Dan Hounsell: Planning for Unexpected Maintenance
Technology keeps advancing, and more data than ever pours into maintenance and engineering departments. Driven by these developments, managers use every tactic they can think of to move their departments toward preventive and predictive maintenance.
Their pursuit is understandable. New developments in institutional and commercial facility management are designed to give managers and their staffs the diagnostic tools and real-time data that are essential in creating a culture of preventive and predictive maintenance that many managers have sought for so long.
For all of the benefits of these approaches to building maintenance, though, managers would be smart to remember where they came from — or maybe more accurately, where maintenance came from.
Not all that long ago, the dominant approach to maintenance was to react. If something in a facility broke — generally, at the worst possible time — an occupant called in the problem, and a maintenance technician fixed it. While the approach wasn’t efficient or cost-effective, it was practical and effective.
Sure, today’s technology and databases enable managers to deploy technicians in ways that predict and prevent expensive breakdowns. But despite the best efforts of product manufacturers, managers and technicians, things fall apart. Roofs leak, HVAC components break down, drains clog and electrical systems hiccup unexpectedly.
Managers who devote time, funds and staff to preventive and predictive maintenance are making smart moves that deliver proven results. Managers who also devote at least some resources to reactive maintenance understand that planning for unexpected crises is just as smart.