A lot of people think and talk about building operations and maintenance as if they’re the same, but they cover two distinct elements of building and facility management. 

So, what is building operations and maintenance, why is it so important, and how can you create a better relationship between the two teams? 

What does building operations and maintenance mean? 

Building operations and maintenance includes all the activities that you need to perform to operate, maintain, and manage your buildings effectively. Another name for it is facility operations and maintenance, and it covers the activities, processes, and workflows that you put in place to keep your operations running, including: 

  • Maintenance of building structures 
  • Management of building systems such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and security 
  • Groundskeeping, landscaping, and site improvements 
  • Maintenance of interiors, furniture, and equipment 

In some cases, the management of data and telecommunications cabling can also come under the remit of the operations and maintenance teams.   

Why is building operations and maintenance important? 

Good building operations and maintenance is critical to your organization’s ability to operate effectively and turn a profit. 

It has the obvious impact of preventing the deterioration of your buildings and equipment. But more than that, it can improve the safety of your workplace, reduce the cost of capital repairs, increase uptime, reduce the cost of building ownership, and boost your bottom line.  

What is involved in building operations and maintenance? 

Operational maintenance requirements can vary dramatically between single building businesses and organizations with multiple facilities. But regardless of the number, variety, or complexity of the tasks, you need knowledgeable and trained technical staff in place along with a facility operations and maintenance plan. 

An operations and maintenance plan can help you:  

  • Perform maintenance periodically and choose the most appropriate maintenance strategy (preventive, condition-based, or reactive) for each asset 
  • Identify potential problems early to complete corrective action quickly 
  • Establish a minimum standard for the inspection and maintenance of equipment by providing the necessary documentation and technician training 
  • Schedule the maintenance work to reduce the costs and maintain a constant workload for your technicians  
  • Conserve energy and resources by using energy-efficient equipment and systems wherever possible 
  • Create data collection systems to identify where improvements can be made and increase the efficiency of your operations 

Sustainability is another important part of the operations and maintenance process. Your plan should be resource-efficient, conserve energy and water, and help to create a comfortable and safe environment for the building’s occupants.   

What is the difference between operations and maintenance? 

The main difference between facility operations and maintenance is the focus. From an operations point of view, your goal is to be able to run the equipment at full capacity all the time and produce as much as possible. 

However, from a maintenance point of view, you understand the importance of inspecting, maintaining, repairing, and replacing equipment to increase useful life and keep it working efficiently, even if that reduces production in the short term. 

These conflicting priorities can put the operations and maintenance departments at odds even though they’re both on the same team. Operations faces pressure to increase production, while maintenance is being pushed to reduce building ownership costs, increase safety, and make equipment last longer.  

But ultimately, both teams need each other. If operations doesn’t produce, there’s nothing for the maintenance department to fix. And if there’s no maintenance team on hand, operations can’t produce much or for long.  

How can you improve the relationship between operations and maintenance? 

As a facilities manager, your challenge is to create a better working relationship between operations and maintenance. Here are a few steps you can take.  

Make operations and maintenance equal partners 

Some organizations have maintenance as a supplier to operations, but this customer-supplier relationship is weighed heavily in favor of the operations team. It always gets everything it requests and is effectively in charge of maintenance.  

However, an operations manager is rarely an expert in maintenance, and that’s why this type of relationship rarely works. Instead, you should make operations and maintenance a partnership with both teams sharing the joint goal of improving overall production efficiency. 

Agree on guidelines for prioritizing work requests  

Agreeing on the criteria for prioritizing work requests can define reasonable expectations and get your operations and maintenance teams on the same page.  

For example, a priority one work order could be any work that has immediate safety, environmental, or quality implications, or if critical equipment has broken down. If those criteria aren’t met, you should schedule the work accordingly.  

Create a joint shutdown schedule 

Meeting to agree upon and schedule cut-off times can help you enhance communication between the two teams and emphasize the importance of deadlines. 

Although you may not always be able to stick to them, you should aim to meet agreed cut-off times for the start day and time of a shutdown, when you can add jobs to a shutdown, and when you can add jobs to the weekly and daily schedule.  

Have formal approval for work requests 

You can also put a formal evaluation point in place to determine whether you really need to perform work requests. The maintenance and operations teams can get together to evaluate each work request based on whether it’s “routine,” in which case you should do it, or “improvement,” which both teams can question, helping you build a partnership between the teams while also enabling you to free up your the team’s time and reduce your maintenance costs.  

How can ManagerPlus help?  

ManagerPlus® for facility management can help you plan, execute, and monitor all the activities involved in reactive and planned preventive maintenance and operational services.  

Although not every asset needs preventive maintenance, your most critical ones will. With ManagerPlus, you can work with your operations team to set work orders that automatically generate once an asset has reached agreed metrics such as usage hours of mileage.  

You can also access historical work data to compare how your assets are working and performing over time. You can then collaborate with your operations team to make informed decisions about the best way to invest in them.  

What’s next? 

Want to find out how ManagerPlus can help you maximize your operational efficiency? Then book a live demo with one of our experts or get in touch so we can answer your questions. 

Executive summary 

Building operations and maintenance includes all of the activities that you need to perform to operate, maintain, and manage your buildings effectively. Good building operations and maintenance can improve the safety of your workplace, reduce the cost of capital repairs, increase uptime, reduce the cost of building ownership, and have a direct impact on your bottom line.  

However, your operations and maintenance teams can have conflicting priorities that put them at odds. The ultimate goal of your operations team is to run your equipment at full capacity to boost production, yet the maintenance team wants to inspect, maintain, repair, and replace equipment to preserve its lifespan and reduce costs.  

There are several steps you can take to create a better working relationship between operations and maintenance. That includes using ManagerPlus software, which helps to simplify your maintenance tasks while maximizing your operational efficiency. 

About the author

Jonathan Davis

Share this post


The Crucial Role of an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) System
What is Asset Useful Life?
What are Visual Inspections?

Subscribe to the ManagerPlus blog

Stay up-to-date with ManagerPlus’ news, tips, and product updates by subscribing to our weekly email notifications.