Building caretaker

A building caretaker


Building caretakers maintain and monitor the condition and security of buildings. They clean, assist with minor repairs and ensure that amenities such as heating and hot water are available to the residents. Building caretakers are responsible for the quality of buildings and also serve as a contact person for residents.

Building caretakers 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

Building caretakers 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. They are also responsible for recognizing when a job is above their skill level and requires the expertise of a specialist, such as an electrician, a carpenter, or a plumber

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to building caretaker:

site caretaker
building manager
facilities manager
property caretaker
building technician
facilities caretaker

Working conditions

Building caretakers often carry out many different tasks in a single day at any number of locations. They may work inside a single building, such as a hotel or hospital, or be responsible for the maintenance of many buildings, such as those in an apartment complex or on a college campus.

Building caretakers may have to stand for long periods or lift heavy objects. These workers may work in uncomfortably hot or cold environments, in uncomfortable or cramped positions, or on ladders. The work involves a lot of walking, climbing, and reaching.

Injuries and Illnesses

Building caretakers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Common injuries include electrical shocks, falls, cuts, and bruises.

Work Schedules

Most building caretakers work full time, including evenings or weekends. Some are on call for emergency repairs.

Minimum qualifications

Many building caretakers learn some basic skills in high school shop or technical education classes, postsecondary trade or vocational schools, or community colleges.

Courses in mechanical drawing, electricity, woodworking, blueprint reading, mathematics, and computers are useful. Building caretakers often do work that involves electrical, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning systems or painting and roofing tasks. Workers need a good working knowledge of many repair and maintenance tasks.

Practical training, available at many adult education centers and community colleges, is another option for workers to learn tasks such as drywall repair and basic plumbing.

Building caretakers usually start by watching and learning from skilled maintenance workers. They begin by doing simple tasks, such as fixing leaky faucets and replacing lightbulbs. After gaining experience, they move on to more difficult tasks, such as overhauling machinery or building walls.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Building caretaker is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Building caretaker career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to building caretaker.

house sitter
club host/club hostess
foreign language correspondence clerk
hotel concierge

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of building caretaker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of building caretaker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

desalination technician
grants administrator
lottery manager
real estate manager
contact centre supervisor

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of building caretaker.

  • Handle customer complaints: Administer complaints and negative feedback from customers in order to address concerns and where applicable provide a quick service recovery.
  • Comply with legal regulations: Ensure you are properly informed of the legal regulations that govern a specific activity and adhere to its rules, policies and laws.
  • Examine the conditions of buildings: Monitor and assess the conditions of buildings in order to detect faults, structural problems, and damages. Assess general building cleanliness for grounds maintenance and real estate purposes.
  • Manage cleaning activities: Oversee cleaning activities undertaken by employees.
  • Manage ground maintenance: Plan and direct the work of ground maintenance workers and units and maintain all natural areas.
  • Register information on arrivals and departures: Write down information about visitors, patrons or employees, such as identity, the company they represent and time of arrival or departure.
  • Execute inspection walkway: Carry out a route in order to verify if all the doors and windows are closed.
  • Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
  • Follow company standards: Lead and manage according to the organisation’s code of conduct.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of building caretaker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Budgetary principles: Principles of estimating and planning of forecasts for business activity, compile regular budget and reports.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of building caretaker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Apply conflict management: Take ownership of the handling of all complaints and disputes showing empathy and understanding to achieve resolution. To be fully aware of all Social Responsibility protocols and procedures, and to be able to deal with a problem gambling situation in a professional manner with maturity and empathy.
  • Ensure compliance with noise standards: Make sure that buildings, roads, air traffic, and events comply with local, national or international noise standards and regulations in order to minimise nuisance for the neighbouring residents.
  • Perform ground maintenance activities: Clean building grounds of rubbish, glass or any other trash, mow grass or trim bushes.
  • Clean surfaces: Disinfect surfaces in accordance with sanitary standards.
  • Clean rooms: Clean rooms by cleaning glasswork and windows, polishing furniture, vacuuming carpets, scrubing hard floors, and removing garbage.
  • Inspect building systems: Inspect buildings and building systems such as plumbing or electrical systems to confirm compliance with regulations and requirements.
  • Use gardening equipment: Use gardening equipment such as clippers, sprayers, mowers, chainsaws, complying to health and safety regulations.
  • Fill out forms: Fill out forms of a different nature with accurate information, legible calligraphy, and within a timely manner.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Perform safety inspections: Inspect the park or part of the park. Note and report problems like blocked trails and risks like overflowing rivers.
  • Perform minor repairs to equipment: Conduct routine maintenance on equipment. Recognise and identify minor defects in equipment and make repairs if appropriate.
  • Handle veterinary emergencies: Handle unforeseen incidents concerning animals and circumstances which call for urgent action in an appropriate professional manner.
  • Deliver correspondence: Distribute mail correspondence, newspapers, packages and private messages to customers.

ISCO group and title

5153 – Building caretakers

  1. Building caretaker – ESCO
  2. General Maintenance and Repair Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Featured image: Photo by Ksenia Chernaya
Last updated on November 9, 2022

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