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Should businesses adopt business focused maintenance and be moving away from strict fixed interval maintenance regimes?

How often does the maintenance of critical assets and locations appear on business risk registers?

Business focused maintenance provides a guide for businesses to follow to enable them to use their maintenance budgets more effectively and efficiently. Ensuring that the most critical assets are maintained as a priority to keep their business running smoothly, whilst the less critical assets are managed as well as possible within budget.

Rarely does one size fit all, so why do we insist on applying fixed interval maintenance regimes as the default standard? Does SFG20, the definitive standard for building maintenance, fit all circumstances if it’s applied rigidly to all assets and locations?

It’s unlikely that this solution can be appropriate for every asset, particularly those that are critical to business function where asset failure could have a significant detrimental impact on business continuity. Is a chilled water pump providing cooling to a vital production process more important than a pump delivering heating to an overdoor heater, for example?

Generally, maintenance is carried out as and when or through failure prevention schedules containing generic tasks and maintenance frequency. Creating these schedules without first knowing the criticality of your assets and whether those assets are critical for business continuity can have consequences. It can be costly to manage and cause disruption to the business if they fail and emergency repairs are needed.

Location and asset criticality need to be determined and ranked using risk-based analysis, and from this analysis, an appropriate level of maintenance can be applied to each asset and a more tailored maintenance schedule can be created. This strategy ensures that the right measures are put in place and reliability analysis is also used to ensure continuous improvement.

Risk-based analysis may involve the use of appropriate tools such as failure mode, effects and criticality analysisprofiling. End of life predictions and general asset usage also need to be calculated and included in this process, along with an understanding of its current condition and the average time between failure.

Assessment of the assets current condition may also lead to a condition-based maintenance (CBM) approach. This is a strategy which monitors the actual condition of the asset and highlights what maintenance needs to be done, and when, so that it can be proactively scheduled before it’s too late.

Once criticality of the asset has been established then the frequency of maintenance can be identified, along with any adjustments to tasks which take into account original equipment manufacturer recommendations and industry best-practice. Consideration should also be given to assessing current resilience of critical assets and enhancements where the risk of failure is at an unacceptable level.

The Building Services Research & Information Association (BSRIA) produced a useful guide on business-focused maintenance. From a business perspective, the application of business-focused maintenance has numerous advantages, including compliance with statutory, regulatory and business requirements, business risk mitigation and asset availability and uptime is improved.


About the author

John McCarthy is REAMS Asset Strategy Manager and a Member of the Institute of Asset Management with over 35 years’ experience in Mechanical & Electrical Services and Building Fabric elements. He is also holder of both the Diploma and Certificate in Asset Management awarded by the Institute of Asset Management. His wide-ranging understanding of statutory and regulatory requirements within the built environment and experience in criticality profiling of buildings, locations and services, is used to influence informed and insightful decisions around the three key components of asset management – cost, risk and performance.

Futher reading:

Business focused maintenance guide –

Asset management –

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