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Maintenance Plan (Manual)
A guidebook containing specific itemized lists of instructions on how to keep each component of an asset in good working order.

A good maintenance plan provides guidance to the organization on the nine “W-questions” of assert management.

Content of a Maintenance Plan
For example, the maintenance plan indicates:
  • What:  The inventory of assets that must be maintained (such as roofs, windows, pumps, boilers, etc.)
  • How: The types of maintenance tasks (such as inspecting, cleaning, adjusting, re-aligning, lubricating, etc.)
  • When:  The intervals at which each asset is to be maintained (such as weekly, quarterly annually, etc.) Also called the maintenance schedule.
  • Who:  The skill levels required for each maintenance task.

Benefits of Maintenance Plan
The maintenance plan is intended to provide organized guidelines and instructions for preservation activities:

Levels of Maintenance Plans/Manuals
Building maintenance manuals come in many shapes and sizes. A four-tiered classification of maintenance manuals may be considered.
  • Level-1 Manual – The most rudimentary of manuals, which contain a package of manufacturer’s product data sheets, usually presented in a ring binder format.
  • Level-2 Manual - These maintenance manuals include the reference information in the Level-1 manual and also provide a summary table with itemized maintenance instructions for the more common routine maintenance tasks. 
  • Level-3 Manual - These maintenance manuals contain all the information in a Level 2 manual and also include recommended intervals (cycles) for the maintenance activities relative to the total service life of the asset.
  • Level-4 Manual - These manuals go a few steps further and provide advice on matters such as the methods of maintenance (use of hot vs. cold water), the skill levels of the persons required (contractor, owner, consultant) and may also attach an estimated cost for the individual activities.
The majority of the maintenance manuals in British Columbia since the passage of the regulations in 1999 fall into Level-2 and Level-3.

Process of Developing a Plan

The following table provides a summary of the key steps in developing a maintenance plan.

IDTasksLevel of Effort
1Validate the asset inventoryLow
2Determine which assets are currently covered under service agreements with 3rd partiesLow
3Arrange assets into classes using a standard such as Uniformat IILow
4Develop task checklists for each maintenance class (eg. cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, etc)
- sourced from manufacturers, etc.
5Determine appropriate intervals for each task (eg. nonthly, yearly)Medium
6Determine skills and resourcing requirements for each taskMedium
7Generate master table of tasks, intervals, resources, etcLow
8Generate analytics with pivot tables, such as:
Tasks by system
Tasks by asset
8Migrate table of source data into CMMS or other central data platform

History of Maintenance Plans 

In 1999 the government of British Columbia introduced legislation that mandated the provision of maintenance manuals as an integral part of the commissioning process on all new condominium developments and also upon the completion of certain types of large-scale asset rehabilitation and renewal projects. The legislation was the outcome of a commission of inquiry to determine why a statistically significant number of buildings had experienced premature failure of their building fašade and glazing systems – this was colloquially referred to as the “leaky condo crisis”. In addition to maintenance manuals, the new legislation created a homeowner protection office to help restore consumer confidence by providing various consumer protection services, including homeowner and builder education, builder/contractor registration, and programs to monitor minimum warranty standards.

In the 15 years since passage of the legislation, the author has been involved in the preparation, administration, and periodic updating of several hundred maintenance manuals. During this time the format and content of the manuals has gone through iterative changes to reflect emerging insight into how buildings owners and managers: 

  • perceive the efficacy of maintenance; 
  • manage long-range risk in a fluid marketplace with transitive ownership; 
  • apply minimal standards of care to preserve warranties; and 
  • seek prioritization strategies to implement maintenance with limited budgets.

During the early 2000s, the vast majority of the maintenance manuals “gathered dust on the shelf”. The owners and managers complained that the manuals were not user-friendly and indicated that the instructions in the manuals were impractical and did not adequately recognize their internal governance. An “us-versus-them” mentality had been entrenched in the condo community since it was believed that consultants were partially responsible for the premature failure of the building systems and now those same consultants were preparing manuals to guide the necessary and sufficient maintenance to preserve the warranties on the rehabilitated fašade and glazing systems.

Notwithstanding the political and psychological issues that have impacted the timeliness of some owner groups endorsing and embarking upon the challenging process of bridging their maintenance manuals into an effective maintenance program, there were also some significant technical challenges for the local engineering community to deliver meaningful manuals that effectively empower the owners to self-sufficiency. 

Administrative Challenges

Listed below are some of the challenges in administering maintenance plans:

  • Missing Parts - Either these missing parts were never handed over to the organization as part of the commissioning process or they have been lost over time.
  • Outdated Parts - Sections of the plan are no longer current and do not reflect changing circumstances. For example, the organization has replaced certain assets over the years but the plan does not reflect these changes.
  • Disconnected Parts - the plan is not assembled in one location and one consistent format for easy access by the organization. For example, some files are kept on site, other files are at the manager's office.

Technical Challenges:

The focus of the paper is on a core set of technical concepts, the lessons learned through interaction with condominium building owners and confirmed adoption of effective programs.

1.  Time-Based Maintenance (TbM) and Condition-Based Maintenance (CbM): 

As an example, the maintenance descriptions evolved from: “Clean the roof gutters twice a year” (TbM) to “Inspect the gutters during early Autumn and after inclement weather conditions. Depending on the proximity to trees and other vegetation, clean the gutters at appropriate intervals” (CbM). Articulating these nuanced narratives was the easier of the technical challenges. The real heavy lifting occurred in developing a model to capture these undefined intervals that could be migrated into a maintenance schedule. 

2.  Fixed-Intervals, Variable-Intervals and Floating-Intervals

The paper provides examples of useful algorithms to capture “if-then” statements for non-predictive (stochastic) maintenance requirements, such as the delay-start cycle on events during the early life of an asset (ie., preceding the P-F interval) and the use of Predictive Maintenance (PdM) technologies during mid-life of an asset (ie, the P-F interval) to detect the leading indicators, lagging indicators and coincident indicators of potential failure (“P”).

The maintenance plan informs owners and their managers on how to preserve their tangible capital assets to achieve their full intended service lives and the reserve study enables these stakeholders to anticipate the short-term and long-range funding needs for eventual renewal of their depreciating and wearing assets.

System Maintenance Plans
Listed below are the different systems of facilities, each of which has its own maintenance plan.

The maintenance plan organized into seasonal maintenance tasks.
Fig. The maintenance plan organized into seasonal maintenance tasks across an annual cycle.

1  1  Landscaping                                   HVAC pump service

Comparing minor (routine) maintenance to major maintenance using a roof as an example.
Fig. Comparing minor (routine) maintenance (shown in "green") and major maintenance (shown in "red") using a roof as an example.

The maintenance plan organized by task prioritization.
Fig. The maintenance plan organized by task prioritization across an annual cycle.

The calendar view still represents one of the best tools to visualize work distributions and to manage the many tasks in the Asset Management Plan (AMP
Fig. The "old fashioned" calendar view still represents one of the best tools to visualize work distributions and to manage the many tasks in the Asset Management Plan (AMP).

1  1
Roof drain cleaning                     Carpet cleaning

The maintenance plan organized by team member participation.
Fig. The maintenance plan organized by team member participation.

"I. Care" takes us through the challenges of finding the right blend for the maintenance mix
Fig. "I. Care" takes us through the challenges of interpreting the maintenance manual to find the right blend for the maintenance mix.

Maintenance location charts are a useful tool to help provide owners with a visual reference that is not available from checklists
Fig. Maintenance location charts are a useful tool to help provide owners with a visual reference that is not available from checklists.

1     1
Fig. Sample reports from a maintenance plan.

Status of maintenance tasks in the annual maintenance program.
Fig. Deferred maintenance tasks show as "red" in the distribution of task status across the annual maintenance program.

Maintenance plan in binder format
Fig. Maintenance plan in binder format

Different types of maintenance tasks distributed across the four seasons of an annual maintenance program.
Fig. Different types of maintenance tasks distributed across the four seasons of an annual maintenance program.

See also:

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