How do I know if my projects contain Deferred or Preventative Maintenance?

  1. How is Maintenance Defined?
  2. What is Deferred Maintenance?
  3. What is Preventative Maintenance?
  4. What is end of life replacement, or a situation of recapitalization?

1. How is Maintenance Defined?

Maintenance is defined as work required to preserve and keep active, buildings systems and components to the condition that they can be effectively used for their intended purpose. The services provided by our facilities and planning team fall into the following basic categories:


2. What is Deferred Maintenance?

Deferred maintenance is the practice of postponing maintenance activities.... [READ MORE]


3. What is Preventative Maintenance?

A planned and controlled regimen of periodic inspection, adjustment, replacement of components, performance testing, analysis, all make up the core of a preventive maintenance program.... [READ MORE]


4. What is end of life replacement, or a situation of recapitalization?

Sometimes we experience a situation where things are at the end of their useful life, and just plain worn out. In these situations, it is not an effective use of resources to continue regular or preventative maintenance of the item. Preventative or continuing maintenance have not been deemed efficient to extend the life of the item. The item just needs to be replaced.

It is often a situation of professional assessment and judgment when an item needs replacement. Most buildings are made up of building subsystems. Typically these are regularly maintained to keep them functioning in the manner for which they are designed. We lubricate pumps. We change the oil in engines. We clean carpets. This is preventative maintenance and routine maintenance. When we discard the pump, boiler, engine, or carpet, and replace it with a new version, that's recapitalization or end of life replacement.

The relationship between maintenance costs and outlays for recapitalization or subsystem replacement is based on the phenomenon of aging and failure. We evaluate how major building subsystems age. As their performance declines, they may also fail more frequently. If they have been properly maintained, they may last longer than if they have not been properly maintained, but eventually they start failing. Since the repair costs are typically folded into maintenance budgets, maintenance costs will rise as subsystems age. This raise in costs will factor into the decision to determine if a replacement is necessary and cost effective.

As maintenance and repair costs rise for a building subsystem, there is a growing economic incentive to replace that subsystem in order to cut rising costs and eliminate operational disruptions associated with subsystem failures. At some point in time the present value of the replacement cost becomes lower than the present value of the projected maintenance and repair cost. When this happens, which should be at or around the subsystem's life-cycle date, the economic argument for replacement becomes very straightforward.

At a campus like Willamette where residential quality of life, and the quality of the experience in teaching spaces weighs heavily, we know we must make hard choices and in some cases, a subsystem may be replaced as a prophylactic act.