Facilities managers need to budget effectively and prepare for any unforeseen expenditures, says Karl Cundill.
Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) is essential to mitigate any unforeseen replacements of expensive assets while also safeguarding against operational disruptions.
However, PPM requires a whole-life approach to not only give operational continuity and peace of mind, but also extended asset lifespan. There are five steps to implementing PPM:
1. Know and understand your assets
This goes beyond simply knowing there is a fire or security system within the building; it’s about knowing when it was installed, when it was last checked and serviced, or if it complies with statutory standards. It also ncludes knowing what assets you’ve got and their location, putting an asset data register in place and ensuring said register is kept up to date.
2. Establish a PPM schedule – and make sure you execute it
Clarity on the service regime of each asset is essential. It’s then about ensuring the schedule is executed. Typically, this falls to either the in-house team or is outsourced to specialist suppliers. Although many think keeping services in-house is more affordable, this isn’t always the case.
The best approach is to consider the skills and capabilities held in-house and whether there are any suitably qualified in-house team members who have the capability to manage the tasks. However, if there is a lack of skills in-house, outsource it to the experts who know what they are doing and use the in-house team on tasks they can do – and do well.
3. Tailor specifications and standards
We often speak to facilities managers who are guided by the general maintenance standards for an asset as opposed to tailoring these standards to reflect the environment. For example, if standards outline an asset needs servicing annually, that is the minimum requirement.
However, an asset used more than the average amount would benefit from a greater frequency and level of servicing. Taking a tailored approach to specifications and standards is key.
4. Create a forward maintenance register
Having established the current condition and, therefore, what residual life is left, the forward maintenance register (FMR) can be created. This captures the remaining service life of each asset. An FMR could initially span five years and detail the maintenance required over this period. Or it could be developed further into a life cycle programme covering a 10, 15, or 20-year period.
5. Manage the life cycle programme
Developing a whole-life approach with a clearly identified life cycle replacement programme allows for timely budgeting of the capital renewal and replacement of assets at agreed intervals within the duration of the programme. In addition, you actively manage the life cycle programme to suit your establishment. For example, in a school or college setting time the replacement of assets during the summer holidays when facilities aren’t in use.
Alternatively, the programme can be timed to coincide with budget – for example, the start or end of a financial year. As long asis a clear structured programme is in place, which is managed on a continual basis, the assets will take care of themselves.
Remember: The time and cost to repair equipment that fails out of the blue is three to five times more expensive than the cost of making a planned repair of the same equipment prior to failure. Managing assets is key and saves significant sums of money.
Karl Cundill is a partner at LitmusFM
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