From Reactive to Proactive: Streamlining Maintenance for Optimal Building Performance

    An effective building maintenance strategy is vital to operational efficiency. Building owners and operators who don’t put the time and effort into designing a fully functioning maintenance strategy could end up paying a high cost.

    The key is to be proactive, not reactive. Your building maintenance program should have built-in safeguards to anticipate problems before they happen. If it doesn’t, you’ll have more downtime and higher repair costs in your building.

    When your building maintenance program is proactive, you can avoid equipment failures and the trouble that goes with them. You can spot early warning signs and take action to remedy issues before they become full-blown failures. You can minimize downtime and repair costs while improving your operational efficiency.

    The difference between proactive and reactive is the difference between control and chaos. Here are five steps you can take to make your maintenance strategy proactive.

    1: Think outside the box

    Building maintenance is often seen as a box ticking exercise with basic compliance or comfort being the minimum considerations. Is it delivering an optimum level of comfort for building occupants? Does it provide the most comfortable temperatures, suitable humidity and optimal indoor air quality? If not, what else can you do?

    Maintenance is more than just achieving and sustaining a maximum comfort level. It’s also about meeting vital key performance indicators (KPIs), whether that’s lowering energy consumption or achieving sustainability goals. So, instead of thinking about maintenance as a series of boxes to check, think about how your maintenance program can support your KPIs and overall business goals.

    2: Use self-diagnostic maintenance

    When an important part of your building breaks, you’ll know about it. When the access control system goes down, people can’t get in and out of the doors. When the HVAC breaks down, the climate inside might be stifling or frigid. The problems are obvious, and the fixes are urgent.

    There are also many smaller, more subtle issues you should pay attention to because they can influence your building’s operational efficiency. You can see these issues only by looking at and truly understanding your building data. Once you do that, you can take the next step toward self-healing maintenance. In a self-healing system, problems are paired with actions that are known to resolve them and those actions are taken automatically by the building management system.

    Today, a smart HVAC system can monitor outside air temperature, notice that it’s getting cooler, and then accordingly adjust the heat in the building. All systems should be this intelligent.

    3: Consider remote possibilities

    Advanced analytics are essential for best-in-class maintenance; however, it is just step one. Step two – and this is critical – is action. If analytics provide insights but no action is taken, nothing actually changes.

    So, how do you get from analytics to action? Remote maintenance can help significantly improve the transformation of analytics into actionable items.

    Remote maintenance technology can monitor your critical assets 24/7 and provide early identification of actual and potential problems. It can capture and analyze critical event information to inform the health of each building system. This information can then direct your technicians’ preventive and reactive maintenance activities in a more efficient way. Often, it can alert your technicians to problems before they cause an outage.

    4: Embrace tech tools to fill the labor gap

    Every building maintenance program depends on skilled workers, and the reality is there is a significant shortage. A recent survey by the Manpower Group, 45% of all employers said they can’t find enough skilled workers[i]. This issue is set to in the coming years as the current workforce of older employees retires. In fact, the average age of a building management worker is now over 50[ii], according to the Institute of Real Estate Management.

    When building owners and operators lack skilled workers, they often have no choice but to scale back their maintenance programs. From there, it can be a downward spiral. Deferred maintenance often causes more and bigger problems, like energy leakage, higher bills or the breakdown of unmaintained equipment.

    Fortunately, building technology is improving quickly, and it’s helping operators address their worker shortage. For example, there are now advanced AI systems designed to help technicians fix problems faster and more efficiently.

    5: Get help from an experienced partner

    Honeywell Building Operations Center (HBOC) is your full-service maintenance support team. Providing fast, effective remote operational support for commercial buildings of all types and sizes, HBOC offers more than 30 years of technical knowledge to help provide your sites with the right skills, no matter where a building is located, 24/7/365.

    HBOC’s global team uses secure, remote connections to monitor sites, designed to diagnose issues and fix problems quickly. When an issue requires on-site service, a knowledgeable Honeywell field service member is briefed and dispatched. The Honeywell Service Management System platform customizes service to your installation and develops detailed insights that are designed to evolve. This supports faster dispatching of appropriately skilled technicians, detailed equipment histories and reports, real-time status updates, and more.

    It’s time for building maintenance to get proactive.

    Building owners and operators can no longer afford to be limited by standard operating hours or on-call staff. Adopting a new mindset around maintenance can break the cycle of reactive repair and help your building reach its full potential.

    Learn more about how Honeywell can help you with your proactive service needs here.

    [i] Manpower Group, 2024 Global Talent Shortage [Accessed March 18, 2024]

    [ii] Institute of Real Estate Management, Property Management Evolves to Attract the Next Generation of Professionals.