Re: Computerized Maintenance Tracking
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 14:58:42 -0800 (PST)

On Dec 12, 2009, at 4:50 PM, Bruce Hecht wrote:

Does anyone have a computerized maintenance tracking system that they could share or recommend? There are many on the market but mostly overkill for a Cohousing community. We could do something with Excel or Access or maybe Google Calendar but if someone has something they developed we would love to

We've begun using a wiki on Google sites. We've just begun but looks positive. We are now entering data about each item -- mostly we have started pages for the items our Reserve Study experts identified. We set up a page for each item or cluster of items, enter basic information like brand, size, maintenance provider; and then dated entries for repairs or upgrades. It has been fabulous.

Right now only our team uses it. Everyone on the team enters information. I encourage them to put information anywhere it works for them -- articles on wiki design say this is the best way to begin. The most important thing is to get the data in. I clean up spelling and grammar so it doesn't come back to haunt anyone, and rearrange the info into a structure.

We have a regular maintenance schedule that is kept by a fantastic list person. She even looks at it! I tend to make lists to clear my mind and never look at them again.

But we will be putting more of this into the wiki, particularly the results of each maintenance.

And then I've begun a page of Action Items that are linked to the original page with all the details. That Action Item page can organized however you want. One item from last week was "Plan to replace the motor on the dishwasher in the next year or buy the two residential washers some people want." This isn't technically a maintenance item but you get the idea.

Google Sites is a basic wiki. There are some things it doesn't do, but if we decide we want more functionality, we can import the info into WordPress or other programs. Google doesn't provide a way to export info as far as I know. They also have premium sites and I don't know what features that adds.

I once designed a Filemaker Pro database to track all this information. it was more detailed and more flexible but less accessible. No one else could program it. I couldn't find help in putting it on the web. And it didn't allow people to enter information.

People really want the ability to do it themselves. They don't want to feel dependent on someone else, and they don't want one person to "own" the information. I'm hoping we can also put all our financial information online as well. Quickbooks now has an online service that exports, I think, to Excel.

So the wiki doesn't automatically bring up a list -- you have to enter the item on a list but that isn't all bad either. It's important to review all that information annually anyway.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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