What if it were possible to address maintenance calls before they happen? That’s the idea behind the new Quality Maintenance Program (QMP) underway at two Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) properties.  

QMP uses a proactive approach that other large institutions, such as hospitals and universities, have adopted to identify common maintenance issues and stop problems before they start—saving money and improving conditions. MPHA’s program combines a careful analysis of maintenance data with customized inspections and resident feedback.  

“We held several focus group meetings with site staff and residents to gain input on the process and tasks,” said Anne Moser, who has been assisting MPHA in getting the QMP started. “We listened to stories about common issues and frustrations with the units and wishlist items. From that feedback, we examined work order data to support the anecdotal data and prioritized the findings based on operational savings and feasibility.”

In the first rounds of 42 units at the Horn Tower highrises in South Minneapolis, a dedicated team of MPHA staff and specialists completed a laundry list of items in each unit, including, but not limited to cleaning vents, replacing filters, fixing leaks, and changing light fixtures. Through these general fixes and other more specific identified issues, the team was able to remedy over 150 potential work orders in those initial units. An average of $986 was spent per unit and is expected to save a much greater amount over the long-term.  

Horn Towers Property Manager Joyce Farley said residents provided positive feedback for everything from the new curtain rods and shower hoses to the “unseen” cleaning details in ductwork and behind appliances. The latter work helping to improve health and wellness and a factor in keeping down pest issues.

“A real favorite for residents was that the QMP replaced and upgraded the plumbing shut-off valves in all the units, so now when there is a leaky faucet or plumbing repair, maintenance can turn off the water in the apartment and don’t have to shut off the entire ‘stack’ for every repair,” said Farley.

Glendale Townhomes in the Prospect Park neighborhood just began their pilot phase of eight units at the end of April. While the QMP team has an initial idea for the maintenance issues they’d like to address at the townhomes, they will also take time to reassess their strategy following pilot completion, as they did at Horn Towers. 

“We wanted to ensure that the impact to the residents, process, team make-up, and materials were all in alignment with our goals for the project before getting too far along in the process,” said Moser. They were able to identify elements that would improve their outcomes, such as alterations in resident communication, material changes to improve quality, and revised task planning based on the amount of savings vs. feasibility.

Follow-up resident focus groups expressed appreciation for the amount of work accomplished with only a small disturbance to daily lives, as the team is usually able to complete their tasks within a single working day. Information learned from the pilots will guide a wider roll-out of QMP across the entire MPHA portfolio. 


MPHA pilots proactive maintenance initiative at two properties (PDF)

For more information, contact media@mplspha.org

Horn Towers QMP Progress Data

QMP completed at 41 units of 489 total
Average spend per unit: Labor ($293), Materials ($220), Contractor ($473).
Potential work orders discovered and remedied

Average unit execution cost by benefit ($)

Tasks completed in more than 6 units

No. of Units Task Benefit
41 Replace smoke detector batteries Life safety
41 Clean out or replace aerators Operational savings
41 Replace Constant Air-flow Regulators Operational savings
41 Replace shut off valves in shower, sinks, and toilet Operational savings
41 Replace lighting with LED fixtures (planned) Operational savings/Goodwill
41 Clean fin tube radiation without removing covers Operational savings
41 Clean under and behind fridge and oven Pest control
41 Replace hood range filters Operational savings
41 Replace caulking around windows, countertop, cabinet base, fridge bottom inside, shower, toilet, and sinks Pest control/Maintenance
41 Install kickplates on front door Operational savings
41 Install curtain rods (2 rooms) Goodwill
41 Replace showerheads Operational savings/Goodwill
19 Add escutcheon plates to pipe openings Pest control
15 Tighten cabinet handles Operational savings
14 Provide and/or install AC insulated cover Operational savings
13 Reglue cove base Appearance
10 Replace shades Appearance
9 Tighten towel bar or toilet paper holder Maintenance
9 Install anti-tip on stove Life safety
8 Repair window Maintenance
8 Replace missing/loose tiles Maintenance
8 Repair/replace drawer glides in cabinets Operational savings
7 Fix leaking toilet Maintenance