What is Facility Maintenance?

Two window cleaners hanging on ropes cleaning a facility

Business is a delicate, complicated thing. Often, we focus on the people and the practices but neglect another equally important part – property. Companies cannot operate out of thin air. They have to station all their employees, equipment, and assets somewhere. And that’s where facility maintenance comes in.

In this article, we’ll be discussing everything regarding facility maintenance – what it is, why it matters, who’s responsible for it, and how you can make it work for you.

What is Facility Maintenance?

One way of looking at facility maintenance is the combination of people, processes, and platforms used to get the most utility out of a commercial building over the longest time possible.

The second, more granular facility maintenance meaning can also be seen as the pure process of increasing utility through regularly servicing a building’s capital assets, commercial appliances, and interior and outside surroundings. Its ultimate goal is to ensure safety, productivity, and even visual pleasantness of the facility.

Facility maintenance deals with:

  • Interior equipment – heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), etc.
  • Building systems – utilities (water, plumbing, lighting, electricity), fire suppression,
    elevators, escalators, etc.
  • Infrastructure – windows, doors, paint, etc.
  • Surroundings – grounds, landscaping, snow removal, etc.

Facility maintenance most often relates to buildings housing:

  • Learning campuses – kindergartens, schools, universities, etc.
  • Food service – restaurants, bistros, bars, etc.
  • Accommodations – hotels, resorts, hostels, etc.
  • Places of worship – churches, mosques, etc.
  • Venues – stadiums, concert halls, etc.

Who is responsible for Facility Maintenance?

Facility maintenance typically requires two types of people to be productive – maintenance leads, sometimes also known as facility managers, and maintenance technicians.

Depending on the industry, size, and budget of the business, a company may employ fully staffed teams or outsource their work to external contractors. 3rd party vendors may also be used for highly specialized tasks like electricians, plumbers, fire safety experts, and the like.

Let’s take a closer look at the two main types of facility maintenance workers:

a) Maintenance Leads / Facility Managers

These employees are responsible for strategy and operation planning. They organize on-demand, preventive, and emergency work orders, keep track of MRO (Maintenance, Repairs, and Operations) inventory, and oversee the department’s responsibilities.

However, facility managers are not only responsible for what work is done, but also how it is done. They meet with their senior staff to create, share, and enforce SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and best practices.

b) Junior and Senior Maintenance Technicians

The responsibilities of these employees should be rather self-explanatory, but we’ll cover them anyway for clarity’s sake. Maintenance Technicians are your eyes, hands, and feet on the ground who use their expertise to resolve any issues.

The main difference between junior and senior maintenance technicians is the level of experience they have. Junior technicians are newer to the job and often require the assistance and oversight of a senior employee. Their productivity and speed of task fulfillment can also be lower than that of their colleagues.

Meanwhile, the senior staff is subject to a different issue altogether. Namely, its tribal knowledge. It’s not uncommon for more experienced technicians to share information around best practices and the most expedient ways of dealing with tasks.

Unfortunately, these are rarely written down. This means, if they leave, you lose access to this invaluable source of information. That’s why it’s so important for them to cooperate with maintenance leads to write down their knowledge and share it with future employees.

Responsibilities of Facility Maintenance workers include:

a) Hard Services:

  • Building structure maintenance
  • Air conditioning
  • Energy and water management
  • Lifts and escalators
  • Lighting
  • Fire safety
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • Decoration and refurbishment

b) Soft Services:

  • Cleaning
  • Security
  • Parking
  • Pest control
  • Waste management
  • Recycling
  • Catering
  • Furniture and equipment management
  • Information systems
  • Printing
  • Document management
  • Reception services
  • Space management
  • Grounds management

How to handle Facility Maintenance?

As evident by the previous section of this article, there’s quite a lot you have to worry about when it comes to facility maintenance. Keeping track of all the scheduled, reactive, and emergency work orders necessary to keep your building up and running is hard work. And the old way of doing it with a pile of papers may not cut it in the modern age.

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That’s why every good maintenance facility should have great facility maintenance software. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Longer effective utility of facility equipment and assets

The unfortunate truth is that we often notice issues only when it’s far too late to prevent them. This can cause critical damage to your facility’s equipment and assets. And these tend to be rather expensive to replace.

To save money and ensure your building stays productive, it’s in your best interest to keep everything in working order for as long as possible. And as doctors tend to say, prevention is the best medicine.

However, to do that effectively, you need a reliable preventive maintenance planner. By investing in software, you can make your facility managers’ job easier and increase productivity, as the system will automatically schedule preventive maintenance tasks without needing any further work beyond the initial set-up.

  • Minimize unscheduled downtime

Another consequence of the problem outlined above is unscheduled downtime, which causes operations to come to a complete stop. This leads companies to lose out on profits and spend vital resources to fix the problem.

Thankfully, preventive maintenance can nip the issue in the bud too. By regularly checking all aspects of your facility, you can find parts of the building that need your attention and troubleshoot before they ever have the chance to cause any real damage.

  • Optimize workflows

As we mentioned above, the old style of paper-stacked organization might not be enough to meet your facility’s needs. Modern software allows you to compile all your data in a single comprehensive library.

You can use this to access comprehensive data sets, create reports, set up work orders with associated customizable checklists or instructions, keep track of your MRO inventory, and more.

Want to take your facility maintenance to the next level? Then Resco.Inspections for facility maintenance is here for you. Get started for free or book a demo here.