By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

Does your business have a facility maintenance plan? It’s something any enterprise needs to consider, especially with the cost of facilities appearing on the balance sheet. A facility maintenance plan not only helps companies budget and manage costs associated with facilities, it paints a clear picture for the condition, care, and considerations of a building’s essential systems.

A well-drafted facility management plan is a valuable tool in anticipating and reacting to the needs of a building and the demands of its occupants.

What is a facility maintenance plan?

A facility maintenance plan—also called a facilities operation plan (FOP)—is a comprehensive overview of the systems that govern your facilities and the practices for keeping it running. It’s designed to be comprehensive—from scheduled HVAC checkups to long-term life-cycle planning and capital improvements. If there’s ever a question of facilities upkeep, it’s answered in the facility maintenance plan.

With something so comprehensive, a simple question springs to mind. How do you draft a maintenance plan? The simplest way is to understand the vital components of such a plan and address them, and to expand the plan over time as new and larger facilities needs come into focus. Here’s how.

Define the building’s vital systems

What should a maintenance plan include? Consider every vital part of your facilities. If it needs upkeep in any way, it goes in the plan! Vital facilities systems can include the following:

  • Heating, cooling, and ventilation
  • Fire safety systems
  • Plumbing
  • Lighting
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Landscape
  • Janitorial

The purpose for identifying these systems comes in breaking down the level of upkeep they need. Consider each system its own chapter in the broader facility maintenance plan. The purpose of each section is to ascribe a complete maintenance approach for that specific system.

Identify maintenance needs

With every essential aspect of facilities delineated in the plan, facilities managers will drill down to identify upkeep and maintenance needs. Ideally, this will be a comprehensive drill-down, covering everything from routine maintenance requirements to scheduled services outlined in vendor service-level agreements (SLAs). Identifying maintenance needs for every system has two advantages.

First, it provides a comprehensive overview of each system specifically. For example, a facility manager can plan ahead for different facets of HVAC preventive maintenance and stay on top of best practices.

Second, to provide a cumulative look at monthly or annual facilities demands, to give real estate managers a broader picture of things like spending, upkeep demands, and other insights used for high-level decision-making involving facilities.

Budget and life cycle planning

With a clear understanding of essential maintenance required to keep facilities running comes an understanding of the cost of facilities management. What is the annual cost of HVAC maintenance? How much do you need to spend on landscaping in summer vs. fall? What unexpected facilities expenses have you had this year, outside of projected costs? All these questions become clearer when you can attach a dollar figure to different facets of facilities upkeep.

As part of future cost calculation, life cycle planning also comes into focus. For example, your building’s boiler system might be 20 years old and wildly inefficient. You know, based on the upkeep schedule, that it only has a few more years left before the total cost of ownership becomes more expensive than a new investment. You can budget the cost of a new boiler months (even years) ahead of time, to replace the antiquated option before it fails and incurs even more costs.

Coordinate and delegate maintenance

With systems and upkeep demands defined and budgeted, the last role of a facility maintenance plan is to coordinate and delegate maintenance. Who’s doing the work? Each section will outline the in-house process, vendor, or other responsible party for each facet of the building and each maintenance task.

In-house duties might be the function of a particular department or a specific craftsperson. Vendor delegations usually reference an SLA or agreed-upon services or costs. If you’re leasing the building from an owner, the landlord may be responsible for some duties. The facility maintenance plan will ensure that every aspect of building upkeep has someone attached to it, so nothing falls through the cracks.

Data is changing facility maintenance 

A facility maintenance plan is a living document and one that’s growing more robust as data becomes central to facilities management. For many large companies, maintenance plans are now beginning to incorporate digital twins, enterprise asset management (EAM) data, Internet of Things (IoT) insights, and other data used to fuel better decision-making. It adds up to a more informed approach to facility management.

Facility maintenance plans are worth the investment of time and energy because they help facilities managers predict the future. You can’t always tell when X, Y, or Z will happen, but a good plan will ensure a proactive strategy for preventing problems, funding improvements, and enhancing facilities.

Keep reading: Operation and Maintenance Plans for Buildings

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Jonathan writes about asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions in his role as a digital content creator at Eptura. He covers trends across industries, including fleet, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality, with a focus on delivering thought leadership with actionable insights. Earlier in his career, he wrote textbooks, edited NPC dialogue for video games, and taught English as a foreign language. He hold a master's degree in journalism.