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36 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports Preventive Maintenance Programs A proven and effective method to operate an efficient airport and reduce maintenance costs is to establish preventive maintenance programs. The adage "pay me now or pay me later" may def- initely be applied to this topic. Spending a certain amount of time and money on airport systems each year will significantly reduce the need to spend larger amounts later and replace systems pre- maturely. If an airport receives federal funding, it may be required to develop a pavement preventive main- tenance program. Annual monitoring and recording is an important part of the preventive main- tenance program. Pavement programs may include crack sealing, surface sealing, and partial- and full-depth repairs. Lighting programs may include replacing fixtures, wiring controls, and repaint- ing fixtures. Measuring lighting circuit voltage and recording the numbers may indicate the loss of electrical current requiring maintenance prior to system failure. Building structures and heating, cooling, and ventilation systems should be monitored and addressed as needed. The airport's vehi- cles and equipment also should be routinely checked and maintained to ensure safe and efficient operations. Maintenance Equipment Each airport should keep an inventory of current equipment and desired future equipment needed to safely and efficiently maintain the airport property. To obtain the equipment in a timely manner, it should be identified during the budgeting and capital improvement project (CIP) process. The high cost of some airport equipment will also require early planning and a financial plan. A revolving equipment schedule--which is an inventory of equipment listed by year and showing its replacement schedule based on age and use--can help in this planning process. Because many airports are publicly owned and operated, most federal, state, and local regula- tions require the airport to purchase goods through a public advertising and bidding process. Some state agencies organize this process and receive bids for certain equipment and services. Publicly operated airports may then purchase from the state's established contract. In addition, airports may elect to bid for certain equipment and services themselves. The first step is to research the airport's specific needs and the optional equipment available. Visiting with equipment vendors and fol- lowing up with references is a key step to this education process. It may be useful to use staff (and neighboring airport's) experience and opinions. Assembling a set of bid documents and precise specifications is extremely important. Airport managers should devote adequate time to carefully review these documents prior to advertising. It is important to ensure the documents are written precisely but do not exclude vendors from the ability to participate. Bids are usually received sealed and opened at a public meeting. The award is generally given to the lowest-priced qualified bidder. In addition, the survey conducted during the preparation of this guidebook suggested consid- eration of the following practices to improve equipment management: establish and maintain a preventive equipment maintenance program, hire and maintain experienced personnel, acquire a single piece of equipment for multiple roles, and maintain an inventory of frequently needed parts to prevent long downtime repair periods. Cost-saving practices also mentioned included utilizing used equipment from local governments and participating in the Federal Surplus Property Program. More information about this program is available on the FAA website. Record Keeping The value of establishing written forms, logs, or checklists, documenting efforts, and maintain- ing organized files cannot be stressed enough. Record keeping should involve inspections, train- ing, and maintenance efforts. It should also include special conditions such as significant weather