Maintenance is a decisive factor in building management

Maintenance, which has undergone enormous evolution in recent years, is a decisive factor in managing buildings, which have an increasingly sophisticated degree of systems and, consequently, imply an increasing weight in costs during their life cycle. Thus, the adoption of a building manager, for example, by hiring a Facility Manager, of clear and planned maintenance policies, as well as raising the awareness of space users on this topic, is crucial!

Discover in this article the different maintenance phases, their advantages and disadvantages, respectively, and the impact that this brings to the excellent performance of equipment, systems and installations during their useful life.


What is maintenance?


Maintenance is the combination of all technical, administrative, and management actions during an asset’s life cycle to maintain it or restore it to a state in which it can perform the required function (Standard NP EN 13306, 2010).

This action is, without a doubt, an increasingly decisive element in the management of buildings and constitutes an essential weight in costs throughout their life cycle.



Preventive maintenance vs corrective maintenance


Preventive maintenance, also called proactive, has the primary objective to act before anomalies to avoid them. Its main advantages are:

  1. increase in asset life
  2. decrease in unplanned stops
  3. increase in efficiency
  4. long-term cost savings
  5. greater security
  6. greater convenience


In terms of disadvantages it is worth highlighting:

    1. requires more planning
    2. need to readjust routines
    3. not applicable to any equipment
    4. can generate unnecessary actions



Corrective maintenance, also called reactive, is an intervention performed after the anomaly occurs. Its main advantages are:

    1. be used as an alternative to preventive maintenance when it is not cheap to adopt preventive measures.
    2. allows interventions without putting the life or use of the building on hold
    3. increases the lifespan of the building in good conditions, without a deep renovation of the same


The disadvantages to be highlighted are:

    1. performed after detection of the anomaly
    2. applied in cases of unpredictable failure
    3. high long-term costs
    4. higher and non-programmable repair times


Impact of building maintenance


In the most advanced European countries, there has been a concern with maintenance for a long time, which aims to respond to the needs of the existing building stock through support mechanisms in this area.

The term “maintenance” is still a recent concept in Portugal. This is a sector of activity that has little relevance in our country compared to other European countries.

Maintenance culture is essential so that its users are aware of the behaviour of construction elements, anomalies, and the degradation to which they are subject. They understand the usefulness and advantages of maintenance to maintain a good level of quality without increasing overall costs.



In the design phase, it is essential to choose the construction elements, taking into account their performance and the service life period that has been established for the building, a period during which it must be able to respond to the functional requirements which were designed.

It is crucial to comply with the project and with the appropriate techniques defined by the manufacturer in the construction phase.

The last phase concerns the use of the building. For a building to perform the intended functions, it is essential to carry out its conservation, as failure to do so directly impacts the safety, use, and comfort conditions of users.


Thus, from the design phase to the end of the building’s useful life, the concept of maintenance must be taken into account. With the help of BIM technology, we obtain greater rigour in controlling the maintenance of the building, which translates into lower costs and greater sustainability.
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