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A building superintendent is a professional who makes repairs and performs preventative maintenance in residential apartment buildings. Most superintendents have expert knowledge of many types of repair work, including plumbing, painting, construction, and electrical work. They frequently perform managerial duties as well, such as collecting rent, enforcing housing guidelines, and making sure that residents are kept safe. Some building superintendents at large facilities or complexes supervise teams of maintenance workers, delegating responsibilities and setting work schedules.
When a resident needs repair work in a unit, he or she might call the superintendent directly or submit a written service request to the apartment manager. The superintendent will enter the unit with the resident's permission to analyze the problem and determine what repairs are needed. Most problems encountered by superintendents in a well-maintained building are minor, such as a stopped up sink or a faulty refrigerator. These professionals are skilled at quickly fixing such small problems, as well as tackling major jobs like replacing appliances and running electrical lines.
It is common for residents to be frequently moving in and out of a large apartment complex. The building superintendent and his or her staff are responsible for making sure that a vacated apartment is in sound structural shape and that all appliances are working properly. Superintendents might need to patch holes, paint over damaged walls, and replace window screens, faucets, and toilets.
Building superintendents also perform routine maintenance in the halls and public spaces of apartment buildings. A superintendent is usually responsible for painting walls, repairing damaged floors, and changing light bulbs in lobbies and hallways. Some professionals also perform cleaning duties, such as washing windows and picking up trash around their buildings.
Many building superintendents are placed in charge of entire crews of maintenance personnel. In order to successfully manage others, a building superintendent must have strong organizational, communication, and problem-solving skills. He or she sets schedules, assigns job duties, and supervises jobs. When a problem arises that crew members are unable to resolve, the building superintendent usually steps in to find a solution.
There are no formal education requirements to become a building superintendent. Many people gain several years of construction or repair work experience before applying for building superintendent jobs. Some skilled people in the occupation, however, have completed formal vocational training at technical schools or community colleges. Individuals can learn specifics about plumbing, electrical work, and general building maintenance though three-month to two-year vocational programs. Additional post-secondary education in business management or communications can also be very helpful, and sometimes required, in preparing for supervisory and administrative duties.