The end of planned preventative maintenance?
Within 5 years, however, traditional planned preventative maintenance is unlikely to exist. And it will be new technological advances that have killed it.
It’s happened already in cars. Although you still do have routine services, those services are getting further and further apart. A full service may take place only after 60,000 miles.
That’s been possible because, on the one hand, cars are much better at knowing when something is starting to fail, and then warning you. Some vehicles even call up the garages automatically to let them know too.
The other advance is that individual components are now much more likely to be sealed units: less likely to fail, and much easier to replace when they do.
All this sort of technology is gradually starting to appear in buildings and the electrical and mechanical assets within them.
At a retail level, the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ is allowing householders to adjust their central heating remotely or to switch on lights from their phones.
At a commercial level, too, building control systems (BEMS) are certainly being marketed hard by their manufacturers. You’ll find them built in to many new appliances.
But when it comes to older premises, and existing equipment, the cost is often prohibitive.
Of course, as we’ve seen in so many other areas of technological advance, costs soon fall and adoption increases – often quite rapidly.
Digital sensors and actuators that used to cost £££s now cost pence. It is finally cost effective to retrofit a system of sensors that monitors asset performance over time and transmits that information to the Cloud. It already has a name: 4D Monitoring.
Software, too, is becoming cheaper to produce and more versatile in its operation. Increasingly it’s written directly for online use, and so has integral web services and APIs that allow it to interface easily with separate, independently-produced programs.
Soon, industry-standard systems like eLogbooks will be able to monitor actively whether repairs or maintenance tasks have been done. Soon it will be cheaper to run a maintenance contract that includes the retrofit of a building control system, and the software to monitor it, than it is to operate a PPM contract to SFG20 standards.
For the facilities manager, the benefits will be immense. Any equipment that exhibits problems can be replaced before it fails; so systems will never fail. Energy usage over time can be monitored to reduce costs and resolve tenant disputes. Who knows? Service charges may even come down.
Be of no doubt, 4D Monitoring and the Internet Of Things have already arrived in the world of FM. It’s only a matter of time before they eliminate the Planned Preventative Maintenance contract altogether.
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