How a Mysterious Sound Improved Maintenance Process

It doesn't matter if a problem occurs. It is always an opportunity for learning and possible improvements of processes, asset maintenance or attitudes when sorting such an issue. When I was Director of Engineering at Velaa Private Island Maldives I was always using this opportunity for training my team.

I have worked on management level more than 20 years. I have always supported team communication and company environment where failure or mistake is something normal and it must be used for improvement of team performance, process or any activity related to them. This brings many benefits to the team and entire organization.

I was using the same approach at Velaa Private Island Maldives. I created an environment where I was personally involved only with the most complicated requests, issues or misunderstanding between team members. All minor issues were solved by team members themselves. But this kind of approach isn't possible without getting proper information from your team as well as from other resort departments.

Let me tell you a story about one situation which occurred during my Velaa mission. I'm sure you can relate - repeated guest complaints. One day, I was sorting out a complaint from a guest who complained about some strange sound coming from the roof of the villa. Guest described the sound as 3 seconds drumming once per hour.

I found out about the issue from our tracking system in the morning before management briefing. I could see that building maintenance technician was dealing with the issue, but he didn't find any abnormality or potential source of the sound and he closed the request. With a few clicks I saw that the same issue was reported by another guest from the same villa ten days ago. This case was attended by A/C technician - and no abnormality was found. This was a warning sign for me that I must be personally involved in solving this issue. I explained the situation in our morning management briefing and recommended to move the guests to another villa so that my team can investigate the situation.

I called the building maintenance technician as well as A/C technician and asked them what they know about the issue. Their recommendation was to involve plumbing guys and IT guys as well. All of us went to the villa and were looking for potential source of the noise. We didn't find anything. But I wasn't satisfied. I told my team that it is almost impossible to get the same complaint with same symptoms within 10 days without the issue being real and we must find out where the sound is coming from.

We were still at the villa and suddenly all of us heard the sound. All doubts were gone, and everyone started to think which part of villa or equipment can generate such a sound. Ten minutes later, the plumber screamed "got it!". It was a water pipe above the ceiling which was hitting a wooden roof beam because of water pressure fluctuation. It was caused by one failed backflow valve of the water refilling system of a pool. The plumber replaced the valve and protected the pipe with isolation foam.

Next morning in management briefing I could report that we found and sorted out the issue and it will not definitely be repeated. What's more, we adjusted the villa plumbing maintenance plan to check the ceiling pipes and backflow valves of pool water refilling system. And same or similar issue hasn't occurred since.

This is exactly why you as a director or a manager need information about the tasks and issues on daily or hourly basis to evaluate the relevancy of each case. And what's even more important? To make improvements based on your findings and ensure that the improvement will be applied in the next preventive maintenance period or actions.

But this work approach isn't possible without an information system which supports you and makes it easy for you to do tracking and planning of corrective and preventive maintenance of entire resort. Both for assets and equipment. If you would like to see a practical demo of how I worked with such a property maintenance management system, contact me and I will be very happy to show you!

Do you have an experience with a maintenance planning and tracking system? Share with me and other readers your experience! And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.


Do you have any questions, remarks, or would you like me to help you with something? 
Send me a message!