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What’s The Difference Between Reactive and Preventive Maintenance?




It’s almost always better to prevent, than to react – whether we’re talking about playing defense in basketball or maintenance in buildings.

But when comes to maintenance, how many FMs truly know the what it takes to perform preventive maintenance, as opposed to waiting until something looks like it might break soon, and then fixing it?

Noted sustainability guru Jim Newman, president of the Newman Consulting Group, explains the difference this way: “Reactive maintenance, unfortunately, is used as the standard by many building owners. Reactive maintenance says, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Not only is it the most expensive type of maintenance, it is also the most disruptive to efficient operation of the building system and the people in the building. Preventive maintenance, however, can save a lot of money. Pay attention to such things as when v-belts or bearings on fans just don’t sound right, or an escalator or elevator seems to be having issues. Fix it before it’s a more costly problem.”

Newman has written a terrific article for the December issue of Building Operating Management on how technology and financing mechanisms are both important when considering how to save energy. Of course, proper preventive maintenance is an important energy-saving step as well!

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on the how sustainability and resilience complement each other.

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