BC Comfort was at the BUILDEX Conference in February. We were invited to speak about best practices for planned maintenance. BC Comfort has been selling and executing planned maintenance for all types of owners and equipment for over 40 years. Our time and experience in the industry has taught us what works best and what doesn’t in all types of situations and setups.
Planned maintenance is defined as a scheduled service visit carried out by a competent and suitable service technician, to ensure that an item of equipment is operating correctly and therefore avoiding any breakdown and unscheduled downtime.
So, let’s break down the definition and see what is required to execute a planned maintenance. Firstly, you need a competent and suitable service technician. In our industry, that is a licensed refrigeration mechanic or registered apprentice. These service technicians may need to have an “A” gas ticket or even a “B” gas ticket. The servicing company should be able to show that they have the experience and training required for the types of equipment that are in the building. They should also have references available for you to contact if you so choose. If there is equipment that is specialized, a service technician with additional factory training may also be necessary.
In our modern-day world, documentation is key and more important than ever. The servicing company that you choose should be recording all findings on a typed report that will be available online for your review. There are two types of reporting; reporting by exception and reporting by indicating tasks performed. Reporting by exception highlights the issues that need attention, while reporting by tasks performed generates more paper and takes more time, but includes thorough reviews to find the important issues. Some servicing companies also include GPS tracking systems that will support any time-based charges generated during the planned maintenance. Your servicing company should be one that fits your needs.
All maintenance tasks should be focused on manufacturer’s recommendations, real world experience and usage (hours/day, days/week), and the consequences of downtime. For example, having a server room air conditioning unit stop working when there is no redundancy requires maximum uptime versus one unit out of three going down. The frequency of maintenance should also reflect equipment usage, impact of unexpected downtime, potential for loss if equipment is faulty, equipment location, and budget for the property. Lastly, servicing companies should always consider safety requirements. Servicing a rooftop unit that is located two feet from the edge of the roof without using fall protection safety procedures is not be allowed. Customers are also paying for servicing companies to do the maintenance work safely.
For a long time, the planned maintenance service industry has been on a time-based planned maintenance format. But we are finding that the industry is moving away from time-based maintenance and into condition-based planned maintenance and even into predictive maintenance. For more information on how to set up a planned maintenance schedule for your building, contact your BC Comfort representative.