It’s no secret that excessive building maintenance costs can negatively impact your facility’s ability to generate revenue. Most of the time, excessive costs are caused by a manual approach to facilities management. As well as a reactive approach to building maintenance.
To overcome the costs and strains of high maintenance costs, facility managers should consider automating their operations with tools such as Facilities Management Software. This enables them to take a more planned approach to their maintenance activities.
Implementing preventive maintenance can have several benefits for your facility such as reducing costs by thousands of pounds each year, improving the physical environment for the people who work and live in your buildings, and increasing asset uptime.
In this guide:
Why Building Maintenance Is Essential for Facility Owners
Facilities management protocols are essential for property owners and facility managers. They allow your facility and plant assets to be kept in optimal working condition. As well as help to plan building layouts, maximise space management, and prioritise occupant safety.
Facilities management also incorporates various hard and soft FM tasks including cleaning, landscaping, and waste management. One of the most essential tasks associated with facility management is building maintenance.
There are several types of building maintenance approaches that a facility manager can incorporate. Some types provide time-saving and cost-effective benefits such as planned preventive maintenance (PPM) and routine maintenance. Whereas other types, such as reactive maintenance, can have the opposite effect.
Whatever approach you take, implementing a building maintenance plan has several cost-saving benefits, including:
- Saving on energy usage
- Minimising downtime of assets
- Reducing emergency repairs to equipment
The Challenges of a Reactive Building Maintenance Approach
Maintenance costs are something that must be factored into the facility management budget for any organisation that owns a building. However, if you take a reactive approach to maintenance and only arrange for repairs when something breaks, you may find that the budget you’ve set aside quickly becomes saturated.
Although a reactive maintenance approach can suit smaller operations that rely less on asset uptime, it is typically a strategy that can prove costly.
Higher Building Maintenance Costs
Maintenance costs for the facilities management sector are expected to rise by 21% over the next five years. Some of the most expensive costs you’ll come across relate to the physical structure of the building. These most often include roof maintenance and facility heating/air conditioning systems.
The roof is the most vulnerable part of your building, being subject to year-round weather conditions. It may also see high traffic if you rely on tradespeople to carry out services that require roof access. A leaky roof can mean damage to valuable contents inside, not to mention structural damage elsewhere.
Having a reactive maintenance plan means assets and infrastructure isn’t regularly checked. Meaning wear, tear, and minor repairs aren’t caught and acted upon before they fail completely. Resulting in high emergency repair costs that aren’t budgeted for.
Increased Equipment Downtime
In an office building, a roof in need of repair can cause chaos for workers. While a HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system breaking can result in the need to send staff home. Major repairs like these are costly to get fixed quickly and may cause significant downtime.
Without a proactive approach to maintenance, unplanned downtime of essential equipment is inevitable.
Dealing With Stress and Backlog
Reactive maintenance work can cause stress for maintenance technicians who find themselves under pressure to get the problem resolved quickly. Additionally, a reactive approach can mean a backlog in other less-important maintenance jobs, causing annoyance and frustration elsewhere among the people who use the facility.
Why Preventive Maintenance Is Key to Reducing Building Maintenance Costs
As well as saving money, moving to a preventative maintenance approach can help all team members do their jobs more effectively and involve much less stress all around.
Preventive maintenance means that reactive repairs are less likely to be needed. Take our roof example; By having your maintenance team inspect the roof a couple of times per year, potential issues can be spotted before a significant problem arises.
Basic maintenance can also be carried out by your own personnel, rather than a professional roofer, such as removing debris from the roof and unblocking drains.
Inspecting water pipes regularly is another example of where it pays to plan ahead. A leaking pipe, left unchecked, can cost businesses 1,000 litres of water an hour, equating to £26,000 over a year.
Proactive maintenance, in combination with asset lifecycle management, allows you to better understand when equipment, parts and systems need to be repaired or replaced. You can then plan for work to be undertaken at the least disruptive times and that the work is carried out cost-effectively.
For instance, if you know that the power-assisted revolving door at the building’s entrance is coming to the end of its useful life cycle, you can plan to replace it.
Part of preventive maintenance involves predictive testing and inspection. Predictive testing could include ultrasonic sound analysis to help spot leaks, infrared thermography scans to identify heat build-up in electrical equipment, oil analysis, and vibration analysis of parts.
Using Facilities Management Software to Reduce Building Maintenance Costs
Facilities management software helps you bring together a wide range of information including preventative maintenance workflows, asset tracking and lifecycle cost data, quotations and resource allocations.
All data is centralised and accessible by those who need to access it. This means not having to rely on multiple spreadsheets, emails, phone calls, or post-it notes to jot down facility-related maintenance issues.
Improve Workflow and Communication
With preventive maintenance in mind, facilities management software helps you keep in touch with all members of your team regarding work orders. The process of issuing, assigning and completing work orders is made much easier through one centralised system. All members of the team can log in and see what maintenance needs to be done, by whom and when.
Track Building Expenditure
CAFM software allows you to track any spending concerning building maintenance and repairs. This helps to avoid maintenance costs spiralling out of control and ensures important financial records are kept accurately. You can use this financial data for budget forecasting in the future.
Provides Detailed Reporting
Your facilities management software should have built-in reporting, allowing you to extract essential data when needed. For example, you can produce expenditure reports and see which facility assets are the most expensive to maintain. You can also calculate the true lifecycle cost of all the building’s assets. Using this data to inform decisions about whether to repair or replace equipment, parts or systems going forward.
Integrates With IoT Devices
Some facilities management software will integrate with IoT devices, such as temperature or occupancy sensors. Using data from such devices can help you identify building running costs elsewhere and find further savings. For example, an occupancy sensor would work out an exact occupancy rate and see which rooms are being used frequently. As a result, you can ensure that heating and lighting are used minimally in areas that aren’t commonly used.
According to EDF energy, the average UK firm could save a total of £46,316 per year by putting in place simple energy-efficient measures.
Reactive maintenance can equate to unnecessary expenditure, poor service and stress caused by work overload. Not to mention complaints from the people who work or live in your building. But, this can be avoided by moving to a preventative maintenance approach. This helps to reduce your building costs and lessens the chances of urgent, expensive repairs being needed.
A CAFM system can provide preventive maintenance schedules, track maintenance costs, and make decisions about facility-related assets in the future. It also helps your entire team become more organised and efficient by keeping data in one central place. Facilities management software can bring many benefits to your department.