A very Extensive Guide To Facility Maintenance (Part 1)

The creation of an efficient and productive environment is a fundamental element in the success of a company. Facility maintenance, as an integral part of facility management, is here to ensure that physical assets and infrastructure can be used 100% to serve their purpose. Facility maintenance has many moving parts. Getting them to work in unison requires knowledge of best practices, a skilled workforce, establishing good partnerships, and implementing specific software solutions. We try to cover all of that in this article.

Let’s start with a definition and move from there.

What is facility maintenance?

Facility maintenance comprises all maintenance activities that are performed inside and outside of commercial buildings to keep the area safe, presentable, and most importantly, functional. It is often used interchangeably with the term building maintenance.

This includes:

  • Maintenance of equipment inside the building (HVAC, certain office equipment and furniture, building-specific equipment like medical equipment in hospitals…) 
  • Maintenance of all building systems (plumbing, electrical systems, lighting, fire safety systems, elevator systems…)
  • Taking care of the building infrastructure itself (roofing, windows, doors and door locks, exterior and interior painting…)
  • Taking care of the space around the building (landscaping and grounds maintenance, pest control, snow removal…)

To rack up all of those activities, facility managers often operate on limited budgets, but are still expected to deliver initiatives and programs focused on sustainability and energy efficiency. This is a consequence of research suggesting that buildings account for 40% of total energy use in the United States.

Facility maintenance is also occasionally used synonymously with property maintenance and industrial maintenance. While they serve the same purpose and involve many of the same activities, they apply to different types of buildings. Property maintenance is used when it comes to residential buildings. Industrial maintenance is used when referring to manufacturing and other industrial facilities. Facility maintenance, on the other hand, is used to take care of all other commercial buildings (we have a more detailed breakdown in one of the sections below).

The role of maintenance in facility management

As we mentioned at the beginning, facility maintenance is part of facility management. Facilities management can be broken down in different ways. A popular approach is to divide it into hard and soft facilities management services:

In this categorization, we see that facility maintenance covers all rigid FM services, in addition to gardening, cleaning, and pest control from the soft FM services side. In other words, a large part of facility management revolves around maintenance.

Types of buildings that rely on facilities maintenance

Facility maintenance is applied at a huge range of different facilities:

  • Offices

  • Schools and university campuses

  • Hotels and casinos

  • Hospitals

  • Restaurants

  • Zoos and aquariums

  • Churches

  • Stadiums

  • and more...

While the type of equipment in those facilities may differ, the main range of maintenance responsibilities is more or less the same. Some companies may have a highly specialized piece of equipment. If it breaks down, the facility manager will usually outsource the repair to a specialized maintenance provider who has the necessary tools and knowledge.

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Source: Limble CMMS, The Conversation