How Aparto Student Housing Manages COVID-19 Sanitation Inspections

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About Aparto

Founded in 2017, the organization owns student residences in 12 locations across the UK, and Ireland. While Aparto’s primary goal has always been the safety and comfort of its residents, that priority became magnified in 2020.

“MaintainX has vastly helped improve our work output and created a more efficient way of managing our maintenance schedule.” KATE COLLINS General Manager, Aparto

Challenge: Manually tracking paper work orders and internal communication

Aparto’s facility management team is responsible for overseeing several maintenance tasks, including cleaning restrooms, dormitories, and communal areas; restocking communal supplies; maintaining shared technology devices (e.g., photocopiers, printers, WiFi connections); setting up for social events; conducting facilities inspections, and repairing facility assets.

There was just one problem—Aparto’s facility management team frequently struggled with O&M communication. Work orders went missing. Paperwork was often misfiled. And project details relayed between facility assistants and supervisors sometimes fell through the cracks. The periodic oversights incited student complaints and disagreements between co-workers.

However, in March 2020, the team faced another challenge: implementing new safety and sanitation recommendations in response to COVID-19. The new standard operating procedures (SOPs) included increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, using approved disinfectants, and preparing dormitories for new residents according to new protocols.

One thing became clear: If the organization were to continue to uphold its reputation as a National Student Housing Association award-winner and keep residents safe, an overhaul would be necessary.

Team members could now access real-time, work order and asset information anywhere with a WiFi connection from their smartphones, tablets, and desktops. They could also view work orders without internet using the app’s offline mode.

With MaintainX, facility managers (FMs) could instantly see which tasks had been completed, which ones were in progress, and which ones were overdue. The app also showed who worked on what, providing a complete accountability trail. Over the next month, Collins worked closely with facility managers and facility assistants to develop new safety and sanitation procedures in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. She also redesigned Aparto’s maintenance request workflow, requiring students to verbally relay maintenance issues to FAs who then input digital work requests.

The 1-to-1 communication system helps students feel more validated when relaying their concerns to staff. It also eliminates the possibility of paper work requests getting lost. Translation: No more blame game.

Additionally, Aparto’s front-desk workers can now open the app to check on work orders when asked by students. MaintainX’s user-friendly dashboard illustrates the status of the work request, the worker assigned, and any potential reasons for delay within work order comment threads. The best part? Each of Aparto’s 16 software users learned how to navigate the app within minutes.

“MaintainX has become a one-stop shop for all of our in-house facilities management."

Solution: Operations and Maintenance Management Software

Aparto General Manager Kate Collins decided to transition the organization’s outdated work order system into a digital workflow. She knew the company’s leadership team would have questions, like:

  • Can we afford maintenance management software right now?

  • Would this investment benefit student residents?

  • Could the team quickly adapt to using the software?

After consulting with a colleague who had experimented with nearly a dozen maintenance management software platforms, including UpKeep, Yardi, and Facilio, Collins decided to launch a beta test with MaintainX.

Result: Complete Digital Transformation

Aparto filled 15,000+ work orders and digitized 90+ procedures since streamlining its maintenance program with MaintainX over the past 8 months. The organization is now maintaining historical data on 60 assets, 30 types of parts, and 10 vendors to help identify greater cost-saving opportunities in the future. Aparto expects to identify even more opportunities for O&M improvement in the future with MaintainX. Put simply, the more data Aparto collects on maintenance work orders, individual facility assets, and accrued O&M expenses, the more cost-saving insights the reporting tools will deliver.

“I couldn’t imagine not continuing with MaintainX at this point.”

Kate can now manage:

  • Streamlined SOPs: Digitally documented new standard operating procedures that are now confidently used to train new staff members.

  • Enhanced Safety: Wrote and edited questions for checklists as recommended safety and sanitation protocols continue to evolve, reminding staffers to check and follow correct risk-taking measures.

  • Improved Decision-Making Abilities: Downloaded and integrated KPI reports into Health and Safety databases to analyze figures like weekly water temperature checks of kitchen taps for safe ranges of Legionella.

"I can easily gauge the workload of my team by checking the app. I have instant oversight on the status of jobs from my desktop. I also particularly love that there is a comment section attached to each work order—meaning, all staff can be informed of issues making handovers seamless"

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