It takes a broad set of skills and knowledge to maintain buildings, including the ability to troubleshoot mechanical problems when they come up. General maintenance and repair workers employ those skills to fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings. They may repair roofs and floors, paint woodwork and walls, and fix other parts of buildings. When a more complicated problem arises, these workers also determine when it’s time to call in an electrician or plumber. General maintenance and repair workers may have to stand for long periods or lift heavy objects, work in very hot or cold environments, in cramped positions, or on ladders. They are employed in many locations, including office buildings, hospitals, stores, and factories. Most general maintenance workers work full time, including evenings or weekends, and may be on call for emergency repairs. They have a high risk of electrical shocks, falls, and cuts. Many in this field start out with simple tasks, observing and learning from skilled maintenance workers… then move on to more difficult tasks, such as overhauling machinery or constructing walls. High school shop classes and technical education are helpful.

General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings. They paint, repair flooring, and work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems.

What Do Maintenance and Repair Workers Do?

Duties

General maintenance and repair workers typically do the following:

  • Maintain and repair machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings
  • Fix or replace faulty electrical switches, outlets, and circuit breakers
  • Inspect and diagnose problems and figure out the best way to correct them
  • Perform routine preventive maintenance to ensure that machines continue to run smoothly
  • Assemble and set up machinery or equipment
  • Plan repair work using blueprints or diagrams
  • Do general cleaning and upkeep of buildings and properties
  • Order supplies from catalogs and storerooms
  • Meet with clients to estimate repairs and costs
  • Keep detailed records of their work

General maintenance and repair workers are hired for maintenance and repair tasks that are not complex enough to need the specialized training of a licensed tradesperson, such as a plumber or electrician.

These workers are also responsible for recognizing when a job is above their skill level and requires the expertise of an electrician; a carpenter; a heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanic or installer; or a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter.

General maintenance and repair workers may fix or paint roofs, windows, doors, floors, woodwork, walls, and other parts of buildings.

They also maintain and repair specialized equipment and machinery in cafeterias, laundries, hospitals, stores, offices, and factories.

General maintenance and repair workers get supplies and parts from distributors or storerooms to fix problems. They use common hand and power tools, such as screwdrivers, saws, drills, wrenches, and hammers to fix, replace, or repair equipment and parts of buildings.