Building Maintenance Technician: Job Description

A well-staffed, fully-trained, and highly skilled maintenance team is essential to your organization’s process efficiency, workplace safety, and operational continuity. Your maintenance team is key to ensuring that your equipment is in optimal working condition, that your personnel aren’t plagued by unplanned downtime, and that your facilities operate smoothly and without interruption. 

An effective maintenance team will take on a wide range of responsibilities including routine upkeep of equipment, regular inspections, preventive maintenance (PM), and emergency repairs. Building maintenance technicians will fulfill an especially important set of responsibilities on this team. 

Why is a building maintenance technician important for your operation?

A building maintenance technician will take the lead in ensuring the upkeep, repair, and oversight of a facility’s physical assets, particularly building systems such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. This individual is responsible for ensuring that these systems are functioning effectively, optimally, and safely. 

But exactly what does a building maintenance technician do, and what kinds of tasks are typically assigned to this specialized maintenance role? In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the role that building maintenance technicians play in carrying out an effective maintenance program

What does a building maintenance technician do? 

A building maintenance technician is a key contributor to the overall functionality, safety, and efficiency of your facilities. This means that building maintenance technicians often take a lead role in fulfilling an extremely wide range of responsibilities. 

Likewise, building maintenance technicians will often work closely with other members of the maintenance and facilities management (FM) teams to collaborate on tasks, delegate responsibility, and maintain seamless multidirectional communication between departments. 

Below, we take a closer look at a building maintenance technician‘s typical responsibilities and discuss some of the ways that these maintenance specialists collaborate with other members of the maintenance and FM teams.

Building maintenance technician responsibilities

Building maintenance technician responsibilities typically include an extremely diverse set of tasks such as: 

  • Conducting routine inspections of key building systems, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and safety systems
  • Executing preventive maintenance (PM) tasks such as equipment calibration, lubrication, parts replacement, and system testing
  • Documenting maintenance activities, including inspections, repairs, and preventive tasks
  • Troubleshooting malfunctioning equipment, machinery, and building systems
  • Using diagnostic tools to identify issues with physical assets and building systems
  • Performing repairs on plumbing, electrical systems, HVAC units, mechanical components, etc.
  • Resolving minor structural issues such as rusty door hinges, loose flooring, and damaged ceiling tiles
  • Providing cosmetic upkeep including painting, fixture repair, and replacement of visibly worn components
  • Conducting regular safety inspections to ensure compliance with building codes and industry regulations;
  • Leading safety training sessions as well as participating in safety workshops;
  • Monitoring inventory, tracking stock levels, and ordering maintenance supplies as needed; and
  • Ensuring compliance with a wide range of federal, state, and local regulations as well as standards established by regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Collaboration with maintenance and FM teams

Meeting the responsibilities listed above requires close collaboration with other members of the maintenance and facilities management teams. Building maintenance technicians will typically work in close coordination with: 

  • Facilities Managers (FM), to open or receive work assignments, provide regular updates on maintenance activities, and contribute to discussions on maintenance strategies 
  • Electricians, Plumbers, HVAC Specialists, and other professionals, to identify and resolve issues with building systems
  • General maintenance technicians, to collaborate on large projects such as HVAC system overhauls or the replacement of major electrical components
  • Third-party contractors, to coordinate maintenance tasks requiring specialized expertise
  • Vendors, to ensure manufacturer guidelines and recommendations are incorporated into maintenance procedures
  • Building occupants, to address maintenance requests and to keep occupants informed about ongoing maintenance activities and potential disruptions.

Different types of building maintenance technicians

Building maintenance technicians typically perform the full range of responsibilities cited above regardless of industry. However, depending on the nature of your operation, you may require a building maintenance technician with a particular area of specialization. 

  • Commercial building maintenance technicians ensure the functionality of HVAC systems, mechanical systems, lighting, security systems, elevators, electrical systems, plumbing systems, and more for office buildings, retail spaces, and mixed-use spaces.
  • Hotel maintenance technicians provide repairs, routine servicing, and aesthetic upkeep of guest rooms, public areas, and back-of-house facilities as well as pools, spas, and gyms.
  • Real estate maintenance technicians provide property management services including upkeep of shared spaces, repairs in rental units and residential spaces, and oversight of landscaping services.
  • Industrial building maintenance technicians provide oversight of repairs, inspection, and routine service for manufacturing equipment, warehouse handling equipment, climate control and refrigeration systems for food processing plants, and more. 
  • Healthcare facility maintenance technicians provide service to critical HVAC, electrical, lighting, and plumbing systems in hospitals, clinics, and other facilities, as well as upkeep of patient rooms, shared spaces, and long-term care areas.
  • Residential building maintenance technicians perform routine apartment maintenance, repairs, and upgrades in residential units, common areas, and exterior, as well as shared facilities like gyms, pools, and parking structures.

What skills do building maintenance technicians need? 

Regardless of the industry, certain basic skills are required of all building maintenance technicians. Below, we take a closer look at these skills, how they come into play during a typical day, and how these skills can help technicians overcome common challenges.

Technical proficiency

Building maintenance technicians must have working knowledge of various building systems (i.e. electrical, plumbing, HVAC, mechanical), expertise in the structural components of a building, and training in the use of hand tools, power tools, and diagnostic equipment. Building maintenance technicians must also have the knowledge to understand technical manuals, blueprints, and schematics. These skills may be used to regularly inspect, maintain, and repair building systems as well as diagnose and report on equipment issues before they can escalate into system failures. 

Problem-solving skills

Building maintenance technicians must be able to identify issues, analyze their potential root causes, develop solutions, and coordinate maintenance efforts around these issues. These organizational skills are particularly crucial when managing complex or unfamiliar challenges such as system-wide outages, major system overhauls, and emergencies.

Attention to detail

Building maintenance technicians must have the ability to perform maintenance tasks with precision, conduct thorough inspections, and document their work with specificity and accuracy. Attention to detail is one of the most important competencies for ensuring that maintenance tasks are completed correctly, in alignment with standard operating procedures (SOPs), and promptly to prevent minor issues from evolving into failures requiring major repairs. 

Physical stamina

Building maintenance technicians must be able to perform physically demanding tasks. Building maintenance is an inherently rigorous profession in which technicians are expected to operate tools, lift heavy equipment, climb ladders, and work in a full spectrum of weather conditions, settings, and circumstances. Stamina is essential to performing expected responsibilities under challenging and frequently changing conditions.

Communication skills

Building maintenance technicians must be able to coordinate, collaborate, and communicate with team members, supervisors, contractors, and building occupants. Technicians must have the ability to explain and understand maintenance issues, communicate needs to team members, and interpret input from both technical and non-technical personnel. 

How much do building maintenance technicians earn? 

Earnings for building maintenance technicians may vary based on a number of factors, including geography, industry, level of experience, and areas of certification or specialization. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), offers a comprehensive set of figures on earnings for General Maintenance and Repair Workers as of May 2023. The BLS reports that:

  • With over 150,000 full-time professionals working in the field, the average annual salary was $49,650. However, as noted above, earnings can vary widely based on a number of factors. 
  • The bottom 10% of earners—typically entry-level technicians—take in an annual wage of $30,860 while those in the 90th percentile and above–typically those with more than 10 years of experience— earned $73,490 in 2023. 
  • Most candidates will be eligible for employment as maintenance technicians with a high school diploma or GED. Technicians are typically expected to learn many critical skills through work experience as well as specialized training for required licenses and certifications.
  • The number of jobs for maintenance technicians will grow roughly .8% per year–adding more than 50,000 jobs over the next decades. 
  • Wages for general maintenance and repair workers will grow at a rate of roughly .2% per year over that duration.

Among the variables shaping worker wages, industry appears to be one of the most important factors. Building maintenance technicians in the government contracting and energy production sectors rank among the highest earners. Below, we spotlight the annual mean wage for the building maintenance tech job in specific industries, as of May 2023:

  • Real Estate: $47,670
  • Water, Sewage, and Other systems: $53,020
  • Facilities Support Services: $55,850
  • Oil and Gas Extraction: $81,740
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution: $87,580

Certifications and training opportunities for building maintenance technicians

As noted above, building maintenance technicians may be able to command a higher salary by earning certain certifications. Certifications can demonstrate expertise, long-term commitment to the profession, and areas of specialized knowledge.

Below, we identify a few notable building maintenance technician certifications:

  • Certified Maintenance and Reliability Technician (CMRT), conferred by the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP), validates knowledge, skills, and excellence in the areas of preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance, and predictive maintenance.
  • HVAC Certification, conferred by several organizations including North American Technician Excellence (NATE), certifies the technical skills needed to install, maintain, and repair heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
  • Electrical Certification, conferred by several organizations including the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), ensures that technicians are proficient in electrical system maintenance, safety standards, and code compliance.
  • Plumbing Certification, conferred by several organizations including the National Inspection Testing and Certification (NITC) Corporation, indicates expertise in plumbing system installation, repair, maintenance, and safety protocols.
  • Building Operator Certification (BOC), conferred by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC), indicates the completion of training in preventive maintenance, HVAC systems, and energy-efficient building operation.

Resources for building maintenance technicians

As the guide above illustrates, building maintenance technicians are expected to exercise a wide range of skills and fulfill a wide range of responsibilities daily. This can present logistical and organizational challenges. 

Fortunately, we offer some free tools and resources to help bring structure to the completion of these maintenance tasks. For instance, check out our Facility Condition Assessment Checklist Template

This free download includes a customizable template for creating detailed FCA checklists as well as expert insights on the top challenges facing facilities management professionals. Create and customize your template today and put your maintenance team in a position to proactively assess the actual condition of your organization’s facilities and critical assets.

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