While most craft workers specialize in one kind of work, facilities maintenance (FM) workers need skills in many different crafts—carpentry, plumbing, electrical, painting, landscaping and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). They repair and maintain buildings and work on plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. They also build partitions, make drywall repairs and fix or paint roofs, windows, doors, floors and woodwork. When performing maintenance, FM workers frequently check blueprints, repair manuals and parts catalogs.
FM technicians complete many different tasks in a single day, at any number of locations, indoors and out. They may work inside a single building, such as a home, or be responsible for the maintenance of many buildings, such as those in an apartment complex. Like most building trades, the work is physically demanding—bending, lifting, standing, climbing and kneeling for long periods. If you like working with your hands and enjoy problem solving, FM may be the trade for you!
HBI pre-apprentice FM programs teach skills and techniques employers are looking for in entry-level workers. Skills include:
Replacing windows, doors, plumbing and electrical fixtures
Repairing floor, wall and ceiling surfaces
Installing drywall and painting
Maintaining landscaped areas
Using green building techniques to reduce resources, increase durability of structures, improve indoor air quality and conserve energy and water
Depending on geographic location, students also may learn the basics of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), how to install and maintain solar systems or weatherization techniques like reading an energy audit.
Job growth is expected at an average rate through 2018. A growing emphasis on green construction will require retrofitting of existing homes, increasing the demand for skilled technicians. Land developers, facilities management companies and commercial building complexes are examples of business that might hire an entry-level maintenance worker. The skills of an HBI graduate can transfer to other specialties like janitors, carpet installers, roofers and painters.
HBI graduates earn about $9 to $13 an hour in their first maintenance job. As skills are expanded through apprenticeships or on the job training, so are career options.