What is Facility Maintenance?

what is facility maintenance guide

Facility maintenance and management covers a wide range of activities aimed at ensuring that all systems and services of a building or property operate efficiently and safely. This multidisciplinary approach is crucial for prolonging the lifespan of assets and providing a comfortable and safe working environment for all personnel. This article explores the different ways facility maintenance and management contribute to workplace safety and productivity. Aside from that, it discusses the key components and processes involved in a successful facility maintenance program.

What is Facility Maintenance and Management?

First, let’s define what facilities maintenance and management is. Facility maintenance refers specifically to the activities involved in the upkeep of buildings, grounds, and equipment, ensuring that they continue to function as required. This includes tasks such as repairing HVAC systems, maintaining lighting fixtures, and addressing plumbing issues.

On the other hand, facility management is a broader term that encompasses not only maintenance but also the overall administration and strategic planning necessary to manage the lifecycle of an environment. This includes space management, capital planning, and compliance with health and safety standards.

In industrial facilities, facility maintenance and management are governed by various standards and regulations to ensure safety, efficiency, and sustainability. This includes the likes of:

  • ISO 41001:2018 - Provides a framework to develop, implement, and maintain effective facility management across different sectors. It emphasizes the importance of creating a management structure that aligns with the strategic vision of the organization, enhancing the safety and well-being of personnel while optimizing efficiency.
  • OSHA General Duty Clause - Requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. Address particular areas such as hazardous material handling, machinery maintenance, and emergency exit facilities.
  • ANSI/IFMA FM 1001 & 1002 - Provides a comprehensive management guide for strategic planning, project management, and quality control in facility management. Focuses on operations and maintenance guidelines for cost-effectively managing facility services and infrastructure.

Four Elements of Facility Management

In order to effectively ensure the overall efficiency and productivity of a facility and its operations, facility management is concerned with a broad scope of responsibilities that can be categorized into four key elements:

  • Leadership and Strategy: This involves setting overarching objectives for facility management that align with the organization’s mission and strategic goals. It requires effective leadership to guide and develop facility policies and procedures.
  • Operations and Services: Management of day-to-day operations is crucial. This includes everything from utility management and safety inspections to janitorial services and security. Ensuring that these services are performed efficiently and cost-effectively is essential.
  • Maintenance and Technology: Integrating technology into facility maintenance can significantly enhance efficiency. This involves adopting automation and management systems that help in monitoring building operations and maintenance tasks.
  • Sustainability and Energy Management: With increasing focus on environmental impact, facility managers must implement practices that reduce energy consumption, manage waste, and maintain sustainable operations.

What Does Facility Maintenance Do?

workers conducting facilities maintenance


To gain a better understanding of the role that facility maintenance and management plays in workplace safety, let’s take a closer look at its key features, objectives, and benefits. Let’s start by discussing the difference between facility, building, and property maintenance. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between the three.

Facility maintenance is the field that focuses on the broader scope of maintaining and optimizing the operations of complex buildings and systems within an organization. It includes managing the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as ensuring compliance with safety regulations. On the other hand, building maintenance is like a subset of facility maintenance and generally refers to the physical upkeep of the structure itself, including tasks such as painting, roofing repairs, and fixing broken fixtures. Lastly, property maintenance encompasses a wider range of responsibilities beyond just the building. It includes landscaping, parking lot maintenance, snow removal, and in some cases, cleaning services. Property maintenance aims to preserve the aesthetic and functional aspects of the outdoor and indoor environments.

The primary purpose of facility maintenance is to ensure that every aspect of a facility operates as designed. It is also focused on maintaining functionality, enhancing safety, and optimizing the comfort of workers and personnel.

But more than that, the objectives of facility maintenance are targeted and strategic. Each round of maintenance and inspection aims to provide:

  • Preventive Care: To conduct regular inspections and maintenance to foresee and mitigate potential failures before they result in system breakdowns.
  • Efficiency Improvement: To optimize the use of energy and resources, reducing waste and operational costs. This includes tuning systems to run at peak efficiency and upgrading to more energy-efficient models where applicable.
  • Life Cycle Extension: To extend the lifespan of facility assets and equipment through meticulous care and regular upkeep, thereby deferring the capital expenditures associated with replacement.
  • Regulatory Compliance: To ensure that all maintenance activities are in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations, helping to avoid fines and legal issues.
  • Response Readiness: To establish procedures and capabilities to respond swiftly to emergencies or unexpected failures, minimizing impact on operations.
  • Sustainability Goals: To implement practices that support environmental sustainability, such as using eco-friendly materials and technologies, reducing emissions, and managing waste effectively.

Given this, regular facility maintenance processes bring in an array of benefits.

1. Enhanced Operational Reliability
Regular maintenance ensures that all parts of a facility are operating reliably and as expected. This reliability is crucial for uninterrupted business operations, particularly in industries where equipment failure can lead to significant operational downtime and lost productivity.

2. Cost Efficiency
By addressing issues before they escalate into major problems, organizations can avoid the high costs associated with emergency repairs and replacements. Properly maintained systems, such as HVAC and electrical systems, operate more efficiently, which can significantly reduce energy costs. Furthermore, maintenance management helps in the optimal allocation of resources, ensuring that maintenance tasks are carried out efficiently and without unnecessary expenditure.

3. Safety and Compliance
Regular checks and repairs minimize the risk of accidents caused by faulty equipment, providing a safer workplace for employees. Many industries are subject to strict regulatory requirements regarding the maintenance of their facilities. Regular maintenance ensures compliance with these regulations, helping to avoid legal penalties and potential shutdowns.

4. Prolonged Asset Lifespan
Regular maintenance extends the life of facility components and equipment by preventing excessive wear and tear. This prolongation of asset life delays the need for costly replacements and allows businesses to maximize their investments in facility assets.

5. Improved Asset Performance
Well-maintained equipment operates at peak efficiency. This not only enhances the performance of the facility but also ensures that the output—whether products or services—is of the highest quality.

6. Increased Property Value
Facilities that are well-maintained invariably retain or even increase in value over time. This is particularly important for organizations considering the future resale of their properties.

7. Enhanced Corporate Image
A well-maintained facility creates a positive impression on customers, clients, and visitors, reflecting a company’s commitment to excellence and attention to detail. This can enhance brand reputation and customer loyalty.

8. Adaptability to Technological Advancements
Regular maintenance often includes upgrades and integrations of new technologies. This adaptability ensures that facilities remain current with technological advancements, improving overall functionality and competitiveness.

9. Environmental Sustainability
Efficient systems and well-maintained facilities contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing waste and decreasing energy consumption. This not only helps companies meet environmental regulations but also appeals to increasingly eco-conscious consumers.

Types of Facility Maintenance

Facility maintenance can generally be classified into several types, each essential for ensuring the overall operational integrity and safety of a facility:

Preventive Maintenance

This proactive approach involves regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance tasks to prevent equipment failures before they occur. It typically includes cleaning, lubricating, adjusting, and replacing components to extend the life of equipment and systems.

Corrective Maintenance

Also known as reactive maintenance, this type occurs in response to a malfunction or breakdown. The goal is to restore the equipment or system to its proper working condition.

Predictive Maintenance

Using advanced techniques like vibration analysis, thermal imaging, and acoustic testing, this maintenance type predicts failures before they happen. It relies on condition-monitoring equipment to assess the performance of equipment in real-time.

Condition-Based Maintenance

Similar to predictive maintenance, this type depends on the actual condition of the equipment rather than time intervals or usage schedules. It requires continuous monitoring through sensors and data analytics to decide when maintenance should be performed.

Facility Maintenance Workers

To conduct a comprehensive facility maintenance, the program involves a diverse group of workers and specialists. Each of which specializes in certain aspects of the facility maintenance program. These typically include:

Maintenance Technicians Handle general repairs and upkeep tasks across electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.
HVAC Technicians Specialize in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Electricians Focus on installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems.
Plumbers Responsible for installing and repairing pipes, fittings, and other plumbing fixtures.
Groundskeepers  Maintain outdoor areas, including landscaping and parking lots.
Custodial Staff Ensure cleanliness and hygiene of the facility.

Developing a Facility Maintenance Program

managers consulting a facility maintenance checklist

An effective facility maintenance program requires more than surface-level inspections and checks. Instead, it is built on several key principles and involves critical components to ensure that all aspects of facilities maintenance are addressed. These components include:

Assessment and Planning

This involves conducting a thorough assessment of the facility's current condition and maintenance needs. This step should define the scope of maintenance work, the resources required, and the goals to be achieved.

Scheduled Maintenance

Develop a maintenance schedule that includes routine inspections, preventive maintenance, and predictive maintenance tasks. This schedule should be based on the manufacturer’s recommendations and industry best practices.

Resource Management

Effective allocation of resources, including budgeting for maintenance activities, and managing human resources. Ensure that the maintenance team is well-trained and equipped with the necessary tools and parts.

Technology Integration

Utilizing maintenance management software (CMMS, or Computerized Maintenance Management Systems) to streamline scheduling, inventory management, and record-keeping. Technology can provide real-time data analysis and facilitate decision-making.

Health and Safety Compliance

Incorporate safety protocols and ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. This includes training staff on safety practices and regularly reviewing and updating safety procedures.

Continuous Improvement

Implementing a feedback mechanism to learn from past maintenance activities, which can help in refining the maintenance strategy over time.

For a more comprehensive approach, it is essential to understand where facility maintenance is used. Facility maintenance programs are adaptable to various industrial needs. More importantly, the objectives of the maintenance programs should be aligned with the needs of the specific facility, environment, or setting. Here is a quick overview of facility maintenance depending on the setting:

  • Industrial Plants: Maintenance is critical for the continuous operation of machinery and systems, minimizing downtime and ensuring safety.
  • Office Buildings: Ensures that heating, cooling, lighting, and other systems function efficiently to provide a comfortable working environment.
  • Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities: Maintenance is vital for the reliability of medical devices, general facility operations, and compliance with stringent health standards.
  • Educational Institutions: Keeps facilities safe and operational for students and staff, covering everything from classrooms to sports facilities.
  • Retail and Hospitality: Ensures that properties are attractive, functional, and safe for customers, which is crucial for business success.

Facility Maintenance Checklist

Checklists are helpful in maintaining a standard and consistent process when conducting facility maintenance and management audits or inspections. To ensure a comprehensive and holistic approach to facilities maintenance, the checklist should cover the following:

Building Exterior Inspect roofs, walls, foundations, and drainage systems. Look for signs of damage like cracks, leaks, or blockages that might need repair.
Building Interior Check ceilings, walls, flooring, and windows. Ensure that all doors and emergency exits are functional and comply with safety standards.
HVAC Systems Check filters, belts, and electrical connections. Schedule professional servicing for tasks like duct cleaning and refrigerant level checks.
Electrical Systems Inspect panels, circuits, and wiring. Look for signs of wear or damage and test backup generators.
Plumbing and Water Systems Check for leaks, inspect pipes, test water quality, and ensure that all fixtures are in good working condition.
Safety Equipment Test smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and emergency lighting. Ensure all safety signage is visible and legible.
Elevators and Escalators Conduct regular safety checks and maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.
Landscaping and Parking Area Maintain landscaping, clear debris, and ensure that parking areas are safe and well-marked.
Pest Control Regularly inspect for signs of pests and schedule treatments as needed.
Compliance Audits  Regularly review maintenance practices to ensure they comply with all applicable regulations and standards.

What is Facility Maintenance Software?

Facility Maintenance Software, often part of a broader Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), is a digital tool designed to streamline all aspects of maintenance management. This software helps facility managers organize, plan, track, and optimize maintenance activities and resources. It typically includes features for scheduling preventive maintenance, managing work orders, tracking inventory, recording asset history, and analyzing maintenance data. The software can be customized to suit the specific needs of different types of facilities, from manufacturing plants to office buildings.

The use of facility maintenance software has several advantages:

  • Improved Organization and Planning: Facility maintenance software provides a centralized platform where all maintenance information is stored and easily accessible. This improves planning and coordination of maintenance activities.
  • Enhanced Efficiency: Automating routine tasks like scheduling and work order management reduces the time and effort required to maintain records manually, increasing overall operational efficiency.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: The software provides analytics tools that help managers make informed decisions based on trends and data insights, such as the most common types of repairs or the cost-effectiveness of preventive vs. reactive maintenance.
  • Reduced Downtime and Costs: By facilitating preventive maintenance and swiftly addressing issues, the software helps reduce downtime and the associated costs of unplanned maintenance and equipment failures.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Helps ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations by keeping detailed records of maintenance activities and providing reminders for necessary checks and inspections.
  • Scalability: As the facility's needs grow and change, the software can adapt, adding new modules or functions to handle increased demands or additional types of maintenance activities.

However, integrating facility maintenance software can be complex. Before integrating a software solution, assess your facility's specific needs. Consider factors like the size of your facility, the complexity of your operations, and the types of maintenance tasks you perform most often. Also, select a software that best fits your needs. Look for features like ease of use, mobile accessibility, customization options, and the ability to integrate with other systems.

Once that is settled, it is crucial to develop a clear implementation plan that includes setting up the software, migrating existing data, and configuring settings to match your operational requirements. More importantly, ensure that all users receive thorough training on how to use the new software. Before rolling out the software across your entire operation, consider starting with a pilot program in one part of your facility to allow you to identify any issues and make adjustments before a full-scale implementation.

Like any other system, facility maintenance software needs regular updates and maintenance to function optimally. Set a schedule for checking software updates and perform regular backups of your data. After implementation, regularly collect feedback from users and analyze software performance. Use this information to refine your processes and make improvements where necessary.



Who is responsible for keeping facilities clean?

Facility cleaning is typically the responsibility of custodial staff. However, overall responsibility may fall under facility managers who oversee these operations and ensure standards are met.

What does facility management mean?

Facility management involves the coordination of a facility's operations and maintenance to ensure functionality, comfort, safety, and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, and technology.

Why are preventative maintenance and routine inspections an important part of facility management?

Preventative maintenance and routine inspections help avoid equipment failures and extend asset life, ensuring operational continuity and safety while reducing unexpected repair costs.

What is an example of facility maintenance?

An example of facility maintenance is the regular inspection and cleaning of an HVAC system to ensure it operates efficiently and to prevent breakdowns.

Why are checklists important in facility planning?

Checklists are crucial in facility planning as they ensure all necessary tasks are completed, help maintain consistency in operations, enhance safety compliance, and facilitate thorough inspections.

How can you determine the success of facility management?

The success of facility management can be determined by reduced operational costs, increased lifespan of assets, compliance with safety regulations, minimal downtime, and positive feedback from occupants regarding the facility's condition and functionality.

TRADESAFE is an established American-owned and based company trusted for industrial safety supplies and equipment. We offer Lockout Tagout Devices, Eye Wash Stations, and more; all precision-engineered to enhance workplace safety.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


Shop Tradesafe Products

Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.