Space & Move Management

Maintenance Strategies for Facilities Managers

David Spence
June 14th, 2018

Many variables contribute to a company’s productivity—the office layout, the staff’s level of comfort and security, the ease with which they can find the people and assets they need, etc.

How to Improve Your Maintenance Routine

One of the most important factors supporting productivity, of course, is the assets that keep operations running at the right pace.

To keep them in good shape, facilities managers must have a solid maintenance routine in place.

Today I’ll look at the two main types of maintenance and how you can cut down—if not eliminate—the more costly of the two.

Types of Maintenance

maintenance types for facilities management

There are two primary types of maintenance that concerns FMs:

1. Reactive, which repairs a problem that has suddenly appeared, like a toilet that’s overflowing. Crisis management can fall into this category if an FM hasn’t got a good plan in place.

2. Proactive or preventative, which completes the upkeep recommended by an asset’s manufacturer for the equipment’s optimal performance.

It’s not surprising that reactive actions account for a majority of most maintenance activities.

As FacilitiesNet points out, doing proactive maintenance is difficult when so many problems requiring the reactive kind pop up.

Both reactive and proactive maintenance routines can be disrupted when one order is dropped for another, and a “backlog” of orders of both kinds builds up.

In an ideal world, proactive maintenance could stop the need for reactive routines.

A malfunctioning piece of equipment can be disastrous for the company, but as Jason Reece, the Research & Development Leader for Balfour Beatty recently pointed out in a LinkedIn article, it’s impossible to prevent such problems from occuring.

Therefore, a few strategies that will help you decrease your need for reactive maintenance are key. 

Schedule Strategically

To better handle reactive maintenance on top of the many other duties required of your team, Michael Cowley, president of CE Maintenance Solutions, suggests you have one individual be the reactive person.

Limit the amount of planned work for this technician, based on the average amount of hours used each week on reactive maintenance, and assign them jobs that can be easily sacrificed for more important tasks.

For example, Cowley says assigning this person 10-15 hours of planned work will give them the room to handle unplanned jobs, assuming the facility requires an average of 20-30 hours of work per week.

This sort of planning will let you use your team and resources in the most optimal way, because you won’t be asking multiple people to stop what they’re doing to attend to one major problem (unless additional help is needed by your reactive technician).

Analyze and Plan

analyze and plan maintenance strategies for FMs

Cowley also suggests using five key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you track reactive maintenance. Once you have some numbers nailed down, you can adjust your planning accordingly.

The five indicators he suggests are as follows:

1. Backlog of deferred work: Recording your non-urgent jobs and estimating the time needed for their completion will help you balance and shift your priorities as needed.

2. Percent of completed work that is reactive: Calculating this figure can tell you whether the need for reactive maintenance is improving (i.e. decreasing); a range of 20-30 percent is ideal. (Cowley doesn’t specify a time period for determining the percentage, so whether you go by a certain number of weeks or months is up to you.)

3. PM program compliance: This KPI measures the efficiency of your proactive maintenance: “A successful PM program includes all critical equipment, and technicians will complete 99 percent of PM inspections and procedures on time.”

4. Pareto analysis of created work: Weekly or monthly Pareto charts and bar graphs will give your staff a visual of what problems are requiring the most time and attention.

5. Weekly work-schedule compliance: Recording your accuracy in scheduling and completing your work orders will enable you to quantitatively track how well your department delivers to its customers. 


By planning well and making the calculations listed above, FMs and their staff can prevent a situation where they face a stockpile of work orders and a faulty HVAC system. Routine maintenance never looked so good. 

Photos: Nastuh AbootalebiNathan Cowley, Rawpixel