This level of care for all systems and equipment is usually not sustainable for entire facilities
because of budgetary restraints. However, the
inability to implement it fully does not mean that
proactive maintenance is not a responsible option
for your facility – it just means that you need to
be careful and judicious when selecting what is
covered under a proactive maintenance plan.
Therefore, the decision-making process behind
proactive maintenance should be based on assess-
ing the financial ramifications of a particular sys-
tem or piece of equipment not working properly.
“What you’re really doing with a proactive
maintenance program is managing risk,” explains
Stack. “These unplanned maintenance items can
crush a facility’s budget vs. being proactive, bud-
geting and spending a fraction of that breakdown
While you might find comparable results from
similar proactive maintenance plans, results
are truly dependent on the specific attributes
of individual buildings. What may work well in
one building might cause unnecessary costs in
“It’s a different impact based on different applications, but in the end you make a determination
to the degree you want to prevent unplanned
failures of that piece of equipment,” says Stack.
“Then you develop a proactive maintenance
strategy to manage those risks of downtime or
SOMETIMES FACILITY MANAGERS can get away with performing some
maintenance with in-house staff like changing filters in simpler HVAC
systems. However, proactive maintenance leaves you less vulnerable if
something catastrophic happens.
1A reactive maintenance plan essentially takes care of issues as they arise with
a “run-to-failure” approach.
While this theoretically keeps
scheduled maintenance costs
to a minimum, it can prove
to be costly when equipment
actually does fail. Revenue and
productivity can be cut significantly with extended periods
of downtime, and it can eventually cost more for maintenance with a more immediate
demand for labor and parts.
2A preventive maintenance plan works specifically with
time-based intervals determining maintenance and service
to equipment. This mode is
intended to perform service
before equipment begins to
wear, but it can be fairly inaccurate and cost more. If performed too often, equipment
will be replaced while it’s still
The 4 Modes of Maintenance
3A predictive main- tenance plan relies on determining when
equipment will wear out,
rather than using time intervals. This will typically be a
more affordable route compared to the previous modes
because it decreases downtime while optimizing the
usefulness of equipment.
4A proactive mainte- nance plan combines components of the
previous approaches to
maintenance by focusing
on root causes that lead to
equipment wear and failure.
This approach prolongs the
lifetime of equipment while
also preventing redundancy
in repairs for things that
don’t need it.