Facility maintenance refers to the upkeep and repair of an organization’s assets and its building systems in order to maintain a maximally functional and operable environment.
Since facility maintenance brings a constant workload on the organization’s shoulders it isn’t a one-man job. Facility maintenance itself is an established industry that, in most cases (typically in larger organizations), powers the entire maintenance department.
Having said that, in this article, we will go through what exactly does facility maintenance entail, its types, areas of responsibilities, and recourses for facility managers. If you're interested in learning via video, then go here:
What Is Facility Maintenance?
It is crucial for the infrastructure of an organization to be in its most presentable condition and assets to be working at their maximum capacity. However, this isn’t an easy goal to achieve, and for that purpose, most companies spend almost a quarter to half of their operating budget on facilities maintenance.
Effective facilities maintenance ensures that the physical space, environment, and building systems of the organization’s facility function smoothly without any signs of damage, failure, or decline through scheduled, preventive, and reactive maintenance activities.
Maintenance workers/janitors ensure that the building is clean, maintenance technicians are responsible for installation, repair, and replacement of building systems, while facility managers delegate tasks and oversee janitors and technicians, operate the department’s CMMS software, and make sure that everything in the facility is functional.
At times, facility maintenance is used interchangeably with industry maintenance and property maintenance. However, it is important to know that they entail the maintenance of completely different things.
maintenance refers to the maintenance of manufacturing plants and focuses on maximizing equipment uptime in a manufacturing environment (for example a printing press, or, an oil refinery).
Property maintenance refers to the maintenance of residential buildings (for example, an apartment complex).
Facility maintenance, on the other hand, only deals with commercial buildings that aren’t factories (for example offices or warehouses).
However, since building maintenance is the closest in meaning to facility maintenance, it is acceptable to use building maintenance interchangeably with facility maintenance.
Facility Maintenance – Areas of Responsibilities
Since facility maintenance is responsible for the entire building systems of an organization, its areas of responsibility are also wide and distinct.
are the typical areas of responsibilities of facility maintenance that are applicable to most organizations:
- Electrical Systems – includes the energy management of the entire organization, as well as tasks such as inspection of electrical wirings and outlets, checking and replacing batteries, etc.
- Safety Systems – ensures the safety of assets and employees. It includes activities such as managing first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and other safety resources, working fire alarm systems, and emergency exits, etc.
- HVAC Systems – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems maintenance ensures environmental comfort to employees. It includes tasks such as, changing and cleaning air filters, repair and replace ductwork, and regulating noise of ventilators, etc.
- Plumbing – includes the installation and repair of the plumbing system. Check pipes for leaks, cracks, and blockages and ensure a proper drainage and sewerage system.
- Lighting – lighting system involves the installation, repairing, and replacement of all lighting devices and parts.
- Building Interior – the goal is to keep the interior of the building in its best condition. It includes tasks such as carpentry, painting, ceiling repair, flooring, etc.
- Building Exterior – this includes all maintenance tasks required to keep the outside of a facility structurally operable, neat, and presentable, such as roofing, landscaping/grounds maintenance, cleaning parking lots, maintaining a proper garbage and recycling system, etc.
However, if after seeing all these areas of responsibilities, a facility maintenance department seems out of your organization’s operational budget or if you’re just starting out, you can easily find maintenance work or maintenance providers, give them a call for requests and inquire about their pricing whenever needed.
Types of Facility Maintenance
The three basic types of facility maintenance include:
- Routine Maintenance – also called “planned maintenance” and “general maintenance,” refers to the day-to-day, small-scale maintenance tasks, such as functional checks, servicing, or replacing of parts, etc.
- Preventive Maintenance – also called “preventative maintenance,” it involves maintenance that is done in order to prevent minor or major failures. The goal is to reduce downtime of assets by taking a proactive approach to maintenance.
- Reactive Maintenance – also called “corrective maintenance/emergency maintenance,” it refers to maintenance that is carried out when something breaks or gets damaged.
Resources for Facility Managers
Facility managers and facility maintenance technicians should always stay up-to-date with the latest trends and figure out ways to excel in their careers.
are a few relevant resources that we have curated that might help:
Facility Maintenance Government Resources
Let’s with the basics first. As someone who specializes in maintenance management, you probably already know about these resources. But in case you’re starting out in your career, you absolutely must refer to these organizations and their safety regulations:
- United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – OSHA provides information on government laws and regulations on safety and health in the workplace, and how to establish them effectively.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – EPA is responsible for delivering rich information on current environmental news on topics such as energy management, air quality, water quality, etc.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – FEMA helps industries deal with natural hazards and their effects on infrastructures by providing relevant knowledge through research.
Apart from these resources, a facilities manager is expected to enhance his knowledge, skills, and expertise by maintaining good relations with relevant industry leaders and their relevant magazines and blogs (such as Facilitiesnet).
Facility Maintenance Checklist
For successful and organized facilities management, it is important to consider all assets and factors of your facilities while planning maintenance activities.
An efficient way to do that (without wasting a lot of your valuable time) is to craft a preventive maintenance checklist for your organization. However, it can be difficult, considering it requires a lot of assessment and consulting other stakeholders.
For that purpose, we’ve gathered links to three facilities maintenance checklists resources from a few renowned platforms:
- UpKeep – UpKeep has comprehensive guides, super-useful templates, and checklists in their blog. If you’re using their computerized maintenance management system, you can also find relevant useful resources on their YouTube channel.
- MaintainX – if you’re looking for a preventive facilities maintenance checklist guide and decent templates, you can easily find and download them at MaintainX. Like UpKeep, MaintainX is also a SaaS that offers a computerized maintenance management system.
- AP Maintenance Ltd. – last but not least, AP Maintenance is another super-useful resource where you can find comprehensive checklists and report form templates.
And of course, you can also find in-depth resources on Maintenance Management HQ’s blog.
It is important to note these checklists include generic tasks that are relevant to all industries. Therefore, you may need to modify them according to your organization type and needs.
Facility Maintenance Certifications
In order to pursue a career in facilities maintenance or for anyone working towards landing a facilities maintenance manager position, it’s important to upgrade one’s credentials.
Here are a few resources which can help you get the right certifications for a career in facilities maintenance:
- International Facility Management Association (IFMA) – IFMA offers a wide range of professional certifications that are internationally recognized and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The most relevant credentials to facility management are the Facility Management Professional (FMP) and the Certified Facility Managers (CFM).
- Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) – GBCI is powered by the US Green Building Council () to encourage organizations to implement sustainability in their designs. Their LEED AP with specialty and LEED Green Associate certification equips professionals in the knowledge, design, and operation standards of sustainability, which in turn prove to be beneficial for their career in facilities maintenance.
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – The NFPA offers facilities maintenance managers the Certified Emergency Power Systems Specialist for Facility Managers(CEPSS-FM) credential that allows them to be knowledgeable and competent in stored electrical emergency and standby power systems.
Wrapping It Up
An organizations’ valuable assets and facility systems require maintenance throughout its entire lifecycle. However, if left unattended and poorly maintained, the organization is bound to suffer irreversible damage and loss of huge amounts of money.
Therefore, it is important to choose the best solution to facilities or building maintenance for your organization, be it a third-party provider, or establishing an entire facilities maintenance department in your own organization. Go through the facility maintenance resumes and choose the one that fits best with your organization.
In the end, it all comes down to the size and needs of your company.
Josh is a partner at Maintenance Manager HQ.