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Key Takeaway

  • Facility maintenance is the ongoing management, repair and upkeep of a facility’s physical assets and infrastructure, such as buildings, equipment, and systems, as a way to ensure they operate effectively, efficiently and safely.
  • Facility maintenance, a subset of facility management, is an important function required to keep a location safe, secure, and operating well. If facility maintenance is done well, staff and visitors barely notice any of this work is taking place at all. Properly maintained facilities are clean and very well organized.

    In this post, we’ll review the topic of facility maintenance, including what it is and why it’s important. Maintaining a safe and comfortable working environment goes far beyond the traditional landscaping and janitorial work that many people envision when they think of facility maintenance.

    You’ll also find some useful tips for developing effective routine work practices and organizing preventive maintenance operations.

    What is Facility Maintenance?

    Technicians performing facility maintenance

    All the activities required to keep a building and its systems, such as HVAC and lighting, in good working order can be considered a part of facility maintenance. As a form of preventive maintenance, facility maintenance is a proactive form of upkeep that requires the use of scheduled work and routine system inspections.

    Many companies use facility maintenance along with additional predictive or reactive maintenance programs to fully control the building environment. Key components of a facility that require maintenance include:

    • HVAC units
    • Office equipment and furniture
    • Plumbing infrastructure
    • Electrical systems
    • Fire suppression systems
    • Roofing, tiling, and windows
    • Landscaping
    • Safety hazard communication systems

    A facility maintenance management software can help organize most of these activities and give your organization a centralized resource with accurate and up-to-date information about all the building’s systems and assets. These electronic platforms can often be integrated with asset tags and barcode labels, such as facilities management asset tags, equipment tags, and inventory control tags, to streamline documentation when work is performed, parts reordered, and other information. Sensors and other hardware components may also be integrated to provide real-time monitoring for vital facility systems.

    Why is Facility Maintenance Important? 4 Key Benefits

    Engineer checking systems in a facility

    Facility maintenance can help prevent equipment failures and reduce the likelihood of extended system outages. Below, we’ll discuss why facility maintenance is important and should be a part of any facility management program.

    1. A Low-Cost Investment to Prevent High-Cost Outages

    Preventive maintenance work can reduce the need for urgent repairs due to unanticipated equipment breakdowns and outages. Last-minute repair work is not only frustrating for those who rely on the affected components, but it can also add significant costs to operations.

    Facility-wide systems such as HVAC units and plumbing can be managed effectively with preventive maintenance, which can extend the useful life of these assets by keeping them in optimal working order.

    2. Clear Schedules and Responsibilities

    A facility maintenance program is often built around a preventive maintenance schedule that includes pre-planned work for the building’s major components. This schedule gives your entire team structure and can be used to clarify roles and responsibilities for everyone involved.

    Preventive maintenance schedules also reduce the pressure that can be associated with reactive maintenance work that must be done immediately. Scheduled maintenance also makes it easier for your facility management team to allocate resources and determine daily, weekly, monthly, and annual priorities.

    3. A Baseline for Performance Management

    Facility maintenance also creates an excellent performance baseline for monitoring the working condition of each component within the building or on the facility grounds. The facility maintenance management software platform can capture operational details such as resource assignments, asset records, and timesheet records for technicians and other staff.

    Tagging facility assets with durable barcode labels helps to streamline documentation and reduces human error, meaning your maintenance records will be more complete and accurate.

    4. An Added Layer of Facility Protection

    One final benefit of facility maintenance is the additional protection it provides for local resources. These maintenance activities help create a safe working environment and protect personnel and important assets from potential injury or damage.

    Major failures at a facility can cause widespread damage due to fire, water leaks, or other significant adverse events. Your facility maintenance program is one of the first points of contact that enables your staff to identify a problem and correct it before it becomes a significant problem that brings operations to a halt.

    Companies can review these electronic records during audit periods to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal guidelines.

    Most facility maintenance management software solutions also allow users to create custom reports so the management team can review performance and create targeted improvement plans. With these resources, a business will be able to reduce facility costs while also preventing equipment downtime and the need for emergency repairs.

    3 Types of Facility Maintenance

    1. Preventive Maintenance

    Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach to facility maintenance that involves scheduled inspections, adjustments, and repairs of assets and equipment to minimize failures and extend their lifespan. This type of maintenance helps to prevent equipment breakdowns and unexpected repairs.

    Common preventive maintenance activities include:

    1. Cleaning and lubrication of equipment (also part of total productive maintenance)
    2. Inspection and replacement of worn-out parts
    3. Calibration of instruments

    Preventive maintenance is essential in various industries, such as manufacturing plants, healthcare facilities, and schools, as it helps to maintain the efficiency and safety of the equipment and protect the investments made on these assets.

    2. Corrective Maintenance

    Corrective maintenance, also known as reactive maintenance, involves addressing equipment failures and breakdowns as they occur. This type of maintenance is performed to restore the asset or equipment to its normal operating condition.

    Corrective maintenance can be subdivided into planned and unplanned activities.

    • Planned Corrective Maintenance: This involves identifying potential issues through regular inspections and scheduling repairs before the equipment fails.
    • Unplanned Corrective Maintenance: This occurs when an unexpected failure happens, requiring immediate attention and repair.

    Although corrective maintenance may appear cheaper in the short term, it can lead to higher long-term costs and downtime due to equipment failures.

    3. Predictive Maintenance

    Predictive maintenance is a more advanced approach to facility maintenance that uses data and monitoring tools to anticipate equipment failures before they happen. This method employs various sensors, data analysis, and condition-monitoring techniques to detect potential problems early and schedule maintenance accordingly.

    Predictive maintenance helps in reducing downtime, increasing equipment reliability, and saving costs.

    Some key aspects of predictive maintenance include:

    The implementation of predictive maintenance requires investments in sensors, data collection, and analytic tools but can result in significant savings and improved efficiency in the long run.

    Expert Tip:

    When it comes to facility maintenance, make sure to follow a well-planned maintenance checklist that incorporates preventive, corrective, and predictive maintenance strategies to optimize your resources and maintain a safe and efficient environment.

    3 Key Components of Facility Maintenance

    1. Building Systems

    One of the essential aspects of facility maintenance is maintaining and optimizing various building systems. These systems include facility operations systems, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, plumbing, and electrical services.

    Ensuring their proper functioning and energy efficiency helps organizations maintain a comfortable, safe, and productive environment. Furthermore, optimizing energy consumption reduces costs and promotes sustainability.

    2. Health and Safety

    Another crucial component of facility maintenance is ensuring health and safety standards are met. Facility managers are responsible for implementing and monitoring measures that protect employees and visitors from accidents, injuries, and illnesses. This includes periodic inspections, risk assessments, and regular training for staff members.

    • Fire safety – Ensuring fire alarms, extinguishers, and emergency exits are functional and compliant with local regulations.
    • Security – Implementing security measures such as access control systems, security cameras, and alarm systems to protect assets and personnel.
    • Occupational health – Promoting employee wellbeing through ergonomics, indoor air quality, and proper lighting.

    3. Physical Assets

    Proper management of physical assets within a commercial building is vital for maintaining functionality and extending their lifetime. Facility maintenance includes the routine upkeep and repair of equipment, machinery, and furnishings, as well as building structures and grounds.

    Some common tasks include:

    1. Preventive maintenance – Regularly inspecting and servicing physical assets to identify and mitigate potential issues before they escalate.
    2. Reactive (corrective) maintenance – Addressing equipment breakdowns or malfunctions promptly to minimize downtime and reduce the impact on operations.
    3. Asset lifecycle management – Planning and executing the replacement or upgrade of aging assets at the appropriate time to ensure cost-effectiveness and maintain functionality.

    In conclusion, facility maintenance plays a key role in optimizing the performance and upkeep of commercial buildings, ensuring the comfort, safety, and productivity of occupants. By managing building systems, health and safety standards, and physical assets, facility managers contribute to overall business success and sustainability.

    Facility Maintenance Strategies

    Proactive and Reactive Maintenance: 4 Best Practices

    Facility maintenance strategies are essential for ensuring the smooth operation and longevity of a facility. The strategies can be mainly categorized into two types: proactive and reactive maintenance.

    The preventive maintenance strategy is a more evolved and sophisticated type of proactive maintenance that focuses on inspection and repairs at predetermined intervals to prevent breakdowns and extend the life of assets.

    Some best practices include:

    1. Scheduling regular inspections and maintenance: Develop daily, weekly, and monthly schedules for essential maintenance tasks.
    2. Prioritizing critical assets: Focus on maintaining equipment, tools, and systems that have the most significant impact on your facility’s operation and productivity.
    3. Reducing downtime: Minimize unnecessary downtime by swiftly addressing maintenance issues and monitoring system performance.
    4. Leveraging technology: Utilize facility management software to automate facility processes and ensure effective communication between maintenance teams.

    Business Continuity Planning

    Business continuity planning (BCP) is crucial for facility maintenance because it ensures that an organization can continue to operate in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, emergencies, or major equipment failures.

    Elements of a strategic business continuity plan can include:

    • Risk assessment: Identifying potential threats to the facility and their impact on operations.
    • Backup systems: Ensuring redundant systems are in place to take over during emergencies, such as power generators and backup communication networks.
    • Emergency response plans: Developing procedures for various scenarios and ensuring staff are trained to execute them.
    • Regular testing: Conducting periodic tests and drills to ensure the plans are up-to-date and effective.

    Facility Maintenance Management Tools

    CMMS and Maintenance Software

    One essential tool in facility maintenance is the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). CMMS is a software that helps maintenance teams plan, track, and manage their facility maintenance tasks. It assists in organizing work orders, scheduling preventive maintenance, tracking assets, and managing inventory.

    Some of the best CMMS software available today offer additional features like:

    1. Mobile access
    2. Data analytics
    3. Integrations with other systems

    Maintenance software is also crucial when it comes to facility maintenance management. These may include standalone tools or modules within a CMMS. They help automate and streamline maintenance workflows, improving overall efficiency, and reducing human error.

    Other types of facility management software that include maintenance management capabilities are:

    • EAM (enterprise asset management) software: EAM software help facilities and other companies manage all the tasks, tools, materials, and information associated with all enterprise assets to optimize performance and avoid business disruption due to supply chain shortages, equipment breakdowns, and other issues.
    • CAFM (computer-aided facilities management) software: These solutions centralize the management of physical spaces (workspaces, buildings, facilities) alongside the operations, activities, and people that utilize those spaces. For more, read What is CAFM?
    • IWMS (integrated workplace management systems): These solutions integrate the management of all facility resources, including real estate portfolios, assets and maintenance, infrastructure and physical spaces, services, and sustainability.

    IoT and Automation

    The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to advancements in facility maintenance management. IoT devices collect and transmit data, giving FM teams real-time insights into the status of assets and equipment.

    Automation, on the other hand, can help ease the burden of manual tasks like scheduling, reporting, and monitoring.

    By integrating IoT and automation into their maintenance management systems, teams can address potential issues before they escalate into larger problems. This combination of technologies leads to increased operational efficiency, reduced downtime and ultimately, cost savings.

    KPIs and Metrics

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics are important in facility maintenance as they provide insight into the effectiveness of maintenance management efforts.

    Some essential KPIs include:

    By setting and monitoring KPIs, facility managers can identify areas for improvement, leading to increased efficiency and reduced costs. A comprehensive CMMS can help ensure you invest in a system that allows for robust data tracking and KPI analysis.

    Facility Management Asset Tracking

    Facility maintenance software, tracking KPIs and metrics, and IoT and automation all rely on one foundational element: asset identification. Affixing facility management asset tags to equipment and other assets enables:

    • Improved productivity: With a simple barcode scan, employees and inspectors can easily confirm they’re working on the correct asset and document the activities they perform on that asset, such as preventive maintenance, repair, or inspection.
    • Streamlined documentation: By eliminating manual documentation, facility asset tags and equipment tags greatly reduce human error.
    • More comprehensive data: Facility asset tags and barcode labels integrate with any facilities management software solution, reliably matching data to the asset it’s related to.
    • Reliability: The right facility management tags improve reliability by remaining readable throughout the lifespan of the asset, even those that operate in harsh environments. Metalphoto® anodized aluminum is the most durable printed aluminum substrate available for permanent asset identification and meets many government, industrial, and defense specifications, including STANAG 2290 and the U.S. Department of Defense’s MIL-STD-130. Metalphoto equipment tags like Foil Metalphoto Labels and Rigid Metalphoto Labels have an expected exterior lifespan of more than 20 years.

    Check out our white paper on the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division’s Item Unique Identification (IUID) Environmental Survivability Testing Report to learn how Camcode’s Metalphoto photosensitive anodized aluminum labels earned more high scores than any other material evaluated.

    Maintenance management tools play a vital role in modern facility maintenance. By leveraging facility management asset tracking, CMMS and maintenance software, IoT and automation, and a strong focus on KPIs and metrics, facilities can optimize their maintenance efforts, minimize downtime, and maximize return on investment.

    Standards and Certifications in Facility Maintenance

    ISO & Other Standards

    When it comes to facility maintenance standards, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) plays a crucial role. ISO has various technical committees that develop and maintain standards for diverse aspects of maintenance.

    For instance, the TC108 and TC135 technical committees focus on condition monitoring, shocks, mechanical vibration, and non-destructive testing. In contrast, the ISO/TC 251 committee is responsible for asset management standards.

    Additionally, industry-specific standards may apply to some facilities. For example, facilities in the food processing industry must comply with various standards such as those required by the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) and the Food Safety Modernization Act. Some of these standards, such as MIL-STD-130, specify certain requirements for labeling equipment and other assets.

    Incorporating these standards helps in maintaining an efficient facility maintenance program and ensures compliance with international regulations.

    IFMA Credentials

    The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offers professional certifications for facility managers to enhance their skills and knowledge in the field.

    One of the key certifications is the Certified Facility Manager (CFM), designed for professionals with 5+ years of experience. It remains an internationally recognized credential that helps in gaining industry-wide recognition.

    Apart from the CFM, IFMA also offers the Facility Management Professional (FMP) certification, well-suited for entry-level and transitioning professionals looking to improve their maintenance skillset.

    To achieve these credentials, professionals must:

    1. Complete the required courses on various topics including space planning, project management, compliance, and grounds maintenance.
    2. Pass the certification exam, testing expertise in 11 core competencies.
    3. Maintain the certification through continuous professional development initiatives.

    With the implementation of ISO standards and the pursuit of IFMA credentials, facility maintenance professionals can ensure high-quality and efficient services in areas such as IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System), space planning, project management, compliance, and grounds maintenance.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Final Thoughts on Facility Maintenance

    Facility maintenance plays an indispensable role in maintaining the smooth operation of a business. Without proper care and attention, equipment may fail, systems may break down, and the overall integrity of the infrastructure can degrade over time, causing disruption in operations, safety issues and potentially significant repair costs.

    Completing a thorough facility inventory and developing plans for each system will help create a baseline for measuring future performance. Effective maintenance planning doesn’t need to be overly complex, but it should account for the unique needs of each unique building.

    Therefore, prioritizing facility maintenance is not only a matter of good housekeeping but also a strategic investment in the long-term success of an organization.

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