What is Planned Maintenance?

A facilities manager wearing a suit and a hard hat reviews asset data on an ipad and smiles to themselves

Planned maintenance is a key component of good maintenance strategy. Despite many facilities teams inherently knowing that it’s important, there’s often a bit of confusion around the term. So, what exactly is planned maintenance?

Planned maintenance is work that is planned in advance, and done at specific intervals, rather than as a response to a particular event or stimulus.

One of the biggest misconceptions about planned maintenance is that it must involve physical maintenance work. Planned maintenance will also include regular testing and inspections on critical systems.  

For example, regular inspections of fire safety systems is a planned maintenance activity, as it is work planned in advance, and done at specific intervals.

To understand planned maintenance properly, it’s important to make a clear definition between the three types of maintenance that comprise effective maintenance strategy.

Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance is maintenance done in response to something breaking. It typically comprises the majority of maintenance and is not part of a planned maintenance strategy.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is work or inspections done to try to prevent breakdowns occurring. It is a core part of a planned maintenance strategy.

Corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance occurs when a requirement is unearthed following a planned inspection. Corrective maintenance is an outcome of a planned maintenance strategy.

Why perform planned maintenance

Planned maintenance is all about managing risk in your organisation. Effectively incorporating planned maintenance helps to reduce reliance on reactive maintenance.

Reducing reliance on reactive maintenance benefits both the organisation as a whole, and directly supports the facilities team.

Meeting compliance requirements

For most organisations, planned maintenance is key to ensuring compliance obligations are met. Preventive works, such as system inspections and testing are critical to attaining the permissions required for the organisation to operate.

If a facility has any kind of occupancy, there will be some kind of planned maintenance requirement. For example, occupancy permits, building warranty of fitness, and essential safety measures all include planned maintenance requirements.

Keeping people safe

Planned maintenance helps to keep assets and facilities in good working condition, which creates safer spaces by reducing the risk of unexpected breakdowns and hazards.

All facilities must comply with workplace health and legislative safety regulations. These regulations necessitate regular inspection and testing of assets whose malfunction could endanger lives are critical planned jobs.


Planned maintenance helps to keep assets in good working order, extending their life, and reducing the frequency of repair and replacement. Over the long term, this can lead to reduced expenditure on those assets.

Reduced environmental impact

Extending asset lifecycles, and reducing the frequency of replacement, can help to reduce the environmental footprint of the organisation. Additionally, knowing when an asset is coming to end of life, can support strategic asset replacement, supporting sustainable shifts to greener options.

Business continuity

Planned maintenance can ensure service delivery levels are met, by prioritising those activities that support business continuity. Depending on the nature of your business, this could be anything from waste disposal to air conditioning in operating theatres.

Do all organisations need planned maintenance?

The short answer to this is yes. Every organisation would have some level of compliance, particularly when they occupy a building or manage buildings. Planned maintenance has a role in every organisation, and whether you know it or not, you’re likely engaging in planned maintenance already.

The goal for many teams is to improve the efficiency and maturity of planned maintenance. To achieve this, processes must be developed that efficiently support the co-ordination of repeated jobs.

It's not all or nothing

When organisations try to get started with planned maintenance, it’s tempting to try to create a planned maintenance schedule for everything all at once. If you’re just getting started with planned maintenance, it’s important to resist this temptation, and start with critical systems.