The old saying goes ‘prevention is better than the cure’. And while this mantra is inherent within health and social care, as Ben Tiffany, M&E Director at Sigma suggests, it is a fundamental principle that should remain central to modern FM maintenance strategies.

It is common knowledge that poor unplanned maintenance strategies have the potential to substantially decrease productivity, cause major disruption to business operations, increase the costs of parts and call out fees and, in turn, swell maintenance expenses and negatively impact on a company’s bottom line. Planned maintenance, conversely, is much more cost-effective than emergency maintenance.

But in fi nancial terms, just how much of a sway can it have? To put it into perspective, 81% of retailers experience downtime at least once a year, amounting to substantial costs.

Furthermore, the fusion of clicks with bricks in industries such as retail – and the subsequent adoption of increasingly advanced technologies and digital systems – has naturally expanded the requirements for FMs when it comes to maintenance.

While traditional assets such as lighting, HVAC systems, data and communications, fi re and security systems, and signage, remain fundamental to maintenance strategies, the introduction of advanced systems such as digital POS and displays, contactless collection points, and cashier- less technologies, to name a few, means the responsibility that falls on the maintenance planner’s shoulders is arguably greater than ever before.

The positive news for today’s FMs is the increasing availability of intelligent technological platforms, designed to optimise remote monitoring of assets and maintenance requirements, have made it increasingly possible to minimise both the potentially detrimental effects and costs of both planned and, perhaps most crucially, unplanned downtime.

A transition from fi refi ghting

to prevention Well managed and carefully planned preventative maintenance works well for the majority of organisations as it means works can be scheduled far in advance. And when paired with reactive works in the same location, it can create greater effi ciencies. Not only this, but it also offers innumerable benefi ts to companies on top of reducing unplanned downtime.

Logically in any industry, the need to protect the bottom line and keep maintenance costs to a minimum is paramount, and it is in this regard that planned maintenance can be highly advantageous. By detailing a comprehensive preventive maintenance plan, seemingly insignifi cant problems and easy repairs can be identifi ed and rectifi ed before they turn into major failures and costly repairs.


Through the careful planning of maintenance including; identifying problems and creating work orders, inspecting premises where work will be performed, and detailing what materials, tools, tasks, and services are required to solve a problem, building and asset life can be increased substantially. Regularly maintaining essential building fabric – be that roofi ng, decoration, windows or doors, amongst others ¬– and keeping it in good working order, will limit any reduction in asset value and impact positively on the user experience for visitors and staff alike.

By extension, moving away from a reactive building maintenance model to a planned model can offer advantages beyond simply limiting higher costs to replace fabric assets. Indeed, by ensuring all building fabric is in prime condition, and preventing minor building defects that can lead to more serious damage, organisations can create greater cost certainty and budgetary control via future planning, while also ensuring compliance with health and safety and insurance policies.

Undertaking building maintenance to keep facilities and key assets in good condition and operationally fi t for purpose, can signifi cantly decrease downtime. Left unattended, any asset will eventually fail. Regular building fabric maintenance can ensure your building is operating at its peak effi ciency at all times, preventing any interruptions to entire working processes and the resultant highly costly operational downtime. While at the same time mitigating the health and safety risks that can result from improper building maintenance, such as trip or fall hazards.

How to improve planned

maintenance strategies While many maintenance departments and FM teams have procedures in place, there is always room to improve existing planned maintenance processes. The road to more effective strategies fundamentally involves moving away from largely reactive (fi refi ghting) mindset when it comes to maintenance, and improving overall effi ciencies.

A well-executed preventive maintenance plan can make planning much more straightforward. The result is more time to identify and source required materials, ensure you have the necessary skillsets in-house to perform maintenance, and make sure work is carried out on a more calculated basis.

Of course, any maintenance planning strategy is only as good as the information and data that drives it. Incident reporting must be as up-to-date as possible, with personnel across all departments encouraged to report

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