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What is Facility Maintenance, and Why is it Important?

Facility Management, Maintenance Management / CMMS
Businessman with hardhat pointing to facility maintenance icons

The typical commercial facility or residential complex requires a large amount of oversight to maintain the environment. Facility maintenance, a subset of facilities 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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Facility maintenance is an important area of focus for the teams charged with the upkeep of factories, warehouses, and offices. 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.

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