A Preventative Maintenance Checklist for School Facilities
by Arina Smith Management 27 January 2021
As winter break ends or students are returning from virtual learning, many schools and universities are planning their reopenings. This means students, teachers, and other staff will be back in full force, requiring functional facilities that promote learning activities. As an administrator or facility manager, it will be up to you to guarantee this through effective preventative maintenance.
One of the first steps in this direction is to develop a strategy that will help you define a list of activities or routines to achieve your facility servicing objectives.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
Prevention is better than a cure, a wise man once said. This saying also rings true when it comes to institutional facilities and equipment. A study conducted in Hong Kong showed that hotels that conducted scheduled preventative maintenance on their equipment spent almost 50 percent less on repairs than those that waited for disaster to strike.
So what is preventative maintenance? It is the practice of regularly conducting scheduled maintenance activities on machinery (anything from servers to plumbing to air-conditioning systems) to forestall operational failures that can disrupt regular functioning. Besides helping institutions save money on expensive repairs, preventative maintenance prolongs the equipment’s life. It also shields entities from the cost of potential reputational damage when failures occur.
Schedule Inspections and Repairs
Developing a comprehensive preventative maintenance checklist that encompasses scheduled inspection of equipment, detection of areas potential failures may occur, and preemptive correcting of these areas will help you save time and money.
Imagine a scenario where the central heating breaks down the night before school is meant to reopen for all. It’s well below freezing, so pipes have burst, and the building is now flooded. Conducting classes as planned is impossible and may have to be suspended as the situation is addressed.
Postponement of classes means wasting precious time, and you can be sure students who have to endure this frustration won’t be glowing with praise for your institution. The cost of emergency repairs will be much higher than what preventative maintenance would have cost, as you won’t be in a position to shop around for the best deal.
Another way scheduled maintenance can save you money is by prolonging the life of your equipment. Each year you don’t have to budget for replacing your facility’s components is a year you make a saving.
If you want to take your savings from preventative maintenance to the next level, consider deploying preventive maintenance software for schools. With this system in place, you can schedule maintenance tasks on your facilities and equipment with a few clicks of a button. And with system-generated alerts and notifications, your staff will know when these tasks are due.
You will even be able to plan when to buy new equipment based on your current machinery’s lifespan, allowing your accounts team to budget for such purchases in good time. Top management will have the preventative maintenance reports they need for strategic planning in just a few clicks.
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One of the key benefits of software-based preventative maintenance solutions is the data they avail. When the pieces of equipment are fitted with sensors that send real-time data to the cloud, you will have even more accurate information to refine decision making. Commonly referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), this data will ensure that scheduling of tasks and purchase of replacements is done in a more timely way.
Coordination between the various actors involved with maintenance tasks is critical to the success of preventative maintenance. As an administrator, you have to ensure a timely flow of information between yourself and the technicians on the ground. Top management will also expect up-to-date reports.
Seamless communication between different parties can be tough to achieve if you work on a large campus with many systems and equipment pieces. In such cases, poor coordination can easily lead to a single task being done by multiple people, leading to the very waste you were trying to avoid.
With the right preventative maintenance software, this flow of information can be eased using alerts and notifications customized around specific events.
Stock Up on Spare Parts
When you know well in advance which spare parts are needed at what times, you can set aside a budget to acquire them in bulk. Buying these parts in large quantities will help you take advantage of the economies of scale and possible discounts for bulk orders from suppliers. It also reduces the possibility of your students’ sessions being interrupted because, for instance, a particular part needed to fix an air conditioner is out of stock.
Preventative Maintenance Checklists for Better Margins
In addition to helping institutions influence well-rounded students, preventative maintenance checklists can assist your school cut yearly costs. With a meticulously-followed maintenance checklist, you stand to make substantial savings and boost your bottom line.