Quick Guide: Preventive Maintenance Programs


There are a lot of moving parts to maintaining multi-family buildings, the most crucial being the management of each of the systems, as major equipment failures threaten to put maintenance teams behind schedule and massively over budget. This is why preventive maintenance programs are so important.

Key in deterring equipment failures, preventive maintenance programs provide multi-family building residents safety and comfort.

What is a Preventive Maintenance Program?

A preventive maintenance program is a proactive strategy designed to ensure that over 50% of work time is spent on preventive tasks, like maintenance, repairs, and replacements; in turn, decreasing equipment failures and maximizing the uptime of all systems.

The strongest preventive maintenance programs are made of multiple parts including:

  • A clearly defined end-goal
  • An inventory of assets
  • A step-by-step procedure for maintenance tasks
  • A maintenance schedule for technicians to follow

Additionally, maintenance team leaders should create a list of the skills that each facility maintenance technician needs in order to best contribute to the program. Having a standard in place helps to ensure that all technicians remain up-to-date on their building maintenance training and education.

Implementing a Preventive Maintenance Program

Once you’ve decided to create a preventive maintenance program, start by breaking it down into actionable steps, and then focus on them one at a time. These five categories represent a popular breakdown strategy.

Create a plan

Before getting started it’s important to establish a goal that your preventive maintenance program will work to achieve. Make these goals actionable rather than vague. Choose numbers and percentages to work toward. For example, reducing costs by x% or downtime by x%.

Additionally, provide regular updates to your maintenance team as it could provide extra motivation to reach your overall goals.

Create an Inventory

Identify all machines, systems, and assets on which preventive maintenance will be performed. It’s important to keep this inventory in an easy-to-access format, such as a spreadsheet or an online database.

Rank Equipment

Once your inventory is created, rank elements according to their importance and/or priority. For example, electrical systems and their components should generally rank higher because electricity is used to power so many other appliances within the building.

Then, identify elements that require the most frequent maintenance, inspection or replacement. These items will be marked as high-priority and can be scheduled to receive more attention.

Develop Procedures

To develop procedures, decide what routine maintenance tasks will be required for each of the elements listed in the inventory above. For example, if you are performing preventive maintenance on a buildings plumbing system, explain what tasks should be carried out during each maintenance check, such as:

  • Inspect for leaks or blockages
  • Tighten or loosen valves as needed
  • Inspect and replace anode rods
  • Flush out sediments

It’s helpful to develop a method of tracking when these procedures are performed so they can be referenced later, if needed. Today, many building maintenance teams utilize computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) . Not only do they provide the ability to plan and schedule preventive maintenance programs, but they can also manage work orders, and automatically reorder parts by tracking inventory.

Create a Schedule

While developing procedures establishes a guide for maintenance technicians, creating a schedule is pivotal to ensuring preventive maintenance programs stay on track. Your preventive maintenance schedule should consist of two parts.

  1. Schedule maintenance tasks as needed for each element of the systems. This schedule should be determined by the average lifespans of each piece and any manufacturer guidelines.
  2. Schedule the members of your team on a rotation of systems. This method ensures that each piece of equipment will be inspected by fresh, new eyes that may catch something the former technician did not.

With that said, utilizing multiple technicians for each piece of equipment makes additional training even more important as they must be able to identify and fix any issues for a variety of systems, such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.

Results of Successful Preventive Maintenance Programs

By taking the right steps to develop a preventive maintenance program, you can ensure the longevity of all equipment within a multi-family building. Additionally, preventive maintenance can help to reduce costs as opposed to alternative options, like reactive maintenance (responding to emergencies when they occur) that can be 3 to 5 times more expensive.

Another area in which you will benefit is time. Facilities maintenance teams without a preventive program find themselves spending over 50% of their work hours responding to crises. Preventive maintenance is much more time and cost-efficient, as the number of emergencies will significantly decrease.

With that said, the most successful preventive maintenance programs are those carried out by skillful, knowledgeable, well-trained technicians. This is why it’s important to require your employees to pursue ongoing education and keep themselves informed about continually advancing technology.

Improve the Skills of Your Maintenance Team with SkillMill

A great way to ensure maximum efficiency with your preventive maintenance program is to provide ongoing training and education for your techs. With regular training, you can increase productivity, decrease downtime, and grow together as a team.

There’s no better option for training your facilities maintenance technicians than Interplay Learning’s one-of-a-kind SkillMill learning platform. Expert-designed, hands-on courses simplify complex theory, systems, and appliances to help your techs learn quickly. With an ever-expanding Multi-family facility maintenance course catalog , techs will have access to instructional videos and 3D simulations, to help them practice life-like field scenarios at any time, anywhere.