Building owners invest significant resources in environmental and building control systems. These systems can be costly to operate, yet essential for occupant comfort, productivity, and safety. Keeping systems operating at peak performance also reduces energy use and lowers utility costs, a growing concern for building owners worldwide.

Maintenance constitutes a significant percentage of expenses in most facilities, and is therefore worth optimizing. Maintenance costs consume nearly as much of a typical facility’s operating budget as utility costs and amount to more than one-third of the total operating expenses. The question is, where and why is this money spent – and can the amount be reduced while maintaining or improving building performance? To answer this question, first one needs to understand the different approaches used to manage facility maintenance.

There are several forms of building maintenance. Each of which is important to understand and utilize to reduce building management costs.

Reactive Maintenance

Despite the importance and expense of maintaining building efficiency, most building owners/operators rely on Reactive Maintenance programs to care for their equipment. This means they wait until equipment falters or fails completely before initiating corrective action.

This form of maintenance is acceptable for equipment with low costs, and low consequences of failure. Light bulbs are a classic example, costing very little to replace and diminished light having little impact on the critical operation on a facility. This form of maintenance is also acceptable when the cost of maintaining an asset is more costly then replacing it.

Preventive Maintenance

Slightly less than a third of building operators take a Preventive Maintenance approach, which means performing regular, prescheduled maintenance checks and repairs, whether they are needed or not. This approach yields better results but is still not optimal.

Predictive Maintenance

A more efficient way to incur minimal costs and achieve maximum availability is to implement service plans that use Predictive Maintenance based on the actual condition of equipment rather than a predetermined schedule. With this approach, equipment is maintained at a continuously high level of performance rather than waiting for something to fail.

In addition, a predictive approach can be used to prioritize repairs and maintenance so that the most important systems (as judged by the building owner/operator) are repaired first, ensuring the most effective return on investment (ROI).

Benefits of using Predictive Maintenance

Let’s take one of the most common equipment from a building: the elevators.

Some of the common elevator faults:

  • Traction machine: rotor misalignment, bearing faults
  • Pulley / sheave: eccentricity, groove wearing
  • Suspension system: stiffness lose, wearing
  • Guiding system: misalignment

The Solution? Predictive Maintenance.

Through Predictive Maintenance, key operating parameters of equipment are checked regularly by staff or monitored automatically by sensors and will have real time motor bearings vibration and temperature measurement, real time current measurement, motor temperature, speed of the lift, suspension health, guide rail health. All these readings are then analyzed and used to evaluate the condition of the equipment and predict the future performance or likelihood of failure.

The key to predictive maintenance is that equipment and system condition determines what maintenance is performed, rather than a preset schedule. This means that repairs are performed at the ideal time, resources are not wasted on unnecessary work, and equipment is maintained at a higher level of performance.

It has been shown that Predictive Maintenance can extend the lifetime of a building by several years. Other benefits include increased safety from properly maintained equipment, greater comfort and productivity for occupants, and better compliance with efficiency requirements.

A future of possibilities