Coordination with Maintenance Department
The maintenance department is responsible for the provision of engineering facilities that contribute to the comfort of guest and increase the efficiency of staff. The housekeeping department depends on maintenance to keep things in order. While carrying out their schedule work, housekeeping employee may find some deficiencies in the hotel facilities, such as faulty electric plugs, dripping faucets, leaking pipes, or malfunctioning air-conditioning units or WC cisterns. The housekeeping department often takes the first steps in maintenance functions for which the maintenance is ultimately responsible. How ever, these deficiencies and faults should be immediately reported to maintenance. A need for urgent repairs is reported to maintenance over telephone and these requests are usually dealt with promptly if the rapport between the two departments is good.
There are various heads under which maintenance work is done:
Electrical work – Air conditioning and heating, fused bulbs, lights and lamps that are not functioning, defective plugs and plug points, short circuits and faulty geysers, refrigerator and mini bars fall under this category.
Boiler work – This is necessary to maintain a supply of hot water to guestrooms.
Mechanical work – This entails repair or replacement of any faulty equipment, such as vacuum cleaners, ice-cube machine and so on.
Plumbing work – this deals with faulty faucets, showers, drainage systems, water closets and so on.
Civil work – Any masonry work comes under this head.
Carpentry work – Broken or shaky furniture mirrors, and cupboards in less than peak condition and fresh woodwork are all part of this.
To look at it another way, in terms of frequency, urgency and complexity of the job, there are three levels of maintenance work:
1. Routine maintenance
This involves maintenance activities that related to the general upkeep of the hotel. They occur on a regular basis, daily or weekly and required minimal training skills. These activities do not call for the making out of a formal work order and no records are maintained for them. Most of these routine maintenance activities are carried out by housekeeping. Proper care of many surfaces and materials by housekeeping personnel is the first step in the overall maintenance program for the property, such as : the replacement fused light bulbs, polishing of furniture, cleaning of windows and floor, and so on.
2. Preventive maintenance
This is systematic approach to maintenance in which situations are identified and corrected on a regular basis to control cost and keep larger problems from occurring. It involves inspections, minor corrections and initiation of work orders.
· Inspection – During the normal course of their duties, housekeeping personnel carry out inspection of most areas. Room attendants and supervisors regularly check for leaking faucets, chipped caulking around bathroom fixtures, fused bulbs, AC malfunction and so on.
· Minor correction – Problem of a greater magnitude are avoided if minor repairs are attended to promptly. If communication between housekeeping and maintenance is efficient, minor repairs will be rectified by the maintenance department even as the room attendant is cleaning the guestroom.
· Initiation of work order – Preventive maintenance sometimes identifies problems that are beyond the limited scope of minor corrections. The necessary work is then referred to the maintenance department through a formal work order system. The chief maintenance officer or the chief engineer then schedules this maintenance work to be done.
3. Schedule maintenance
This involves maintenance work initiated by a work order. Work order is key elements in the communication and coordination between housekeeping and maintenance. The moment a housekeeping personnel detects a problem that requires attention from maintenance, she/he calls the housekeeping control desk, stating the nature of the problem, the kind of assistance required, and the location where it is required. The control desk fills out a work order form in triplicate, each copy being of a different color. One copy is sent to the executive housekeeper and two copies to maintenance. The chief engineer keeps one of these copies and gives the other to the tradesperson assigned to do the repair. When the job is completed, a copy of the tradesperson’s completed work order is sent to the executive housekeeper for acknowledgement of work satisfactorily completed. If this copy is not sent to the executive housekeeper within appropriate period of time, housekeeping issues another work order, which signals maintenance to provide a status report on the requested repair.
Nowadays, many hotels install a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Engineering and maintenance departments in most hotels keep records of all equipment operated by housekeeping personnel. The purpose is to provide documentation of all maintenance activity on a given piece of equipment.