in properties. It all starts with on-premises data collection. You’re probably already learning about how these processes work, collecting real-time data on usage and maintenance issues. These systems are now able to automatically alert technicians and owners about possible problems and raised usage levels. These monitoring systems can detect system issues that have already happened, such as a deviating ambient temperature from the HVAC system.

Property maintenance systems are now moving to predictive analysis, which could cause changes in how property maintenance technicians work. Predictive analytics utilize historical data to highlight likely equipment and systems failures before they occur.

Machine Learning and AI

Machine learning concepts and artificial intelligence models are already being used to help predict equipment and system failure. The goal is for property owners and managers to be able to anticipate maintenance issues before they happen, so they can head off problems with maintenance technicians before the heaters stop working in December, for example. With emerging predictive analysis technology, you’ll be dispatched to fix issues in the heaters long before they go out and tenants start to complain.

What it Means for You

You’re undoubtedly already learning how to improve maintenance processes for different types of properties. As technology advances in this area, you could be expected to perform more regular and urgent maintenance and repair tasks as better data allows property managers to fix issues before they happen. It’s an exciting time to work in facilities maintenance.

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