The Ultimate Guide to Preventive Maintenance

Our ultimate guide to preventive maintenance. From what it is through to how to do it right and the systems you need to support it.
The Ultimate Guide to Preventive Maintenance
Written by
Tom O'neill
Published on
April 12, 2023

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the ins and outs of preventive maintenance and show you how to implement an effective preventive maintenance plan to keep your properties, systems and equipment running smoothly.

Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach that focuses on regular inspections maximise the lifespan of your assets . By investing time and resources in preventive maintenance, you can avoid costly repairs, reduce downtime, and ensure the safety and reliability of your assets.

Throughout this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step approach to develop and execute a preventive maintenance plan. From understanding the core concepts and benefits of preventive maintenance to integrating advanced technologies we've got you covered.

Whether you're a business owner, facility manager, or homeowner looking to extend the life of your equipment, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to implement preventive maintenance software effectively. So, let's dive in and unlock the secrets to a proactive maintenance strategy that will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a proactive approach to maintaining and preserving the performance and longevity of various systems, equipment, and assets. It involves regularly scheduled inspections, cleaning, calibration, and component replacement to prevent potential failures and breakdowns before they occur.

By implementing preventive maintenance software, organisations and individuals can identify and address issues early on, reducing the risk of costly repairs, minimising downtime, and ensuring the safety and reliability of their assets. It is a strategic and cost-effective approach that focuses on preventing problems rather than simply reacting to them, ultimately saving time, money, and resources in the long run.

What is the goal of preventive maintenance?

The primary goals of preventive maintenance in building and equipment maintenance are to ensure reliable performance, minimise downtime, extend lifespan, optimise efficiency and enhance safety.

By implementing predictive maintenance practices, organisations can reduce the risk of unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs in both their building infrastructure and equipment. Regular inspections, cleaning, calibration, and component replacements help maintain the reliability, safety, and efficiency of these assets, leading to improved productivity, cost savings, and a longer lifespan.

What are the advantages of preventive maintenance?

A proactive approach to building and equipment maintenance offers numerous advantages, we've listed the most common ones below:

  1. Cost Savings: Proactive maintenance helps prevent major breakdowns and costly repairs by addressing issues before they escalate. By identifying and resolving problems early on, organisations can save significant expenses associated with emergency repairs and equipment replacement.
  2. Increased Reliability: Regular maintenance activities, such as inspections, cleaning, and lubrication, ensure that building infrastructure and equipment are in optimal condition. This enhances their reliability, reducing the risk of unexpected failures and minimising downtime.
  3. Extended Lifespan: By implementing proactive maintenance practices, the lifespan of building assets and equipment can be significantly extended. Regular care, calibration, and component replacements help mitigate wear and tear, preventing premature deterioration and extending the useful life of these assets.
  4. Improved Efficiency: Proactive maintenance optimises the performance and efficiency of building systems and equipment. Regular calibration, adjustments, and cleaning ensure that they operate at their peak performance, leading to energy savings, improved productivity, and enhanced operational efficiency.
  5. Enhanced Safety: Regular maintenance activities focus on identifying and resolving safety hazards in building infrastructure and equipment. By addressing potential risks and ensuring compliance with safety standards, proactive maintenance promotes a safer working environment for employees and occupants.
  6. Reduced Disruptions: Planned maintenance activities can be scheduled during periods of low demand or downtime, minimising disruptions to daily operations. By addressing maintenance needs proactively, organisations can avoid unplanned downtime and maintain continuity in their operations.
  7. Compliance and Regulations: Proactive maintenance helps organisations meet regulatory requirements and maintain compliance with industry standards. By conducting regular inspections and adhering to maintenance protocols, organisations can avoid penalties, fines, and legal issues. This is especially important in a regulated industry such as healthcare.

How to implement a preventive maintenance schedule

The first step to creating a comprehensive preventive maintenance program is assessing the maintenance needs of your property and prioritising these. You can to do that by following the steps outlined below:

Step 1. Asset Inventory and Assessment

  • Identify and compile a comprehensive inventory of all assets requiring maintenance.
  • Gather relevant information about each asset, such as age, manufacturer, maintenance history, and criticality to operations.

Step 2. Criticality and Impact Analysis

  • Evaluate the impact of asset failure on operations, productivity, and safety.
  • Categorise assets based on their criticality, considering factors like downtime consequences, safety risks, and financial impact.

Step 3. Maintenance History and Data Analysis

  • Review any past maintenance records you have access to and identify recurring issues, common failures, and patterns.
  • Analyse maintenance data to determine assets that require frequent attention or are prone to failures.

Step 4. Conduct Condition Assessments

  • Conduct thorough inspections and assessments of your assets' current condition.
  • Utilise any specialised tools or technologies to evaluate performance, detect signs of wear and tear, and identify potential issues, this can be in the
  • form of sensors or an equivalent technology.

Step 5. Stakeholder Input and Consultation

  • Try to engage with your key ‘stakeholders', such as maintenance personnel, operators, and managers, to gather their insights and feedback on asset performance and criticality.
  • Consider input from these stakeholders who have direct experience with the assets' maintenance needs.

Step 6. Ensure a Risk-Based Approach

  • Prioritise your assets based on the level of risk they pose to operations and safety.
  • Assess the likelihood and consequence of failures to determine the overall risk associated with each asset

Developing a maintenance schedule and calendar

Having a maintenance schedule and/or calendar is of paramount importance for effective preventive maintenance management. It serves as a roadmap that outlines when and how maintenance tasks should be conducted, ensuring that critical systems and equipment receive the attention they require.

By implementing a well-structured schedule, you can proactively plan and allocate resources for maintenance activities. It also helps in optimising operational efficiency by scheduling maintenance during periods of low demand or downtime. Additionally, a maintenance calendar provides visibility and accountability, ensuring that tasks are not overlooked or delayed, and compliance with regulatory requirements is maintained.

A lot of maintenance teams will maintain a spreadsheet or logbook for this purpose but the best approach is to use a digital maintenance management system to have a team schedule function and a predictive maintenance ticketing system.

Setting performance indicators and metrics for evaluation

Setting maintenance performance indicators is important because it means you can evaluate the effectiveness of any processes implemented. The most common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used for evaluating the effectiveness of a preventive maintenance schedule are:

Equipment Uptime

This KPI measures the percentage of time that equipment is operational and available for use. Higher uptime indicates effective maintenance practices and minimises downtime.

Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)

MTBF measures the average time between equipment failures. A higher MTBF indicates a longer period of reliable operation and effective preventive maintenance.

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)

MTTR measures the average time required to repair equipment after a failure. A lower MTTR indicates efficient maintenance practices and prompt restoration of equipment.

MTTF (Mean Time to Failure)

MTTF measures the average time it takes for a component or equipment to experience a failure. MTTF focuses on the time until the first failure occurs, whereas MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) measures the time between subsequent failures.

Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE)

OEE is a comprehensive KPI that assesses the overall performance, availability, and quality of equipment. It considers factors like uptime, speed, and production quality to provide a holistic view of equipment effectiveness.

These KPIs provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of a preventive maintenance schedule, enabling organisations to assess the impact of their maintenance efforts, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimise their maintenance practices.

Examples of Preventive Maintenance Tasks

Once you have conducted your initial assessment of your buildings and equipment you can start to build out your maintenance steps, these are typically in the form of checklists that an operative can work through in order to check everything required. A typical preventive maintenance checklist for a building may include the following steps:

HVAC Systems:

  • Inspect and clean air filters.
  • Check and calibrate thermostat settings.
  • Lubricate motors and fans.
  • Inspect and clean ductwork.
  • Test and inspect safety controls.

Electrical Systems:

  • Inspect and test electrical panels and breakers.
  • Verify proper grounding and connections.
  • Check and replace worn-out wiring.
  • Test emergency backup systems (generators, UPS).
  • Inspect lighting fixtures and replace bulbs as needed.

Plumbing Systems:

  • Inspect and repair leaks in pipes, faucets, and fixtures.
  • Check water pressure and adjust if necessary.
  • Flush and clean water heaters.
  • Inspect and clean drains and sewer lines.
  • Test and maintain back-flow prevention devices.

Fire Safety Systems:

  • Test and inspect fire alarm systems.
  • Check and replace fire extinguishers.
  • Inspect and clean smoke detectors.
  • Test emergency lighting systems.
  • Conduct fire suppression system inspections.

Building Exterior:

  • Inspect and repair roofing, gutters, and downspouts.
  • Check and seal windows and doors for drafts or leaks.
  • Inspect and maintain exterior lighting.
  • Inspect and clean the building façade or siding.
  • Check and repair cracks in the foundation.

Safety Systems:

  • Test and inspect emergency exits and signage.
  • Verify proper functioning of security systems (access control, CCTV).
  • Check and test emergency evacuation procedures.
  • Inspect and maintain handrails and guardrails.
  • Test and inspect elevator and escalator systems.

General Building Maintenance:

  • Clean and maintain common areas, including hallways and restrooms.
  • Inspect and repair flooring, walls, and ceilings.
  • Check and replace worn-out or damaged furniture.
  • Inspect and maintain fire-rated doors.
  • Conduct pest control measures as necessary.

Documentation and Record-Keeping

Documenting your preventive maintenance tasks is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides a comprehensive record of maintenance activities, facilitating easy tracking and reference. This documentation ensures tasks are not overlooked or duplicated. It also serves as a valuable resource for future planning, decision-making, and optimising maintenance strategies.

Additionally, it helps meet compliance requirements, demonstrating adherence to schedules and safety standards. Well-documented records showcase your commitment to maintenance practices and enhance transparency and accountability. In summary, documenting preventive maintenance tasks enhances efficiency, supports data-driven decision-making, and mitigates potential risks.

Using mobile preventive maintenance

Mobile maintenance fault reporting apps provide a convenient and efficient way to record maintenance issues. Here's how they can be used:

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  • Accessibility: Mobile apps allow maintenance personnel to access the fault reporting system directly from their smartphones or tablets. This accessibility enables them to report maintenance issues in real-time, regardless of their location within the facility or worksite.
  • Easy Data Entry: Mobile apps simplify the process of recording maintenance issues by providing user-friendly interfaces for data entry. Personnel can quickly input relevant details such as the location of the issue, a description of the problem, and any supporting images or attachments.
  • Real-time Communication: Mobile apps enable immediate communication between maintenance personnel and the maintenance team or managers. Once a maintenance issue is reported, it can be instantly shared with the responsible team members, ensuring swift action and reducing response times.
  • Multimedia Capabilities: Mobile apps often support multimedia features, allowing users to capture photos or videos of the maintenance issue. Visual documentation enhances the accuracy and clarity of the reported problem, assisting maintenance teams in understanding and addressing the issue effectively.
  • Automated Data Capture: Mobile maintenance apps can automatically capture additional data like date, time, and GPS coordinates of the reported issue. This automation eliminates manual data entry errors and provides valuable contextual information for better troubleshooting and analysis.
  • Workflow Management: Fault reporting apps often include workflow management functionalities. They enable maintenance managers to assign tasks, track progress, set priorities, and monitor the resolution of reported issues. This streamlined workflow ensures that maintenance tasks are efficiently handled and properly documented.
  • Reporting and Analysis: Mobile apps typically generate reports and analytics based on the recorded maintenance issues. These reports offer valuable insights into recurring problems, areas requiring frequent attention, and overall maintenance performance, aiding in strategic decision-making and continuous improvement.

By utilising mobile maintenance fault reporting apps, organisations can streamline the reporting process, improve communication, enhance data accuracy, and gain valuable insights into their maintenance operations. This ultimately contributes to more effective and efficient maintenance management.

Digitising your Preventive Maintenance Management with a CMMS

Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) automates and centralises maintenance management tasks such as work order management, asset tracking, scheduling, and reporting. It enables streamlined workflows, improves maintenance planning, and enhances data-driven decision-making.

7 benefits of a CMMS for preventive maintenance

A Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) offers several specific benefits for preventive maintenance:

  1. Scheduled Maintenance: A CMMS enables the creation and management of preventive maintenance schedules. It allows you to define recurring maintenance tasks, set up automated reminders, and schedule preventive maintenance activities in advance. This proactive approach helps prevent equipment failures, reduces downtime, and extends the lifespan of assets.
  2. Task Prioritization: A CMMS helps prioritise preventive maintenance tasks based on their importance and criticality. It allows you to assign priority levels to different maintenance activities, ensuring that high-priority tasks are addressed promptly. By focusing on critical maintenance tasks, you can optimise resource allocation and maximise the effectiveness of preventive maintenance efforts.
  3. Compliance and Documentation: A CMMS assists in maintaining compliance with regulatory standards and documentation requirements. It allows you to document maintenance activities, record inspection results, and keep track of maintenance logs. This documentation provides evidence of compliance during audits and inspections, mitigating potential risks and ensuring adherence to industry regulations.
  4. Asset Performance Tracking: With a CMMS, you can monitor and track the performance of assets over time . It captures data related to asset maintenance history, breakdowns, repairs, and condition monitoring. By analysing this data, you can identify patterns, anticipate maintenance needs, and make data-driven decisions to optimise preventive maintenance strategies.
  5. Historical Data Analysis: A CMMS stores a wealth of historical maintenance data that can be used for analysis. By analysing historical data, you can identify recurring issues, spot trends, and determine the most effective preventive maintenance tasks and intervals. This data-driven approach helps refine maintenance plans, improve asset reliability, and optimise maintenance scheduling.
  6. Cost Management: Preventive maintenance conducted through a CMMS helps in cost management. By addressing maintenance needs proactively, you can prevent costly breakdowns, reduce emergency repairs, and minimise downtime. Additionally, a CMMS enables better inventory management, ensuring that necessary spare parts are available for scheduled maintenance, avoiding delays and additional expenses.
  7. Continuous Improvement: A CMMS promotes continuous improvement in preventive maintenance practices. It allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of preventive maintenance tasks by analysing data on asset performance, maintenance history, and work order completion rates. This analysis helps identify areas for improvement, refine maintenance plans, and optimise maintenance strategies over time.

In Summary

In conclusion, implementing an effective preventive maintenance management system is crucial for organisations seeking to optimise asset performance, reduce downtime, and enhance operational efficiency. By following the steps outlined in this complete guide, including assessing maintenance needs, establishing a maintenance plan, utilising technology-driven solutions, and monitoring key performance indicators, organisations can take a proactive approach to maintenance.

By prioritising preventive maintenance, organisations can maximise asset reliability, minimise unplanned breakdowns, extend equipment lifespan, and ultimately achieve long-term cost savings. Embracing preventive maintenance as an integral part of overall maintenance strategy ensures that businesses can operate smoothly, meet regulatory requirements, and sustain a competitive edge in today's dynamic business landscape.

Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS ) brings long-term Return on Investment (ROI) to organisations. While the initial investment may require time and resources, the benefits over the long run are substantial. A CMMS streamlines maintenance processes, enhances asset management, improves preventive maintenance practices, and enables data-driven decision-making.

By reducing equipment downtime, preventing costly breakdowns, and optimising maintenance scheduling, organisations can realise significant cost savings. Additionally, improved asset reliability, extended lifespan of equipment, and enhanced productivity lead to increased operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The ability to track maintenance history, analyse performance trends, and optimise maintenance strategies further contributes to long-term ROI. Ultimately, the implementation of a CMMS translates into improved operational efficiency, reduced costs, enhanced asset performance, and a solid foundation for sustainable business growth.

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