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Last edited 03 Aug 2022
Business focused maintenance
Why do we do maintenance? Is it to keep our assets in optimum working condition? Do we do it to make the equipment last longer? Perhaps the main goal is to prevent failures? If it is for any of these reasons you may find that you are working to an outdated ethos…
BSRIA has recognised and employ a more pragmatic approach for today’s business needs. Business Focused Maintenance (BFM) recognises that building services’ equipment is installed to provide a service, thereby allowing a business function to be maintained. It analyses the business needs and consequences of failure first and foremost. This ensures that business function is maintained with the minimum of intrusive maintenance to minimise maintenance induced failure, otherwise it is traditionally assumed that the built environment’s asset failure follows the bathtub curve.
There are standard specifications for maintenance within the building services industry that have been updated over the years such as SFG20. This is used by many organisations to enable them to tender for outsourced maintenance on a like-for-like basis. The main drawback of this approach is that the maintenance delivered will be generic across the site. This can increase costs and/or reduce the availability of human resources. Couple this with the often-quoted statistic that “70% of failures are due to ineffective maintenance” and it begs the questions to be asked over purely time-based Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) frequencies.
- Complying with legislation
- Minimising health and safety risks
- Minimising business risks
- Managing business continuity
- Responding to business and customer requirements
- Adding value as part of the business process
- Reducing overall business costs
- Maximising whole life cost
- Increasing asset / system availability
- Increasing operational up time
Users of BFM – first published as a BSRIA Guide in 2004 – have demonstrated increased system availability and greatly reduced costs. There is a structured, six-step process to follow where the client and BSRIA work collaboratively to:
 1 Assess business needs and consequences of asset failure
The goals of the business and the needs of the end users are assessed to ascertain which assets are crucial, and therefore the impact on the business of assets failing. The structure of BFM allows for this task to be done as objectively as possible and logged on a numeric scale of 1-10. 1 is a low consequence and 10 is a high impact on business continuity.
 2 Document functional block diagrams and assess functional resilience
 5 Calculate BFM score
- 1-9 Discretionary maintenance for non-critical assets
- 10-40 Legal compliance and sector specific requirements
- 41-100 Maintenance to provide the greatest level of confidence in asset reliability, performance and availability.
The business-focused maintenance methodology challenges the planned preventative maintenance frequency of building services plant. The assessment methodology takes into account plant history (age, condition, failure history, plant loading, and maintenance history), the number of standby plant items (redundancy), and the level of resources available.
Many of the intrusive maintenance tasks can be replaced by Condition Monitoring (CM) which in turn leads to Condition Based Maintenance (CBM). The actual practice of CM is far quicker in terms of man hours than time-based PPMs and often involves zero down time to the asset and therefore no impact to the business. In addition to the usual array of gauges on an asset or its BMS sensor display that can be used to monitor plant performance, common CM methods include thermal imaging, vibration monitoring, acoustic emission monitoring and lubricant analysis.
Regular use of these methods at appropriate intervals can be far more cost effective than regular time-based generic intervals, whereas for non-critical plant, the most cost-effective maintenance methodology may be to run-to-failure. By applying the BFM methodology, you can be confident that you have selected the most appropriate maintenance technique for the services in your building.
This article originally appeared as ‘Why use Business Focused Maintenance?’ on the BSRIA blog, published on 3 March 2020. It was written by Nick Blake – Principal FM Consultant at BSRIA. You can download Business Focused Maintenance (BG53/2016) here.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BSRIA articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Building Services Analytics - BG 75 2018
- Business-Focused Maintenance BG53 2016.
- Carbon neutral contract.
- Design for maintenance.
- In-house or outsource maintenance.
- Maintenance and operational strategy.
- Maximising maintenance budgets after lockdown.
- O&M manual.
- Operation, maintenance and training (OMT).
- Planned preventive maintenance.
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