Posted on February 08, 2019 by Gordon Smith

With the Build to Rent (BTR) and residential sectors becoming increasingly focused on providing real, value-added offerings to tenants, it’s no surprise that gyms are entering the frame and increasing in popularity.

Recent research from property experts CBRE found that 76% of those surveyed wanted an on-site gym, while 69% would be prepared to pay the extra service charge to have an indoor residents’ pool.

Take London: in the capital, young Londoners are paying an average rent of £1,563. With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that the average renter not only expects high-quality fit-out and modern facilities, but equipment that works well in a safe and reliable space.

Install but don’t forget

Even though more and more BTR and residential developments are now incorporating gyms into their new projects, it’s not as simple as saying, ‘build it and they will come’.

Designing and installing the facility is just the start of the story: gym maintenance and management represents another challenge. The smart operators are the developers that recognise a well-managed gym can deliver value all throughout its life.

Ask any fitness chain operator and they will tell you: gyms don’t run themselves. Staff change, equipment gets old and breaks, new gym trends emerge, fads come and go pushing user demand in different directions. Therefore simply ‘maintaining’ the basic standard of the gym isn’t enough – users demand it stays clean, in working order, and – most importantly – up to date. They also expect to see qualified and competent management.

This is especially true in an environment where service charges continue to creep up. Put simply, someone paying hundreds a month in charges is not going to put up with poor service, faulty, out of order or obsolete equipment.

Functional gym design: what to consider

So, what can operators do to keep the standards high, and tenants happy? A few basic procedures can make all the difference between a USP in your development and a costly millstone that underwhelms current users and fails to attract new ones.

It’s a cliché, but it remains true that prevention is better than a cure. For example, if you’re running a million-pound robot in a gym equipment factory, spotting problems in equipment before they develop serious issues can save a lot of money, inconvenience and customer dissatisfaction.

This is the same with the actual onsite gym. Maintenance schemes can improve the overall lifespan of your kit, reliability of equipment and wellbeing of tenants.

If you’re currently in the planning and design stage of a development, then this is a great chance to get the best out of your gym space and make sure you factor ongoing maintenance and servicing into your costs.

What does good maintenance look like?

Regular attention from qualified engineers will result in a far better sense of how equipment is performing for users and what – if any – modifications are needed.

Simply put, a quality planned preventative maintenance schedule will prolong the life of your equipment and reduce costs over the life of the facility. Achieving that does not necessarily have to involve inflated running costs: Ideally, a gym maintenance contract should be tailored to suit the facility’s size and budget.

It should offer full technical support and emergency response services in case something goes wrong unexpectedly. It should also offer a range of weekly, monthly, bi-annual, quarterly or yearly service visits to suit the site’s requirements. By having this, problems or potential outages can be spotted in advance and a maintenance plan put in place to ensure downtime is minimised.

The critical point for any gym maintenance programme plan is that it suits your needs. Of course, needs will vary from gym to gym, so there needs to be variation in the management arrangement.

Peace of mind

Whatever plan you opt for, getting it right can provide real peace of mind and will build trust not only between the gym operator and the contractor, but also create a good working environment where the gym begins to run itself while building operators can focus on new projects and improving existing facilities.

At motive8, we are TNISPE qualified SafeContractor approved and can service any equipment or brand. That means that whatever the specifications in your gym, you can be sure there is a solution for every potential issue.

We also aim to work with clients to minimise callouts. With over 20 years’ experience in the field we have worked on advising clients on the best way to care for their equipment.

All this now comes as standard when working with motive8 – whether in the BTR sector, later living or even home gyms. We understand that a working gym is a vital necessity for our clients – and we’re committed to delivering just that.