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New BSI standard encourages facilities maintenance professionals to mitigate risk

01 May 2013

Dr Brian Atkin, Director of The Facilities Society and principal expert involved in the drafting of BS 8210:2012, urges organisations to take a best practice approach using this new standard to address the challenges of modern buildings and ensure the effective implementation of maintenance strategies.  

Facilities management owes much of its existence to building maintenance management, which continues to form a significant part of the workload of the FM sector. The publication of BS 8210:2012 Guide to facilities maintenance management provides guidance on how to achieve successful maintenance outcomes for a range of facilities. This new standard completely replaces the original 1986 standard on building maintenance management.

The need for a new standard

Some things change little over time, others can change dramatically. The original maintenance management standard reflected a world in which buildings were less complex to manage and operate than nowadays. Developments in technology affecting the nature of facility assets and the maintenance management process, in particular the use of IT, also meant that a major revision of the standard was necessary.
The new standard has shifted from largely operational concerns to those of a more strategic and tactical nature, whilst retaining a focus on matters of practical importance. At the same time, a broader range of facility assets has been taken into account. The importance of regular and planned maintenance as a value adding activity is highlighted, because facility assets have to be maintained to ensure that:
* they fit their intended purpose;
* they are likely to perform their function throughout their intended life in a safe and efficient way; and
* their value is protected.

Scope of guidance

The standard outlines a process approach to maintenance management at the strategic and tactical levels with links to operational activities. The intention is to assist owners, operators and tenants, and their facility managers, in formulating a strategy and policy for maintenance management so that facility assets continue to perform as intended, retaining their asset value at minimal cost.

Any organisation that has responsibility for a facility needs a well-defined maintenance strategy – one that supports its goals. A poorly defined strategy could have significant adverse safety and commercial consequences. The effectiveness of an organization to fulfil its environmental and corporate social responsibility commitments and targets is also dependent upon an effective maintenance strategy. Since targets are subject to revision and are progressive, a static maintenance strategy is unlikely to meet the developing needs of the organization. A review process, as an integral part of the maintenance strategy, is necessary as changes arising from health, safety, security and environmental considerations can impact the way in which maintenance is undertaken.

Maintenance methods

A facilities maintenance strategy can embody different maintenance methods, for example planned, preventive, unplanned or a combination of these methods. Planned maintenance includes planned preventive maintenance and shutdown maintenance; whereas, preventive maintenance includes condition-based maintenance, reliability-centred maintenance and total productive maintenance. A further category – unplanned maintenance – includes corrective maintenance, breakdown maintenance and emergency maintenance. Not all of them are likely to be suitable, although they serve as the basis for exploring options once needs have been determined. The standard outlines the key steps that the organisation should take to identifying the method(s) that best satisfies its requirements.

The standard is broadly based and also covers maintenance planning and the maintenance process (see below), financial considerations, factors affecting maintenance, inspections, risk assessment, performance management, information management, asset register, spare parts inventory and computer-aided maintenance management systems.

Maintenance process

Facilities maintenance should be managed in an integrated manner and follow a structured process that takes into account the following key stages.
1. Facility assets required to support the core business and the delivery of services should be defined.
2. The required level of facility asset performance, including performance indicators, should be agreed.
3. The condition and sufficiency of facility assets for their intended purpose should be audited.
4. The scope of the maintenance required should be identified. 
5. Appropriate maintenance method(s) from amongst those available should be selected.
6. The resources required for the selected maintenance method should be assessed.
7. Maintenance plans and budgets should be prepared to cover the required scope of services over the short, medium and long term.
8. A tactical plan for delivery of maintenance should be formulated.
9. The resources to deliver the scope of maintenance should be provided.
10. Maintenance plans and programmes of work should be implemented.
11. Performance monitoring, review and control of maintenance plans and programmes of work should be carried out.

Experience of working globally and interacting with owners, operators, tenants and facilities managers in many parts of the world reveals two fundamentally different types of organisation: those that forever approach the subject of facilities maintenance in an ad-hoc manner and those that wish to achieve consistent performance and reliability. BS 8210:2012 will therefore be welcome in supporting the latter.

Find out more:
BS 8210:2012 Guide to facilities maintenance management was published on 31 December 2012 by BSI. Further particulars can be obtained from

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