Facility maintenance is how you ensure all your spaces, assets, and equipment are up and running every day.
One way to quickly understand it is to try imagining life without it: You’re constantly risking everything going offline, increasing costly unscheduled downtime.
What is facility maintenance?
Facility maintenance is the regular maintenance and repair of a building’s indoor and outdoor assets, including everything from machinery and HVAC units to boilers and parking lot curbs, to increase their utility and maximize the value they deliver over their life cycles. It’s how you get the most bang for your space, asset, and equipment buck with the least amount of time, money, and heartache.
Part of the definition, though, is also what it is not. Although many people use the terms facility maintenance and equipment maintenance to mean the same thing, the key difference is that facility maintenance is for commercial buildings where there’s no manufacturing. And while equipment maintenance focuses on the efficiency and safety of assets, facility maintenance encompasses all of that and more, including the people, processes, technology, and spaces in the facility.
What are facility management and maintenance management?
Again, one of the ways to better understand facility management is to look at what it is not. So, although facility management and maintenance management do share some similarities, like putting scheduled maintenance in place to have more efficient processes, there are important differences.
The success of the facility relies on the efficiency of your facility management. The role of facility management is to ensure the facility remains safe, comfortable, efficient, and functioning smoothly. Facility management integrates spaces, resources, assets, technology, and processes to support the facility, ensure safety, and increase efficiency. An example of where you can find facility management is a real estate property or a commercial building. These properties must be maintained to be productive and reach goals.
Facility managers have both strategic and operational duties. Strategic duties include talking to clients and customers about the building and specific guidelines, services, risks, and costs. Operational duties focus on maintaining an efficient and safe environment, concentrating on the future so that operations are constantly becoming more productive as technology advances.
Maintenance management is responsible for maintaining only assets and resources. The goal of maintenance management is to avoid unscheduled downtime, interruptions in the production process, and to minimize risks, equipment failures, general wastes of time.
Maintenance management includes carrying out work orders that don’t require engineering or permits, like changing oil or switching out a component on a piece of equipment. An example of maintenance management is scheduling regular inspections and tasks for a piece of equipment, which could be as simple as checking the oil.
Management maintains the organization’s expensive assets on large operating budgets. The maintenance manager’s goal is to reduce and control costs, resources, and time as much as possible by setting up and running efficient workflows. So, the manager is responsible for creating effective schedules that outline the best preventive and corrective maintenance to minimize time and costs.
What types of buildings utilize facility maintenance?
Most buildings have at least some level of facility maintenance routine, but although there is some overlap, the type of maintenance varies by location. Here are some of the most common building types that have complete facility maintenance programs in place.
Commercial buildings, like office buildings, tend to have large HVAC systems or boilers that need regular maintenance to ensure they’re working correctly. In addition, management must provide comfortable work environments 24/7, so ensuring their HVAC system is always working correctly is a must.
But it’s more than just comfort. Commercial buildings need hallways, rooms, and parking lots that are safe. So, for example, maintenance staff need to ensure halls and stairways are clear of debris to avoid injury. Additionally, the team needs to bring in certified third parties to inspect the elevators and fire suppressions systems.
Hospitals must be both safe and sanitized. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces strict guidelines for all hospital facilities. Just like in office buildings, the maintenance team is responsible for ensuring all systems and assets are up and running.
However, because of the nature of medical equipment, there is a steady stream of third-party vendors. The MRIs and CAT scans have their own dedicated teams of professional technicians, while the hospital’s full-time maintenance team looks after the facility’s electrical and HVAC.
If you’ve ever been to a college campus, you’ve seen just how many buildings there are. From classroom and research facilities to gyms and auditoriums, universities have many different types of facilities. Even a small campus is comparable to a full-scale village in terms of the number, variety, and complexity of its buildings and assets.
The maintenance team can find itself working on the dorm HVAC in the morning, the deep fryer in the industrial-level kitchen in the cafeteria in the afternoon, before having to deal with a late-night emergency at the campus Olympic-size pool.
What is an example of facility maintenance?
Consider a distribution facility, either for a big box store or for packages, such as FedEx, Amazon, or UPS. These types of facilities use forklifts to move pallets from one place to another, and from there, they use a conveyor belt system to move packages to shipping areas.
Although that process may sound straightforward, think about how many pieces of equipment go into each step of the process. In the production process, there are many chances for something to go wrong, like equipment failure or product damage. To ensure this doesn’t happen and maintain smooth operations, a facility manager delegates tasks and work orders to technicians who service specific equipment, like forklifts and conveyor belts.
Facilities rely on clean, well-ventilated areas with properly working alarms, electricity, HVAC, and plumbing. The maintenance the team does in these vital areas is an important part of an efficient facility maintenance system that facility managers create and monitor. When this is done correctly, investors are happy, and customers get their products on time and in good condition. Providing quality goods on time builds client trust and helps the organization grow.
How do you create a facility maintenance checklist?
Creating a facility maintenance checklist helps keep you from missing tasks, either because you overlooked them or couldn’t find enough time for them.
Some tasks need to be completed more frequently than others, so creating individual checklists by area and equipment type for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks is important if you want efficient facility maintenance.
When creating your checklist, include any area or asset in your facility that needs regular maintenance, including:
- HVAC systems
- Security systems
- Electrical systems
- Access control systems
- Fire and safety equipment
- Gateways, doors, and windows
- Exterior and interior walls and masonry
Keep in mind that each of these would have its own checklist of specific things to look for and things to do. So, for example, a checklist for what is done regularly for plumbing would look like:
- Check for clogs in all drains
- Check for corrosion on all pipes
- Perform backflow tests annually
- Test shutoff valves are functioning
- Ensure water heater is at the correct temperature
- Check that the water pressure is between 40-80 PSI
- Check for water spots, puddles, mold, moisture, or any other sign of leaks
When creating a checklist, include an area for your technicians to make notes and record measurements.
By regularly using checklists, managers can consistently increase life cycles while moving away from reactive, failure-driven maintenance.
On the other side of that coin, by not following maintenance checklists, managers create both short- and long-term problems, including security and safety issues.
What certifications and courses are needed for facility maintenance?
There are certifications for many specific types of facility management, varying by areas of actuation, skill and experience level, and career goals. When you invest in your team, you’re investing in bettering the efficiency of your organization. These are the most common and popular certifications for facility maintenance.
Certified Facility Managers (CFM) credential
A Certified Facility Managers credential (CFM), offered by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), is one of the most respected certifications available within the facility maintenance industry. It is considered a pioneer among facility maintenance certifications.
The CFM credential explores eleven key topics that are vital to a successfully maintained facility and assesses how well the applicant knows the industry. After you work through the course, you apply and then have to pass a final exam to be considered completely certified.
A CFM credential is perfect for facility managers who have at least five years of experience. If you haven’t reached the five-year mark quite yet, there are some exceptions. If you have met the educational requirements and other pre-requisites, you can also be considered for this credential. The price for this course ranges from $550 to $815, depending on if you’re a member of the IFMA.
Facility management professional (FMP) certification
The Facility Management Professional certification (FMP), also offered by the IFMA, is a must-have for facility management professionals, especially those who are just starting out or are transitioning from other fields.
The certification course is a set of four modules: Operations & Maintenance; Finance and Business; Leadership & Strategy; and Project Management. Candidates for this certification have to complete all four courses and the respective final assessments, then submit the application and payment form. By the end of the course, those who have attained the credential have a full understanding of how to run an efficient and cost-effective facility at optimal performance levels.
The FMP certification is ideal for those who manage operations and maintenance for facilities or those who have property management responsibilities. FMP credentials boost existing skill sets and increase credibility with clients and employers. Because this credential is for those who are just starting out, there are no prerequisites, and it is well worth the investment for those who want to grow their careers.
The courses come in online learning, collaborative virtual learning, accelerated review, and classroom setting options, so the price depends on which is best for the participant’s personal preference and budget.
Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP) certification
The Sustainability Facility Professional certification (SFP), also offered by IFMA, is an assessment program that teaches industry professionals about sustainable maintenance and how it impacts their bottom lines.
The interactive course helps professionals learn the necessary skills and tools for developing sustainable facility maintenance practices. The certification course includes a complete kit, including a printed or digital book.
The SFP certification is best for professionals who are interested in making data-driven decisions and increasing the efficiency of their organization with sustainable practices. The course’s price ranges from $695 to $2095, depending on if the participant is a member of IFMA.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification (LEED) is different from those offered above because it is not for a person but for projects. It is an internationally recognized green building certification and teaches building owners and managers how to implement the proper framework for sustainable maintenance, construction, operations, and energy management.
The outcome of implementing such practices is high-performing operations and is cost-effective for your organization. To register a project for this certification, you have to submit key information about the project and submit payment for the certification review fee. The cost for the certification varies by project, as there is no set price.
How does facility maintenance benefit from modern CMMS solutions?
CMMS software benefits facility maintenance in several ways.
Helps you better maintain facilities
CMMS software is designed to help managers manage their facilities and gives managers creative freedom to design custom schedules to implement efficient maintenance strategies. Once you’ve created a template, you can easily add it to new preventive or on-demand work orders.
When you create a maintenance schedule, the maintenance becomes automated, which allows you to have less work to do. Automating maintenance also decreases the amount of planned downtime and cuts costs.
Additionally, managers can easily track costs, labor, hours, parts, and asset history. CMMS stores all data related to maintenance and maintenance expenses. CMMS software gives managers the ability to gain insight into their facility to analyze shortcomings better so they can implement informed solutions.
Keeps your data and facility safe
Using modern computerized maintenance management software helps you capture data, keep it safe, and is accessible through a central database in the cloud. Having the data you need accessible from the cloud ensures it’ll never get misplaced and is always available across the organization in real time.
Having your data stored in the cloud and having easy access to it whenever you need to ensure your facility is safe and secure. Data is only accessible to those you’ve allowed permission, and data is easy to access whenever necessary, so work orders and tasks get done quickly and are never overlooked. In addition, keeping up to date on work orders ensures equipment is safe to use, and maintenance is done regularly.
Increases facility efficiency
Because the system you create within the CMMS helps you plan and track work orders, technicians complete their tasks quickly and without having to stop what they’re doing to put out other fires. Technicians being able to focus on their specific jobs increases labor productivity.
CMMS software helps technicians identify their tasks and due dates so that everything is completed on time. You can manually or automatically assign tasks to technicians, but scheduling tasks to automatically generate improves efficiency and takes one more thing off your plate because you don’t have to rely on memory, spreadsheets, or paper documents to remember to schedule tasks.
Having tasks automatically generated ensures work orders get done efficiently, which minimizes downtime and decreases costs.
The best way to decide is to talk with someone from the industry. All you need to do is find the right provider.
CMMS software solutions help automate facility management schedules and maintenance. They are always easily accessible and are updated across the board when changes are made. CMMS also helps management provide better access to the proper training for employees, keep critical assets online for less money by streamlining processes, capture and leverage reliable data, and track KPIs. All your information is stored in the cloud, is accessible to anyone who has access, and inspection reports are delivered immediately, right to your email.
CMMS software minimizes planned and unplanned downtime of random equipment breakdowns because maintenance is always carried out regularly, and nothing gets overlooked. When a maintenance checklist is created using CMMS, safety tests, inspections, work orders, and maintenance schedules are automated and delegated correctly. Maintaining facility maintenance using CMMS keeps resources and assets safe from injury, health problems, and overall failure, saving time and money.