Maintenance problems are not always clear and never easy. It explains the reason developed societies are always exploring ways to improve the mechanism of maintenance. However, in this part of the world, it is still generally a struggle to sustain an acceptable level of maintenance despite huge expenditure on infrastructure.
In today’s global economic climate, facility managers have to constantly justify spending as senior management attempts to cut cost.
The starting point to develop any plan of action for maintenance that will be fit for purpose is to understand the need for it. To achieve this, it is crucial for FM practitioners to be aware and understand the basic elements of an infrastructure or facility and its components, and how they perform individually and interact with other materials to cause specific maintenance problems to occur.
Having understood the operational dynamics and elements of such materials or equipment, the next step is to evaluate the extent of any deterioration and determine whether to abandon, replace or repair the particular material or equipment in question.
Maintenance is required for many reasons. One reason is to extend the life of the facility and its support system. Another is to ensure the facility and its users are free from health and safety issues likely to result in damage or injury.
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Therefore, maintenance is a necessary aspect in the day-to-day life of a building or infrastructure and there are essentially three stages:
1) Planning and design stage: This stage provides an opportunity to save cost by planning and designing the building or infrastructure to be maintenance-efficient. Considerations relative to the scope of maintenance should always be present in the design process. The resources wastefully expended each year in the maintenance of facilities are due to improper design and planning is phenomenal.
2) Construction stage: The meticulous process and additional expenditure of designing maintenance efficient buildings or infrastructure are of no value if the materials and equipment are not assembled and installed properly. For this reason, the construction stage must be performed with the highest quality of workmanship to create a facility requiring a minimum level of maintenance.
Once construction begins, every stage and output should continually be observed as the work progresses so as to ensure proper installation and use of the highest quality of material. Best quality control and inspection process should be implemented to monitor construction progress.
3) Maintenance stage: This is the maintenance of the facility itself. It covers every aspect of the building or infrastructure including what can, for instance, be considered auxiliary to the facility such as sidewalks, landscaping, structural elements supporting it and other equipment which allows the building to be functional.
It is common practice to implement only the maintenance stage, making FM unnecessarily expensive. Incorporating the planning and design, and construction stages will surely make a difference in the life of the facility.
The narrative of the maintenance culture in our society can change for the better if all stakeholders in the FM sector strive to make it happen.
Infrastructure maintenance by Obileye