Planned vs Preventive Maintenance

A facilities manager crouches down next to a HVAC unit with a contractor, showing them information on an ipad

The terms planned and preventive maintenance are often used interchangeably. While related, planned maintenance, and preventive maintenance, refer to two different things.

To understand how the two relate, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of maintenance strategy, starting with the three types of maintenance.

Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance is maintenance done in response to something breaking. Reactive maintenance typically represents the majority of maintenance works.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance refers to work, or inspections, that are undertaken to try to prevent breakdowns occurring. This kind of maintenance is the foundation for a planned maintenance strategy.

Corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance is maintenance that occurs when a requirement is uncovered during a planned inspection (preventive maintenance). This type of maintenance is typically a result of pursuing a planned maintenance strategy.

What is planned maintenance

Planned maintenance is a strategy that allows facilities teams to proactively manage assets and facilities. Encompassing both preventive and corrective maintenance, planned maintenance helps to reduce reliance on costly reactive maintenance.

Planned maintenance is often required to obtain permissions to operate, specifically where it relates to critical systems. For example, buildings must have an operational fire safety system before any kind of occupancy is permitted. The regular inspections of, and maintenance on these systems forms a part of planned maintenance strategy.  

Part of the compliance obligations surrounding these systems is being able to prove that the work was conducted, and report on that work ina reasonable timeframe.

Why reduce reliance on reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance is an essential part of maintenance strategy. However, over-reliance on reactive maintenance creates unnecessary costs and inefficiencies.

When it comes to critical systems, relying on reactive maintenance exposes the business to significant risk. If a critical system is to fail, the business has to stop operations until the issue is resolved.

By implementing a planned maintenance strategy, the risk of a critical system failing is significantly reduced.

Additionally, often the organisation has to prove that planned maintenance has been conducted, as a condition to attaining permissions to operate.

What is preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is a core part of planned maintenance, and refers to work and inspections done on a regular schedule. The difference between preventive, and corrective maintenance, is that corrective maintenance is done in response to a maintenance need uncovered during the course of these regular inspections.

For example, preventive maintenance would be a regular inspection on a fire sprinkler system. Corrective maintenance would occur if during that inspection, a non-urgent maintenance requirement was uncovered, for example a loose washer.

If that washer had degraded and caused a noticeable leak, fixing it would be considered reactive maintenance.