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What Is Preventive Maintenance? The True Definition

By implementing a preventive maintenance (PM) program, your facility will be on its way to higher efficiency, accuracy, and profitability in no time.


Preventive maintenance (also called “preventative maintenance”) is a systematic approach to building operations that aims to identify and correct equipment failures before they actually happen. Unlike reactive maintenance, which occurs when equipment has already broken down, preventive maintenance is a more proactive approach to keeping assets in optimal working order.

To perform preventive maintenance, a facilities team will conduct several types of routine check-ups on equipment. Procedures may include (but are not limited to) testing, inspections, part replacements, measurements, lubrication, tightening and adjustments of equipment. These procedures help facilities team stay on top of maintenance and deliver the right type of repairs when they are needed. Issues that are detected early can be fixed faster, which may extend the overall useful life of systems and equipment within a building.


With the right tools and resources, facility managers can use PM to transform the way they care for their buildings and grounds. Here are five reasons why adopting a preventive maintenance plan can benefit your facilities department and your organization as a whole.

Advantage #1: You’ll save money and waste less energy.

Costly repairs and replacements occur less often when equipment is maintained. While it’s nearly impossible to prevent all reactive maintenance, the likelihood of a major breakdown is minimal when a facilities department employs a preventive maintenance program. Regular maintenance can also lead to reduced energy bills. Equipment that works as expected is more likely to run efficiently and use less energy than unmaintained equipment.

Advantage #2: You’ll extend the useful life of critical equipment.

Boilers, HVAC systems, plumbing, air handling units and roofing are just a few examples of assets in a building that require consistent maintenance for optimal performance. Checking equipment regularly means they’ll last longer, since issues are spotted early and can be dealt with as needed. Equipment also remains in its best shape, therefore extending its useful lifetime.

Advantage #3: You’ll create a safer work environment for your team.

A majority of facility managers would agree that maintaining safety in their buildings is a top priority. A preventive maintenance plan can keep buildings safer and more secure. Equipment that meets safety standards is less likely to pose risk or cause serious harm to operators. With regular maintenance, dangerous and catastrophic equipment failures are reduced, making your facility a safer place for staff and occupants alike.

Advantage #4: You’ll significantly reduce unexpected disruptions and asset breakdowns.

Regular equipment checks mean you won’t be caught off guard if something goes wrong or breaks down. A preventive maintenance plan will indicate when parts need to be replaced. This means that there will be little-to-no unexpected downtime, since you’ll have replacement parts and service technicians on hand for timely repairs. Replacing parts before they are damaged also means there will be less wear-and-tear compared to machines that are serviced using run-to-failure maintenance.

Advantage #5: You’ll be able to plan ahead and budget for upcoming maintenance.

Following a maintenance schedule means you’ll be better prepared to stick to your department’s allocated budget. Repairs are planned in advance, so all costs associated with replacement parts and repair personnel are factored into the department’s budget. A preventive maintenance plan will also help you keep track of asset names, parts and contact information for repair personnel. As maintenance is performed throughout the year, you’ll know exactly what annual expenses to calculate for upcoming maintenance.

Article Provided By: Facility Executive

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