• MAINTENANCE MONTH: Planned vs. Reactive Maintenance in schools, colleges & universities

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    Ensuring a safe and functional learning environment for students in the UK’s schools, colleges, and universities requires a well-defined approach to building maintenance. Here we explore the key principles of both planned preventive maintenance (PPM) and reactive maintenance, highlighting their advantages and best practices…

    Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM):

    PPM is a proactive approach that prioritizes preventing problems through regular inspections, servicing, and repairs. Key principles include:

    • Developing a maintenance plan: This comprehensive plan outlines the types of maintenance required for different building components, including frequency of inspections, service schedules, and responsible personnel.
    • Preventative measures: This includes tasks like cleaning gutters, checking fire alarms, and conducting boiler servicing.
    • Regular inspections: Conducting routine inspections by qualified personnel helps identify potential issues before they escalate into major problems.
    • Record-keeping: Maintaining detailed records of all maintenance activities, including dates, repairs, and costs, aids in future planning and budgeting.

    Benefits of PPM:

    • Cost-efficiency: Addressing minor issues proactively prevents costly repairs and minimizes downtime.
    • Improved safety: Regular maintenance helps ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors by addressing potential hazards early on.
    • Extended lifespan of assets: By taking good care of facilities, schools and institutions can extend the lifespan of buildings and equipment, reducing the need for costly replacements.
    • Reduced disruption: Addressing issues proactively minimizes disruptions to daily operations, allowing educational activities to continue uninterrupted.

    Reactive Maintenance:

    Reactive maintenance involves addressing issues only after they arise, typically due to a breakdown or malfunction. While not ideal, it can be necessary in some situations.

    When might reactive maintenance be needed?

    • Sudden equipment failure: This includes situations like burst pipes, electrical outages, or heating system breakdowns.
    • Accidental damage: Vandalism or unforeseen incidents may necessitate reactive repairs.
    • Unforeseen circumstances: Events like extreme weather conditions or natural disasters may require reactive maintenance responses.

    While reactive maintenance can be crucial in immediate situations, its limitations are important to recognize:

    • Increased costs: Reactive repairs are often more expensive than planned maintenance, as they often involve emergency service calls and addressing larger issues that could have been prevented.
    • Safety risks: Delays in addressing problems can pose safety hazards to building occupants.
    • Disruption to learning: Reactive maintenance can disrupt daily operations, impacting teaching and learning activities.

    Finding the Balance

    Striking a balance between planned and reactive maintenance is key. Implementing a robust PPM strategy significantly reduces the need for reactive repairs, leading to a safer, more efficient, and cost-effective learning environment.


    By understanding and implementing the principles of both planned and reactive maintenance, schools, colleges, and universities can create safe, well-maintained spaces conducive to learning and growth for students and staff alike. Remember, prevention is always better than cure – investing in PPM reaps long-term benefits for educational institutions, ensuring a positive learning environment for all.

    Are you searching for Maintenance solutions for your educational institution? The Education Forum can help!

    Photo by Azzedine Rouichi on Unsplash


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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