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5 Preventative Maintenance Tips

The old, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" does not apply when it comes to the successful operation of your building. No matter your experience, we all know that continued education of best industry practices is required, especially when your goal is to lower operational costs. We've gathered helpful and applicable tips from the greatest minds in the facilities management world to help you make your facility run as smooth and safe as possible. 

1. Understand the difference between "Reactive", "Preventative", and "Predictive" Maintenance

“There are generally three approaches to building maintenance used by facility managers:

  • Reactive – This is the “fix it when it breaks” approach.
  • Preventative – This is the “check it and make repairs before it breaks” approach.
  • Predictive – This is the “use technology to forecast when a problem will occur and provide maintenance accordingly” approach.

The most common type of maintenance employed by facility managers is the “reactive” approach. According to a post by Akita Box on preventative maintenance planning, 85 percent of total maintenance spending is on reactive maintenance. The reason for this is simple: It’s the cheapest—or at least it seems to be the cheapest. The reality is that it’s only the cheapest when everything is running smoothly. But, as we all know, things don’t always run smoothly.” - Neal Peters, Top Ways to Reduce Maintenance Costs for Your Facility

2. Measure your Preventative Maintenance versus all maintenance activities

“Develop performance measures for your PM process with an emphasis on measuring the amount of PM that is work completed compared to all other work. Total PM hours should be the highest percentage of all the department’s maintenance work. This goal might seem impossible, but over time, it is very achievable.”–Michael Cowley, 5 Tips for Successful Preventive Maintenance


3. Do a proactive walkthrough to find “small” problems

Catch small problems now before they become big ones. Addressing small details can add up to huge improvements in appearance and functionality. Ask your facilities services provider, janitorial company, and/or handyman to walk through with you, focusing on details you’d normally overlook. Some things to inspect for repair/replacement are: doors (door sweeps, door stops, sticking locks, etc.), corner guards, tile and grout, light switches and face plates, ceiling tiles, countertops and shelving, cabinets and hinges, and fire extinguishers.
“And don’t forget how much fresher everything looks with new caulking and a new coat of paint on the walls – the warmer weather can make Spring a great time to give new aesthetic life to your facility.”–Bob Clarke, 6 Spring Maintenance Tips for Facilities


4. Anticipate future spare parts inventory needs

“Having spare parts and supplies around the time of a major preventive maintenance schedule is absolutely critical. Asset management software allows you to check the availability of the spare parts for dates when the work orders are due. This report can help you identify parts that are insufficient for the required work orders in the future. If you know which parts you are falling short on, you can order them in advance from suppliers rather than waiting till re-order limits are reached.”-7 Tips for Better Equipment Preventive Maintenance


5. Set a plan and stick to it

“Preventative maintenance is all about planning, plain and simple. Every piece of equipment or machinery at your disposal or under your care should have a schedule of what type of maintenance it requires and when it requires that check-up."
“Setting a schedule not only ensures that your equipment stays in tip-top shape for the duration of its projected lifespan, but it also helps you plan for staffing needs and stay within budget. Once you have the plan ready, never deviate from it.”–Lisa Richards, 7 Preventative Maintenance Tips for Your Facility

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