Candidates should have a basic understanding of maintenance and make references to a case studies
This week’s question focuses on Maintenance Management (T053 Maintenance Management), the range of allowances that are available and poses a scenario at Level 3 to test the candidate’s ability to offer reasoned advice to a client.
Competency Level 1
The Question Please give me an overview of the general maintenance requirements of buildings, structures and other real estate.
Sample Response The candidate should seek to demonstrate a basic understanding of what building maintenance is and how a structured approach to the subject is taken. Key points to cover would include:
• What is maintenance management?
o The administrative, financial and technical process for assessing and planning maintenance operations on a scheduled basis.
• Why do we undertake maintenance in a managed way?
o To preserve the value and quality of the investment in the asset.
o To comply with lease obligations (if applicable).
o To reduce the unavailability period resulting from failures, to a level acceptable to the property occupier.
o To comply with a range of legal requirements that apply to the health and safety aspects of property related assets.
o An effective and pro active Maintenance Management regime is also imperative in ensuring organisations compliance with The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, which introduced a new offence across the UK for prosecuting companies and other organisations where there has been a gross failing, throughout the organisation, in the management of Health & Safety with fatal consequences.
• Elemental Approach - Any Building or Real Estate Asset is made of key elements or components e.g. structure, building fabric, windows and doors, M&E services etc. Each element has common repairs and maintenance requirements that occur in normal building operation due to wear and tear, time degradation, or to comply with statutory obligations, e.g. the replacement of light fittings or inspection of lifts ropes. Each of these requirements will have a general frequency of occurrence e.g. redecoration is every 6-8 years, lift rope inspection on an annual basis. Additionally there will be an economic life of particular items when it reaches a point where replacement / renewal becomes more effective than repair / maintenance especially when the cost of loss of use due to down time for repairs is taken into account.
• Operational Interface - One of the key factors in considering maintenance requirements is an understanding of the operational requirements of the building’s occupiers and their tolerance to accept down time should a component of the building fail. For example, a single light bulb failure in the reception is inconvenient, but the failure of an air conditioning system in a computer server room is business critical. There will be a defined range of acceptable working conditions for the facility e.g. general appearance, temperature, humidity, as well as defined working / operational hours e.g. 9-5 or 24x7. These factors will influence the level of maintenance needed to ensure the required standards or service levels are met. The operational use of the facility will also influence what opportunity there is to carry out the work and thus the cost of that work.
• Planned vs Reactive Maintenance - There is a distinction between ‘Planned Preventative Maintenance’ (PPM) and ‘Reactive Maintenance’. As the name suggest, the former is planned action that can be scheduled, budgeted and arranged to suit the operations of the building’s occupiers. The latter is “reacting” to unexpected breakdown, what needs to done to minimise disruption. A full programme of appropriate PPM actions should minimise or avoid unplanned failures.
• Maintenance Levels - There is an economic balance to be met between optimising the cost of maintenance versus any losses to the business that might occur by disruption (e.g. lack of power) or effects on productivity (e.g. lack of heating in winter). There needs to be a continuous assessment of essential repairs and where necessary, the preparation of a business case to support proposed actions or adjustments to the level of maintenance. In specific cases, where interruptions can not be tolerated at all, the assets may be configures to provide redundancy to cater for failures and allow off line maintenance without interrupting supply. It should be noted that maintenance expenditure is a revenue expense and is not subject to the same tax advantages as a capital investment.
• Whole Life Costing - A key factor in any such business case will be to minimise the whole life costs of the asset. Each major investment decision should take into account the future costs of maintenance and other factors such as how the maintenance will affect energy use, user availability and asset life. By doing an in depth lifecycle evaluation, the long terms costs implications can be fairly assessed and robust decisions made.
• Outsourcing - A key economic consideration for some users is a comparison of ‘in house’ versus ‘contracted out’ maintenance. This is influenced by the size of the establishment (small buildings would not warrant having permanent staff) and the user’s approach to risk.
• Outsourcing Options - In terms of out sourcing maintenance works there are a wide spectrum of routes that could be chosen, depending on the size of the building and internal resources available. The most basic approach would be to place separate service contracts for every piece of work. This could be very time consuming to manage and co ordinate. The other extreme is to out source the entire operation, to a fully comprehensive contract, in some cases also transferring the maintenance fund risk, and using a help desk function to log problems and coordinate the response. Factors to be considered in such an evaluation include:
o Overall cost impact
o Response times (is there a target response time?)
o Operating hours (is 24 x 7 operation required?)
o Category of the space i.e. bank trading floor vs average 9-5 office
o Expectation of users
o Approach to risk
• Waste & Energy - One of the current hot topics in Building Maintenance is the avoidance of wasted energy or utilities, as every business is under pressure to reduce costs. Maintenance management has a key role to play in avoiding waste, from repairing leaking taps to ensuring temperature controls operate correctly and balancing the whole life cost of the facility.
• Health & Safety - Finally, a fundamental and essential part of managing the building maintenance function is to carry out any works safely. This involves knowledge of the relevant HSE legislation and undertaking out safety assessments for the activities where the risks to users, the maintenance operatives and the general public are assessed. This is particularly important when considering any element that could potentially cause injury e.g. Lifts or electrical appliances (There are specific Regulations that govern how these are inspected, to what frequency and by whom). Employing competent personnel is an important part of this process, whether internal staff or external contractors.
Competency Level 2
The Question Please describe a situation where you have been involved in managing and keeping up to date maintenance information to inform and implement operational maintenance policies.
Sample Response The candidate should demonstrate knowledge of the information required to manage maintenance activities making reference to a case study they have been involved in. Examples should be provided on how this information was used to inform or make decisions about maintenance or renewal options. Key points to cover would include:
• Professional Maintenance Management requires a high level of record keeping. Whilst records are generally a useful management tool, they are a legal requirement for some items (PAT testing for example). Maintenance managers should not underestimate the resources that this function will require and there are software systems available that assist with the task.
• The creation of a comprehensive asset database will assist in enabling PPM schedules to be developed. This in turn, enables resource planning and budgetary planning by identifying all essential work required over a given period. This process will also identify the discipline and skill / competency of resource required and allows a comprehensive set of Risk Assessment and Method Statements to be prepared for the PPM work.
• There are a range of ‘Computer Aided Facility Management’ software packages in the market that can be used to store all of the maintenance information and the list below (no particular order) provides a selection of those available.
o Planet FM (Qube)
o Concept (FSI Solutions)
o CAFM Explorer (FMx Ltd)
o Intellect Classic (Maxima)
The majority will offer core functions of Asset Database and PPM scheduler but the choice of solution is often made on the non core modules that may be need3e by the business, for example Help Desk functionality. The level and format of information required is also a factor to be taken into account. Like most software systems, FM software has been developed to suit specific applications or sectors (for example healthcare) and thus it is important to choose a system that matches the business needs and budget
• To determine the required maintenance details, particularly when there are building services, a complete set of Operational & Maintenance (O&M) manuals should be available and maintained. It is essential that any new equipment installed is supplied a full O&M Manual part of the Health & Safety File required under the CDM Regulations 2007.
• A key factor of maintenance information is keeping up to date with Health & Safety regulations, Codes of Practice and Guidance. These are constantly being updated and the maintenance function needs to be aware of the relevant legal obligations. One way of achieving this is via subscription to various information services. An important part of maintenance management is to inform decisions by the buildings users in terms of expenditure and / or communicate to the business their obligations.
• The candidate should also demonstrate the value of Stock Condition Surveys and backlog maintenance lists when preparing budgets.
Competency Level 3
The Question Please talk me through an example where you have provided reasoned advice to a client on maintenance requirements.
Sample Response The response here is based around a case study but the types of area to cover would include
• An example project / projects where clients have been advised verbally and in written reports and perhaps presentations of their corporate maintenance management requirements.
• Demonstration of a full understood and evaluation of the end user requirements. In the case of leased property, there is a distinction between the responsibilities of the tenants and the landlord which should be explained.
• Detail the background information provided by the client, as well as specifying any assumptions that were made and further information sought in order to make a sound judgement on the recommendations.
• Demonstrating how they identified all the key building elements that require maintenance action, determined what actions / works would be required over time and identifying the resource and potential costs. This should include explaining how the availability and the operational needs of the business affected the recommendations.
• Explaining the methodology used in any life cycle modelling and development of a long term budgetary approach for the Client.
• Where applicable to the example project, the Candidate should highlight the pro’s and con’s of out-sourcing the maintenance functions, taking into account the Client’s financial guidelines as well as advising on and choosing a suitable policy.
• Identification of key legislative requirements that had to be met by the client (again there is an interface between owner, tenant and landlord), both current and how forthcoming items would be dealt with.
• In terms of advising clients on the selection of CAFM software, the candidate should demonstrate that they have evaluated the Client’s business needs and provided a balanced review of which systems may match those requirements. The key to this response is to show a clear methodology of selection, rather than the exact solution itself.
• The candidate should demonstrate to the client, their obligations under relevant statutes.
• Through using of maintenance records, demonstration of the use of simple Root Cause and Trend Analysis techniques to illustrate how a client can more effectively control their assets availability periods.
Alastair Bloore is head of management consulting at consultant Cyril Sweett.
APC Trainer's advice is intended as guidance only and should not replace your own study.