When you ask the average person to give a definition of preventive maintenance, most will respond with regular oil changes for a vehicle and describe the other things they check on a monthly basis. Surprisingly, when you ask someone who is a facility manager the same question, more often than not, you will receive a similar answer of changing filters in HVAC equipment, lubricating pumps, motors, cleaning, and inspecting equipment.
Although the above is a description of the work associated with preventive maintenance, it is not the definition. The definition, as it relates to a building or structure is “The systematic attention and analysis applied in equal and economic amounts to retard the rate of deterioration and to ensure proper functioning of physical facilities.”
A proper program will significantly reduce the rate of deterioration of the total system envelope, will extend the life expectancy of equipment, and reduce utility costs. However, where most programs fall short is the person only focuses on building equipment and does not include roof curb maintenance and inspections, ductwork inspections, inspect exterior insulation for signs of deterioration, or moisture infiltration, or the air distribution.
The average facility also does not complete 100% of the scheduled monthly PMs, because of other perceived pressing issues. This can be resolved by reviewing how a preventive maintenance program is administered. For example, a mechanic is performing a monthly PM on an air handling Unit, and during the PM, he discovers a fan bearing making noise. The bearing is replaced, and two hours later, the PM card is signed off on. This method of performing a preventive maintenance program significantly increases the program cost.
A well-implemented preventive maintenance program consists of Adjustment, Testing, Cleaning, and Inspection. Should a mechanic discover repairs beyond these four items, the work must be performed under a regular or normal work orders versus under a PM work order. Even though the mechanic performs the work in conjunction with the PM work order, the PM for the piece of equipment should be completed, and the corrective repairs noted on a maintenance work order.
A facility manager must commit to the preventive maintenance program to ensure its success. Be prepared to listen to every excuse for not completing the monthly PMs, however, through diligence and patience after approximately ninety days, you will begin to notice a reduced amount of mechanical failures. During this time, the facility manager can begin to take on those special projects that have been put on hold due to not having the time, and will hit a home run every time with administration.