Operation & Maintenance Planning  

by Peter Cholakis, Four BT, LLC
Glenn Hunt, Peripheral Systems, Inc.



Total life-cycle costs include initial design, construction, operations, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. As Figure 1 illustrates, 80% of a facility'si life-cycle costs are associated with Operation & Maintenance (O&M). A well-developed strategic O&M Planii will define and communicate best management practices (BMPs) for an organization.


Developed by the organization, a strategic O&M Plan (hereinafter referred to as the Plan) provides guidance for decreasing life-cycle O&M costs, extending the lifespan of facility systems, reducing response times to facility issues, improving personnel satisfaction levels, etc. The Plan is not a static tool, but a living document that is consulted and regularly updated. It serves as a primary tool for communicating O&M strategies and desired outcomes.

A flow chart of Life-cycle Management.

Figure 1. A flow chart of Life-cycle Management

O&M planning considerations include the following:

  • Strategy & Goals
  • Budgeting & Capital Planning
  • LEAN Methodology
  • Multiple Competencies, Business Processes, and Activities
  • Supporting Technologies and Tools
  • Education, Training, and Support Services
  • Metrics/Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Strategy & Goals


Establishing, documenting, communicating, and improving an organization's overall O&M strategy greatly aids stakeholders (i.e. facilities management staff, senior management, facilities users, external service providers, oversight groups, etc.) to better understand and appreciate the importance of proper funding and support.

Operations incorporate all services required to ensure that facilities will do what they are designed to do, critical throughout the life-cycle of a facility. Service requirements, including life-cycle cost information are shared among organizations and individuals, from initial concept through demolition. (Refer to Multiple Competencies, Business Processes, and Activities).

There are several types of maintenance that can be grouped into two, high-level categories: Planned Maintenanceiii and Corrective Maintenanceiv (see Table 1).

Table 1. Planned vs Corrective Maintenance Delineation

Planned Maintenance Corrective Maintenance
Routine/Preventive Maintenancev Unplanned Maintenancevi
Predictive Maintenancevii Emergency Maintenanceviii
General Maintenanceix User Requested Needs

Determining the allocation of limited resources in favor of planned versus corrective maintenance is a primary objective of any organization. On average, corrective maintenance costs three to five times or greater (3x — 5x+), more than planned maintenance, not including associated disruptions to work or services being performed in the facilities (education, healthcare, production, etc.). Properly allocating funds for planned maintenance can significantly reduce overall negative financial and operational impacts upon an organization, as illustrated in the Pavement Condition Index (Figure 2).

Pavement Condition Index.

Figure 2. Pavement Condition Indexx

Planned maintenance contributes to limiting the frequency and negative impact of corrective maintenance occurrences thereby reducing overall O&M costs.

Planning helps an organization to better leverage the experience and value of internal and external resources, throughout a facility's life-cycle. Proper planning can quantitatively determine sufficient O&M funding and help to build and maintain requisite capabilities to successfully execute the Plan, including providing incentives to optimize O&M practices.


The following are potential O&M goals and important considerations:

  • Maximize asset value
  • Extend asset value
  • Incorporate a life-cycle costing perspective
  • Reduce O&M costs
  • Mitigate risk and unplanned events
  • Enhance facility user experiences and increase satisfaction
  • Establish and assure O&M funding levels
  • Continuously enhance capabilities of internal and external personnel
  • Provide a "customer—centric" LEAN operating model
  • Communicate the importance of regular maintenance
  • Assure appropriate staffing levels and capability
  • Consider decommissioning costs
  • Identify all parties responsible for and linked to O&M
  • Clarity roles and responsibilities
  • Asset inventory
  • Standardized and ongoing physical and functional condition assessments
  • Decision support tools to assist in project prioritization
  • Start-up and normal operating procedures
  • Support technology, records, and reporting system
  • Monitoring, metrics, and key performance metrics (KPIs)
  • Public notifications & permits
  • Life/safety issues
  • Environmental issues
  • Emergency operating procedures

Budgeting and Capital Planning

Since 80% of total capital expended across the lifespan of a facility goes to O&M, O&M activities are almost always inadequately funded.

Collecting and dissemination information to key decision-makers such as Senior Facilities Management and the Chief Financial Officer will help acquire funding, improve facilities services, and reduce equipment down time. The use of common terms versus technical jargon, emphasizing risk mitigation, clearly defining organizational benefits and clearly defining timelines can help communicate those needs.

The ability to predict current and future requirements necessary to maintain a predetermined service level aids Planning. Considerations include the following:

  • Manpower requirements/staff (In-house and Third-Party/Contract Maintenance)
  • Current and desired conditions of buildings systems and equipment
  • Required documentation - for example O&M Manuals
  • Detailed (line item) O&M task descriptions (labor, material, & equipment line items and associated costs), and checklists
  • Estimated service life for physical assets
  • Maintenance, repair, and replacement costs
  • Operating Costs

Determining the priority of capital reinvestment into facilities based upon a life-cycle perspective has proven to provide the highest likelihood of positive overall results. Many organizations spend a significant amount, and some even the majority, of O&M funds on emergency, unplanned projects and/or projects. The result is an inability to maximize value to an organization.

Lean Methodology

LEAN methodology was first introduced by Henry Ford, later expanded by Toyota, and subsequently adopted my many manufacturing and service sectors. An understanding of LEANxi fundamentals and their application to O&M and overall Facilities Management will benefit Planning. Briefly, the LEAN methodology involves the consistent application of business processes and workflows in support of the following:

  • Early and ongoing collaboration among all participants and stakeholders
  • Focus upon client requirements and best value outcomes
  • Clearly defined and documented roles, responsibilities, workflows
  • Shared, performance-based risk/reward
  • Decision support based upon current and actionable information
  • Common terms, definitions, & data formats — Common data environment (CDE)
  • Mutual trust and respect among participants
  • Continuous improvement the O&M Plan and associated processes

Specific to O&M, LEAN practices help provide a framework to integrate and maximize the capabilities of available people, processes, information, and technology to address ongoing facilities requirements, as Figures 3 through 5 illustrate. Promoting awareness and education of LEAN O&M best management practices leads to improved outcomes.

Figure 3.  LEAN Practices for Optimized Facilities O&M Overview

Figure 3. LEAN Practices for Optimized Facilities O&M Overview

Figure 4. LEAN Practices Asset Competency Model

Figure 4. LEAN Practices Asset Competency Model

Figure 5. LEAN Considerations

Figure 5. LEAN Considerations

Multiple Competencies, Business Processes, and Activities

Facilities O&M management spans multiple competencies (core skills), business processes (asset management practices/industries), and activities, such as the following (also, see Figure 6).


  • Strategic planning
  • Cost estimating
  • Procurement/bidding
  • Construction
  • Space planning
  • Operations
  • Maintenance
  • Programming

Business Processes

  • Capital planning and management
  • Construction project delivery methodology
  • Space management
  • Operations & Maintenance
  • Inventory and maintenance disposition management
Figure 6.  Life-cycle Management

Figure 6. Life-cycle Management

NOTE: The term "Big Data" has recently become popular to describe the multiple sources, formats, and uses of data that can be leveraged to monitor and improve organizational performance. The Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) has become one of the most widely known data formats. COBie is an information exchange specification for the life-cycle capture and delivery of information needed by facility managers. It can be viewed in design, construction, and maintenance software as well as in simple spreadsheets. Other data formats include MasterFormat, Uniformat, and Omniclass.

Supporting Technology and Tools

Technology and tools used to lower the cost of implementing and managing LEAN O&M best management practices (BPMs) include the following:


  • Application Software
  • Building Automation Systems (BAS)
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) (Model & Management Systems) Capital Planning and Management Systems (CPMS)
  • Computer-aided Facilities Management Systems (CAFM)
  • Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)
  • Cost Estimating, Procurement, & Construction Project Delivery and Management Systems
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS)


  • Construction code databases
  • Construction cost databases
  • Industry specific glossaries
  • Industry Standards (ISO, NIST)
  • O&M Plan
  • O&M Manuals
  • Standardized data architectures (Cobie, Masterformat, Uniformat, Omniclass)
  • Technical construction specifications

Education, Training, and Support Services

Building the capabilities of internal and external O&M teams involves an ongoing commitment to education and training. From an educational standpoint, both traditional educational institutions and ongoing professional education are increasing their focus upon life-cycle management and the role of O&M.

The need for and level of training requirements, including training aids and O&M manuals, should be specified in the Plan. The type of training (introductory, advanced, certification), format (online/virtual, classroom, self-taught), and frequency is dependent upon each organization's requirements, types of systems and equipment, and amount of work performed by in-house staff versus that to be outsourced. Support services may include outsourcing certain O&M requirements, independent and/or peer-based audits of O&M practices, and various consulting services.

Metrics/Key Performance Indicators (KPIS)

Ongoing performance measurement supports informed, information-based, decision making and helps to maximize the use of available resources.

From a generic perspective, an effective measurement system includes the following:

  • Clearly defined, actionable, and measurable goals
  • Key performance indicators that monitor the overall administration of O&M program, as well as individual projects / task orders, and all associated workflows, deliverables, and outcomes
  • Established baselines enabling measurement of historical and current progress
  • A basis of timely, accurate, repeatable, and verifiable information based upon standardized terms, definitions, and data architectures
  • Applicable reporting and feedback systems to support continuous improvement of processes, practices, and outcomes
  • Leading Indicators (forecast future trends inside and outside the organization) as well as lagging indicators
  • Objective and unbiased information (not subject to manipulation) that is normalized (can be benchmarked against other organizations, departments, locations)
  • Statistically reliable
  • Unobtrusive (not disruptive of work or trust)
  • Appropriate (measures the right things)
  • Quantifiable
  • Verifiable/auditable

The importance of performance measurement cannot be understated. It is a fundamental element of any successful O&M program.

O&M performance indicators include the following:

  • Annualized Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) per building per gross area = Rate per square foot
  • Annualized TCO per building/Current replacement value = Percent of Current Replacement Value (CRV)
  • Annualized TCO per building/Net assignable square feet = Cost rate per net assignable square feet per building
  • Annualized TCO per building/Non-assignable square feet = Cost rate per non-assignable square feet per building
  • Annualized TCO per building/Building Interior square feet = Cost rate per interior square foot per building
  • Churn Rate
  • Utilization Rate
  • AI (Adaptation Index) or PI (Programmatic Index) = PR (Program Requirements)/CRV (Current Replacement Value)
  • Uptime or Downtime = Defined in percent, as amount of time asset is suitable for the program(s) served
  • Facility Operating Gross Square Foot (GSF) Index (SAM Performance Indicator: APPA 2003)
  • Custodial Costs per square foot
  • Grounds Keeping Costs per square foot
  • Energy Usage is expressed as a ratio of British Thermal Units (BTUs) for each Gross Square Foot (GSF) of facility, group of facilities, site or portfolio = BTUs / Gross Area GSF
  • Utility Costs per square foot
  • Waste Removal Costs per square foot
  • Facility Operating Current Replacement Value (CRV) Index = Facility Operating CRV Index = Annual Facility Maintenance Operating Expenditures ($)/Current Replacement Value ($) (SAM Performance Indicator: APPA 2003)
  • Facility Operating GSF Index = Annual Facility Maintenance Operating Expenditures ($)/Gross Area (GSF)
  • Planned/Preventive Maintenance Costs per square foot
  • Emergency Maintenance Costs as a percentage of Annual Operations Expenditures
  • Unscheduled/Unplanned Maintenance Costs as a percentage of Annual Operations Expenditures
  • Repair costs (man hours and materials) as a percentage of Annual Operations Expenditures
  • FCI (Facility Condition Index) = DM (Deferred Maintenance) + CR (Capital Renewal)/CRV (Current Replacement Value)
  • Recapitalization Rate, Reinvestment Rate
  • Deferred Maintenance Backlog
  • Facilities Deterioration Rate
  • AI (Adaptive Index) or PI (Programmatic Index) = PR (Program Requirements)/CRV (Current Replacement Value)
  • FQI (Facility Quality Index) or Quality Index or Index = FCI (Facility Condition Index)+ AI (Adaptive Index)
  • Capital Renewal Index = Annual Capital Renewal and Renovation/Modernization Expenditure ($)/Current Replacement Value ($)EMERGING ISSUES

Challenges and Obstacles

While obtaining adequate O&M funding remains an elusive goal for many, the most significant challenge is change management. Facilities span the careers of individuals, and O&M management transcends generations. As a result, known future impacts may be postponed until "someone else's watch." Further, the impact of new strategies and processes can take years to show measurable improvements. Within a society that seeks instant gratification and financial payback periods sometimes measure in months versus years, the need for leadership and commitment of property owner management is paramount.

Additionally, the importance of facilities in the minds of senior management may not be fully appreciated, thus creating the need to better inform them of associated risks and benefits of various O&M strategies. Here, a somewhat pervasive focus upon first-costs versus lifecycle costs must be addressed and altered. Communicating the fact that an emergency repair will have ten times (10x) the cost of an appropriate maintenance operation, is an ongoing need, as well as providing cost multi-year cost impacts of alternative O&M strategies.

Historically, sharing information has been somewhat problematic for a variety of reasons, especially in areas involving costs and or techniques. This obstacle can result in higher costs and marginalized capabilities if not fully addressed. The level of collaboration and transparency required is a change in the way many organizations operate on a day to day business.

Relevant Codes and Standards

Department of Defense

Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC)

Department of Energy

Executive Order

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Additional Resources





i The term "facility" is used to represent any built structure including, but not limited to, buildings, roadways, dams, bridges, airports, mass transit, etc.

ii An O&M Plan may also be called a O&M Execution Plan.

iii Planned maintenance is any scheduled service performed to ensure that equipment operates correctly and to therefore avoid any unscheduled breakdown that may require corrective maintenance.

iv Corrective maintenance will identify, isolate, and rectify a fault to restore equipment to an operational condition within established requirements for operations.

v Cyclical, planned work activities funded through the annual budget cycle, done to continue or achieve either the originally anticipated life of a fixed asset (i.e., buildings and fixed equipment), or an established suitable level of performance. Normal/routine maintenance is performed on capital assets such as buildings and fixed equipment to help them reach their originally anticipated life. Deficiency items are low in cost to correct and are normally accomplished as part of the annual O&M funds. Normal/routine maintenance excludes activities that expand the capacity of an asset, or otherwise upgrade the asset to serve needs greater than, or different from those originally intended. Planned or Programmed Maintenance, a detailed category that includes those maintenance tasks whose cycle exceeds one year. Examples of planned or programmed maintenance are painting, flood coating of roofs, overlays and seal coating of roads and parking lots, pigging of constricted utility lines and similar functions.

vi Unscheduled/Unplanned Maintenance and non-emergency corrective work activities that occur in the current budget cycle or annual program. Activities may range from unplanned maintenance of a nuisance nature requiring low levels of skill for correction, to non—emergency tasks involving a moderate to major repair or correction requiring skilled labor.

vii Testing, or inspection performed to anticipate failure using specific methods and equipment, such as vibration analysis, thermographs, x—ray or acoustic systems to aid in determining future maintenance needs. For example, tests to locate thinning piping, fractures or excessive vibration that are indicative of maintenance requirements.

viii Emergency Maintenance is unscheduled work that requires immediate action to restore services, to remove problems that have interrupted activities, or to protect life and property.

ix General maintenance: custodial services and cleaning, pest control, snow removal, grounds care/landscaping, trash-recycle removal.

x Quantifying Quality: The Pavement Condition Index, July 14th, 2016 Diksha Radhakrishnan Intern.

xi The most widely known LEAN methods applied to construction, operations, and maintenance are Job Order Contracting (JOC) for maintenance, repair, and renovation activities and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) for major, new construction.