Maintenance costs can make up a significant portion of a facility budget. As such, some facilities teams are often hesitant to spend dollars on preventive maintenance measures that they may see as unnecessary, and sometimes the standard is typically to wait until an actual problem rears its head to address it.
While this pattern of deferred maintenance may enable districts to hang on to a bit more money in the short term, over longer periods of time such decisions can come back to haunt administrators in a big way. Facility managers need to understand the risks and costs associated with relying solely on corrective maintenance, and understand the benefits that proper preventive measures can provide.
The danger of deferring maintenance
Nobody enjoys paying money, especially when it doesn't seem to be immediately necessary. However, what may look like saving money is actually more often than not just putting off an even greater expenditure until later. According to data from SchoolDude, putting off regular preventive maintenance can negatively impact and shorten the lifespan of a facility's equipment. This exponentially increases the risk of breakdown and the need for emergency repair or replacement, both of which are substantially more costly than taking a more proactive approach. In fact, a SchoolDude report found that saving $1 today can lead to having to spend $4 tomorrow in emergency repairs.
A forward-looking approach
The good news is that these costs can be kept somewhat under control with a bit of foresight and a reliable preventive maintenance schedule. One possible strategy is to devise a lifecycle model for essential facility equipment, such as boilers and chillers. As SchoolDude noted, this proactive approach involves collecting data on equipment performance - a CMMS or other facility management system is a huge benefit in this regard - and using this information to model the usage patterns of on-site machinery. These projections can be used to more accurately predict potential maintenance concerns before they develop. Not only can this help stave off the inflated cost of reactive maintenance strategies, it can also make your preventive efforts more efficient, saving you even more money up front.
If you constantly feel like you're playing catch-up with your repair schedule and budget, it's likely because you've been approaching maintenance from a reactive position. The key to preserving both dollars and the longevity of essential equipment is to trade this in for a proactive repair plan. Facilities teams that are willing to spend money now will find themselves saving even more later.