In early September 2015, a large sinkhole formed on Ness Avenue in Winnipeg following a heavy thunderstorm that struck the city. The appearance of the sinkhole caused delays for drivers and required city buses to divert from their routes.
The sinkhole was formed due to a collapsed large diameter land drainage sewer, according to news outlets that reported on the event. Although the damage to city property was dramatic and required weeks of repair, it was lucky that there were no citizens in the vicinity to make the situation even worse.
This example of improper drainage shows what can happen to a paved surface, and it also proves why any pavement issues you experience as a property manager must be taken care of immediately – before it’s too late.
Building a maintenance plan is key to the longevity of your paved areas, as heavy damage can be avoided if it is addressed early through regular maintenance checks. This requires being proactive and addressing issues before they arise, rather than being reactive and trying to tackle issues as they come up.
This approach will also save you money as part of your maintenance budget or help you use it more efficiently, because reacting to an emergency can quickly become costly when it doesn’t have to be.
How do I build a maintenance plan?
- Complete a pavement assessment
The first step to building a maintenance plan is having an experienced paving company complete a pavement assessment on your property. This isn’t just for parking lots – they also look at curbs and walkways to identify any areas that may threaten pedestrian safety, thereby causing liability issues.
A main aspect of the assessment is to inspect the drainage system. When a pipe in the drainage system cracks or breaks, water rushing in from the break can erode and wash away the material beneath the paved surface, creating a sinkhole.
“The asphalt is only as good as the base beneath it,” says Mario Lucia, president of Fort York Paving, a GTA-based paving company. “There are signs and things to look for to see if there’s damage. Sometimes it is subtle, like the asphalt around the catch basin settling too much or a small hollow hole develops adjacent to it.”
Understanding the cause of the damage is also important and helps the property manager understand how bad the damage is. The paving company will make recommendations on required services ranked from most costly to least, but repairs in high-traffic areas always take priority.
- Build a comprehensive plan with an expert
The type of plan you end up building depends on what type of property manager you are, according to Mr. Lucia. Investors of a property would benefit from building a full-fledged plan because having one in place would save time, money and stress down the road if an issue were to arise. This would include redoing large sections of the pavement for long-term results.
However, short-term plans could work for someone that intends on turning over the property quickly. This type of plan would address surface and cosmetic issues that could cause an immediate problem using localized patches, but does not deal with issues far below the surface.
“Depending on the situation, for long-term investors, it’s important to keep the property under control while maximizing returns. Investors can integrate the annual repair expenditure into the tenants’ maintenance component of leases,” says Mr. Lucia.
Next, the current condition of the pavement is used to identify its future condition and the associated costs. Finally, a schedule is drawn up and work is completed. Also part of the maintenance plan is monitoring the area where work was completed on an annual basis to verify its effectiveness.
Consequences to not building a maintenance plan
If the pavement on your property is outwardly perfect, it is understandable that you may be reluctant to plan for issues that do not exist presently. However, quite commonly the cost for repairs that arise are not budgeted for, and pushing the work to the following year can see the issues worsen and cost even more to resolve.
When it comes to budgeting your money effectively, building a maintenance plan for your paved regions is the best way to do that. Building a pavement maintenance plan can prevent liability issues now, and save you headaches in the future.
For more information, visit FortYorkPaving.com.