Following conversations with several clients over the past few months, I’ve given a lot of thought to the importance of planned maintenance programmes, especially given the increasing need for efficient use of natural and human resources, reduction of waste, value for money, and energy efficiency of our built environment.  

What is a Planned Maintenance Programme?

Maintenance is essential to reduce degradation of buildings and prevent unnecessary damage, ensure they operate at optimum efficiency, protect the health and safety of occupants and those in the vicinity, and ensure continued compliance with statutory requirements.

It can inform plans for new buildings; determining the causes of defects can help prevent re-occurrence or repetition.

Very broadly, maintenance can be:

  1. Reactive maintenance (to repair something faulty)
  2. Planned preventive maintenance (scheduled and can prevent damage from occurring)

‘Planned preventative maintenance’ (PPM), the second of these maintenance approaches, is a type of asset management strategy. The RICS defines it as the intention to “ensure buildings and their components function adequately, preserve the value of the building, satisfy legal obligations and achieve best value in terms of built assets during the occupancy phase of the building”.

What are the benefits?

PPM has the advantage of enabling more proactive approach to maintenance and helps prevent small issues from becoming larger issues at a later date.

Other key benefits of a planned maintenance programme strategy include:

  • Maximised returns on property investment
  • Maintaining asset value as much as possible
  • Evenly distributed and (more) predictable costs
  • Ensuring that capital and revenue funding is effectively prioritied and utilised
  • Improved tenant satisfaction
  • Delivering projects effectively and efficiently
  • Effective utilisation of resources
  • Continuous improvement through performance management

Reactive work can be inefficient, costly, and (from my own professional experience) result in catastrophic failures such as water ingress or critical structural damage.

A comprehensive PMP also works well alongside a ‘life-cycle cost’ approach to building projects. Together these systems allow critical decisions to be made relating to longer-term and capital costs that ultimately affect asset performance, longevity, disaster resilience and sustainability.

Why the reservations?

Reservations about instructing a planned maintenance programme range from ‘do we really need it?’, through to tension between technical advice and the budgets and service charge levels demanded by commercial and residential occupiers.

Historically some clients have been reluctant to plan a reserve fund for planned maintenance, preferring to rely on warranties and the latent defects period. I firmly believe however that a forward thinking approach is vital to inform future internal budgets and continually improve project specifications and performance.

For organisations with tenants, unless there is adequate planning, lessees can find that expensive projects such as lift replacements are necessary but that they lack adequate reserves to cover them.

In summary

By adopting a Planned Maintenance Programme and requiring project stakeholders to work to these transparent standards, public and private-sector property owners and managers can set up reliable project budgets, better monitor the financial health of projects and ensure value for money is demonstrated over the life of their assets.

The image below is from our National Grid project, for which we are commissioned to manage a facilities audit programme covering 35 sites per year. More information can be found here:

Pick Everard's Building Surveyors support a diverse range of clients with asset and stock mangement programmes. Contact Abigail Blumzon, Client Project Delivery Advisor on 0345 045 0050 or to find out more and discuss how we can support you in developing or implementing your planned maintenance programme.