Trade Schools with Building Maintenance Programs
People with building maintenance jobs are essential to preserving a safe, productive work place for many types of businesses. Sometimes referred to as repair workers or general maintenance staff, these employees ensure the smooth day-to-day operation of schools, hospitals, offices, factories, apartment complexes and more.
While a building maintenance degree or certification is not always a necessity, many states do require licenses to work with plumbing and electricity. Prospects often obtain these certifications through trade schools and universities. Workers may learn basic repair skills on the job, however expanding their knowledge and abilities through educational programs can increase their chances of receiving better pay and job opportunities.
What Is Building Maintenance?
Depending on the specific needs of a business, building maintenance careers involve a large variety of tasks. At its core, the field is responsible for keeping a building functional so that employees or tenants are productive and content. This might mean fixing the air conditioning in a school to make sure students are comfortable during the day, or rewiring electrical outlets in an apartment complex.
Some maintenance workers also fill the role of custodians and janitorial staff. In many cases, these employees work as a team under a direct supervisor to carry out general day-to-day tasks. While some job duties may include making minor repairs, custodians are typically responsible for duties such as emptying trash, sweeping and mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms.
While the duties of a building maintenance job vary, supervisory roles are essential for overseeing the team. Delegating work, determining the timeline for job completion and even hiring staff falls to building maintenance supervisors. Whether it’s custodial work or intense electrical repairs, management is crucial to ensure the workplace stays safe and orderly.
What Are Building Maintenance Job Duties?
In many ways, repair technicians are responsible for the behind-the-scenes work that goes on at a business. Some of this work includes important tasks such as:
- Performing inspections
- HVAC maintenance and repair
- Servicing plumbing, refrigeration and electrical systems
- Repairing boiler systems
- Regular cleaning and general upkeep
- Performing exterior repairs and yardwork
What Types of Skills Should Building Maintenance Employees Possess?
Building maintenance jobs often involve working in direct contact with others. This can include customers at a shopping mall or outlet store, the staff of an office or simply other repair technicians. As such, maintenance employees must be able to act professionally and courteously while performing their job duties.
While it is essential for maintenance employees to have extensive knowledge of repair, it is also important to consistently learn new skills. As technology changes, so too do the tools people must use to maintain it. Staying up-to-date with the necessary codes and changes to things like heating and electrical systems is imperative.
Perhaps most important of all, employees in the maintenance field must understand the complex systems they encounter on a daily basis. In addition to allowing them to perform their jobs faster and successfully, a vast bank of knowledge also keeps them and everyone else safe.
How Do Building Maintenance Employees Maintain Their Workspace?
Organization is key to maintaining any workspace, and this is especially important when it comes to a building maintenance career. There are countless tools and supplies workers rely on every day to perform their job, and misplacing those can result in disrupting the completion timeline of a task or spending money on costly replacements.
Why Do Building Maintenance Employees Need to Multi-task?
To fulfill the requests of employers, maintenance workers must be able to work on multiple projects at the same time. For example, workers might address a plumbing issue, paint a bathroom, replace light fixtures in a hallway and clean out gutters all in a single day. Moving from one job to the next in an orderly manner is essential for these employees to perform their jobs successfully.
How Do Building Maintenance Employees Promote Their Work?
Depending on the specific branch of maintenance a person is seeking a job in, the steps to promoting their work changes. A janitor or electrician can simply submit a job application to a library, college or other company expressing interest in employment. Independent contractors looking to build a client base often put advertisements in newspapers and online promoting their services.
Another route a maintenance worker can take to promote themselves comes in the form of networking. Groups such as the International Facilities Management Association provide resources and newsletters detailing the latest developments in the field and even job opportunities.
What are Useful Skills for People in This Field?
- Ability to work independently and as a team
- Willingness to adapt and learn new techniques
- Quickly assess and address issues
- Ability to read technical manuals and documents
- Work well under deadlines
- Ability to work long hours
- Willingness to be on-call for emergency repairs
- Working with or near the public
- Basic math skills
- Leadership skills
Are There Special Requirements for Building Maintenance Jobs?
In addition to attending building maintenance school programs and on-the-job training, special certification is a requirement for some careers. If an employee plans on repairing HVAC, electrical systems and plumbing, they must acquire the necessary licenses. These certifications vary by state, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the specific requirements of your location. Some of these certifications include:
- Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRP)
- Building Systems Maintenance Certificate (SMC)
- Building Operator Certification (BOC)
- HVACR Certification
the Outlook of Building Maintenance Jobs?
Since all commercial, residential and industrial businesses must remain safe and functional at all times, careers in building maintenance are always in demand. As communities expand and the construction of new stores, housing and factories increases, so too does the need for this thriving field.
The average annual salary for building maintenance jobs is around $39k, though experience and certified training can lead to increased pay and job benefits. Due to the expected increase in home sales and remodeling projects, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a six percent growth in employment between 2018 and 2028.
What Should Workers Expect?
Some jobs in building maintenance require people to work long hours and remain available for emergencies. Depending on the position, employees should also expect to travel for their job. You go where the job takes you, and sometimes that can result in out-of-state travel for extended periods.
Where Can Prospects Find Work?
Since every building requires upkeep and consistent maintenance, employees can often find work in any state in the country. The only limiting factor in landing certain jobs is certification, though this is not always the case. The most common places maintenance prospects find work are:
- Apartment complexes
- College campuses
- Public parks
- HVAC, plumbing and electrical companies
Can You Work Remotely?
Due to the nature of the field, maintenance and repair work almost always occurs on site. Those in management roles may offer instruction to employees through email, phone or video calls, but this is usually only in certain circumstances. In order to effectively inspect a job site, develop a plan and then provide service, a hands-on approach is necessary.
Do Building Maintenance Employees Have Any Other Options?
Since the field of building maintenance is so broad, there are many different jobs an employee can perform. Any company that needs electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists is an option. There is also the possibility of branching out on your own and starting a maintenance company as a private contractor.
What are Alternate Careers for Building Maintenance Employees?
Other careers that maintenance employees can perform include welding, carpentry, boiler making and construction. If a person’s certification level is high enough, they can increase their scope to include management and supervisory roles within these related fields.