Devising an Ideal Building Maintenance Strategy: Predictive Maintenance vs. Reactive Maintenance

Building maintenance strategy

Among all the important aspects of building management, the most crucial one is maintenance. Keeping the buildings, no matter the type, up and running with minimum unplanned downtime is the goal of every building maintenance strategy squad. However, to achieve those levels of efficiency, we need to maintain the building assets in such a way that we identify and solve a problem before it takes down our operations. Now the question is how best to do that.

The digital revolution has reached the real estate and construction sector. As a result, buildings are becoming more and more connected, thereby increasing the importance of collection and analysis of building data. Whether you wish to enhance productivity, to ensure the comfort of occupant, or to simply improve operational and energy efficiency, building automation systems enable you to connect, monitor and operate your facility effortlessly.

A building’s overall productive capacity is clearly defined by the maintenance strategies it employs. In general, building maintenance strategy falls into two categories: predictive and reactive.

What is reactive maintenance?

Reactive maintenance, also referred to as a run-to-failure strategy, focuses on asset’s repairs only once a failure occurs. This mentality has wedged many organizations between a rock and a hard place at one point or another. As the name suggests, a run-to-failure strategy aims to use an asset until it shuts down. Repairs are then made, attempting to bring the asset back to its working condition. Typically no maintenance is carried out between failures unless a maintenance manager or technician happens to detect a need for it.

Key features of reactive maintenance:

  • Perceived lower costs – Since you are only reacting to a problem, there is nothing to do before an issue arises. As long as there is a point of contact and the relevant service providers are readily available, lower costs are involved in this approach.
  • Limited personnel requirement – This approach involves limited personnel to manage a portfolio, all thanks to the reduced planning, organization time, and management.
  • Reduced maintenance costs – This approach resonates with a ‘run to failure’ concept, where an asset is used to its maximum potential without spending any further amount on long-term repairs. Usually, quick fixes or temporary repairs are completed to cut down any ongoing maintenance cost and spend only when needed.

When does this maintenance strategy make sense?

Reactive maintenance focuses on restoring asset back to normal operation after a breakdown. To do that, you repair or replace faulty components and parts. So when does this maintenance strategy make sense? Let’s take an example from your home: changing a light bulb. Only if the failure doesn’t affect any high-value assets in the buildings, reactive maintenance makes sense.

This approach may seem like an affordable strategy as no investment in maintenance is made.  However, in the long run, you will spend far more money and resources than necessary. Any unplanned repairs are far more complicated than changing a light bulb. If you haven’t invested enough to maintain an asset, a breakdown will result in downtime, lost production, and safety and environmental risks. Such costs add up rapidly, way more than what you would have spent on predictive maintenance. As per the findings of the Marshall Institute, reports suggest that you’ll pay two to five times as much as you would have if you’d performed predictive maintenance. 

What is predictive maintenance?

predictive maintenance for buildings

Predictive maintenance, similar to a condition-based maintenance approach, monitors the efficiency of an asset based on the data collected by meticulous observation and use of specialist tools. The information is then sent via predictive algorithms to ascertain trends which help identify the need for asset’s repair or replacement. This approach ensures that the asset shuts down only before inevitable failure. This predictability and asset visibility lower the overall amount of downtime, increase the lifespan of an asset, and reduce maintenance overheads.

Key features of predictive maintenance:

  • Extends the functional life of an asset by reducing the need for replacements or repairs.
  • Optimizes the asset’s efficiency, reduces energy costs, and increases operating team accountability and transparency.
  • Leads to fewer machine breakdowns/outages, thereby lessening the frequency of large-scale repairs.
  • Reduces disruption to operating schedules and production, as the planned work is carried out during downtime or slower periods of the year.
  • Improves budget control as the planning, sourcing, and purchasing of spare parts and labour are done in advance.
  • Ensures compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Improves customer service and increases satisfaction via timely, continuous, and efficient operations.

With predictive maintenance, sensors accumulate significant, real-time data based on the condition of the asset. This information is further stored in a safe, encrypted cloud-based network that can be accessed at any point in time. Data from these sensors is then used to determine when the maintenance activity should be performed.

Predictive maintenance, sensors accumulate significant, real-time data based on the condition of the asset. This information is further stored in a safe, encrypted cloud-based network that can be accessed at any point in time. Data from these sensors is then used to determine when the maintenance activity should be performed.

To minimize disruption, this type of maintenance can be executed while equipment is in operational mode. Without needing manual routine check-ups, the machine-to-human communication and data analytics can provide you with the relevant insights into the performance levels of the asset. 

Technology and Building Maintenance Strategy

There is no doubt that technology has surely disrupted the maintenance industry. A technology which you can’t overlook is the Internet of Things (IoT). From the perspective of building maintenance implications, the IoT uses connected devices and sensors to easily track control machines and key performance indicators (KPIs). We are, then, left with access to precise, real-time data, which helps us make the smartest maintenance decisions.

Moreover, the IoT has the potential to completely transform the maintenance industry via a predictive approach. As an instance, with the help of IoT sensors and data collection, maintenance folks can better predict when a breakdown is most likely to occur. Such predictions are based on historic reports and preceding service requests.

So, are you ready to integrate the IoT into your building maintenance strategy? With a unique mix of expertise, technology, and strategies you can surely enhance your building performance with the power of data and subsequently, create the perfect place to achieve your business goals.

An ideal building maintenance strategy: predictive vs. reactive maintenance

Reactive vs. predictive building maintenance

A choice for predictive maintenance can make a significant impact on your profit and loss, as it leads to increased uptime, constant improvement to workflows, and reduced expenditure on needless repairs and replacements. A more predictive maintenance approach means less asset downtime, less emergency work requests, and better budgeting. On the other hand, reactive approach attracts higher maintenance costs, unplanned downtime, loss of production, and potential damage to the asset. Considering the pros and cons of both strategies, it is evident that predictive maintenance is an ideal building maintenance strategy.

How Smart Plants can help?

Smart Plants simplifies your everyday building infrastructure management. ClevAir, a business automation system from Smart Plants, transforms your buildings into smart ones. Unlike a typical building management system which requires the equipment to be replaced and installed, ClevAir is a ‘plug and play’ unit which comes pre-programmed and is equipped with plugs for an easy installation. Once installed, the software will itself take care of the system without manual intervention.

You can install ClevAir onto your legacy systems (not older than 25 years). Since the technology is fully scalable, it provides you with real-time insight into your buildings that can be accessed from anywhere, no matter the time of the day. You can remotely monitor, control and manage your building system from your computer or mobile device.

ClevAir works on the predictive approach and offers the following advantages:

  • Can be installed on even 25-year old legacy systems.
  • Enables real-time monitoring of your building(s), 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, from any computer or mobile device.
  • Keeps your critical environment in regulatory compliance and remotely manages climate settings including humidity, temperature, and CO2 levels.
  • Reports and repairs fault in advance to ensure cost-effective compliance for your buildings.

Another convenient feature of ClevAir is that it adds a new level of monitoring and control. If the system encounters any issues, you or your service provider gets notified immediately. The service technician can then easily troubleshoot the problem and solve it with the analysis of historic records presented in the building management system. Since you can manage the system operations remotely, counselling from service providers has become much easier.

So, think beyond reactive maintenance. As they say, it is better to prevent than to react!

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