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Business-Focused Maintenance: Back to basics?May 2017

Written by Colin Pearson, Team Leader, BSRIA Sustainable Construction Group

Why do you do maintenance?

  • To keep equipment in good condition?
  • To make it last longer?
  • To prevent it failing?

If it is for any of these reasons it is time to think again. BSRIA recently published an updated guide to Business-Focused Maintenance (BFM) to show how plant maintenance should be used as a means of ensuring that a business function is maintained. With that in mind, maintenance schedules, originally developed to avoid equipment failure by always ensuring components were replaced before they failed, can be discarded and replaced by a more pragmatic approach. And planned preventive maintenance task frequencies can be modified or discarded if more sophisticated methods are used.

BFM relies on system analysis and plant condition management to ensure that business function is maintained with the minimum of intrusive maintenance recognising that:

  • Plant failures often happen just after intrusive work (maintenance induced failures)
  • Maintenance task frequencies were set for generic plant in constant use (maybe not what you have)
  • Keeping plant working may not be necessary if you have a system with redundancy (spare capacity)
  • The likelihood of failure rarely depends on the age of components.

The building services industry has a standard specification of maintenance that has been updated over the years: SFG20. Many organisations use this to enable them to tender for outsourced maintenance on a like-for-like basis but the use of this to deliver maintenance can lead to generic maintenance being delivered across the estate. One example to consider is pump maintenance. This is defined in SFG 20 as a three monthly task but this will need customising to recognise that pump maintenance requirements depend on redundancy, load factor, criticality, manufacturing quality and many other factors.


Tasks to complete a Business Focused Maintenance review (click image to zoom)
BFM recognises that the need for maintenance generally arises from business needs, such as:

  • Complying with legislation
  • Minimising health and safety risks
  • Minimising business risks
  • Responding to business and customer requirements
  • Adding value as part of the business process
  • Reducing overall business costs
  • Maximising whole life cost
  • Increasing asset / system availability
  • Increasing operational up time
  • Managing business continuity

Users of the BFM Guide, first published by BSRIA in 2004 have demonstrated increased system availability and reduced costs. Adopting BFM requires a process of:

  • Condition survey
  • Functional analysis
  • Criticality assessment
  • Business continuity assessment
  • Assessing likelihood of failure
  • Assessing consequences of failure
  • Maintenance strategy review
  • Maintenance task review
  • Continual monitoring of performance

Many maintenance tasks can be replaced by Condition Monitoring (CM) which leads to Condition Based Maintenance, CBM. If CM is used, further analysis must be applied to find the likely modes of failure and the most suitable parameters to monitor so that early signs of failure can be detected. Common CM methods include:

  • Thermal imaging
  • Vibration monitoring
  • Acoustic emission monitoring
  • Lubricant analysis
  • Plant performance monitoring

Regular use of these methods at appropriate intervals can be more cost-effective than maintenance based on generic schedules for critical plant. But for non-critical plant the most cost effective maintenance may be run-to-failure. By applying the BFM methodology you can be confident that you have selected the most appropriate maintenance for your building.

For more information on Business-Focused Maintenance consultancy from BSRIA, contact us on fm@bsria.co.uk or +44 (0) 1344 465 578.

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