Goal: Maintenance Scheduling over the Building Operational Life

Status of Use Document: Draft



[ _ ] Plan maintenance activities
[ _ ] Allocate maintenance staffing
[ _ ] Track maintenance history
[ _ ] Reduce reactive maintenance and number of emergency repairs
[ _ ] Proactively plan maintenance activities


The process in which the functionality of the building structure (walls, floors, roof, etc) and equipment serving the building (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, etc) is being maintaining the over the operational life of a facility.

Maintenance of stationary elements, such as the building structure, should be scheduled on a time-basis. Maintenance of equipment, such as mechanical and electrical systems, is classified using four types of maintenance: reactive maintenance, preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance and reliability centered maintenance.

Reactive maintenance is the most ‘basic’ form of maintenance. Reactive maintenance is defined as replacing equipment when it breaks (ASHRAE 2003) and is also called “run to failure maintenance.”

Preventative maintenance is scheduled maintenance, over time to detect or mitigate degradation of a component or system with the intent of sustaining or extending the useful life through controlling the degradation (FEMP 2004). An example of preventative maintenance is changing a filter in an air handler every six months.

Predictive maintenance (condition based maintenance) is also a form of scheduled maintenance, but is based on equipment condition, instead of time. Predictive maintenance uses a series of measurements to determine the condition or integrity of the piece of equipment (ASHRAE 2003). The data is often saved in a database in order to establish a baseline to compare future data against. Using predictive maintenance allows a facility manager to identify problems before a failure occurs and to schedule the repair, avoiding unscheduled downtime and the costs of secondary damage.

Reliability centered maintenance (root cause failure analysis or proactive maintenance) is the newest form of maintenance (ASHRAE 2003). It includes many of the same practices of predictive maintenance, but also seeks to completely eliminate the failure (ASHRAE 2003). (Predictive maintenance seeks to determine when the failure will occur, but does not work to eliminate the possibility of failure). Reliability centered maintenance recognizes that all equipment is not of equal importance to the operation or safety of a facility, and that financial and personnel resources must be optimized when establishing a maintenance program.

Potential Benefits

  • The use of BIM provides a structure to organize data.
    • Facilities may be short staffed and to not have a structure to manage data, so very few records, only those required by law, are often kept. Operations data can be linked with building geometry (Campbell 2007) and GIS for multi-building campuses This can increase productivity of maintenance staff because the physical location of the piece of equipment/system is clearly understood. Thus, more time is spent 'turning a wrench.'
  • BIM would allow cost impacts of different maintenance approaches to be evaluated, allowing facility operators to make more cost-effective maintenance decisions
  • An organized maintenance data collection structure would allow facility managers to justify the need and cost of establishing a reliability centered maintenance program. Over the life of a building, a successful maintenance program improves building performance, reduces emergency repairs and reduces over all maintenance costs. Standardized maintenance practices can be developed for multi-building organizations. BIM could be used for maintenance scheduling for the following activities: Scheduling of routine maintenance of stationary building features (Ex: waxing floors, washing exterior windows, etc.) Scheduling of mechanical equipment maintenance using any combination of the four maintenance approaches listed above. Considerations when selecting the type of activities using BIM for maintenance scheduling should include: Goals of the BIM users Skill level of the BIM users
  • Complexity of the stationary building features and mechanical systems How challenges associated with collecting data and/or missing data be addressed

Team Competencies Required:

Many team competencies are required to implement BIM for Maintenance Scheduling. Most generally, an open mind is important because successful implementation will require interaction through different chains of command and with a larger team of stakeholders than traditional maintenance program development.

Facility Mangers, Operators, Engineers and Comissioning Agents will be the primary team members to develop the BIM for Maintenance Scheudling. Specific competencies of these stakeholders should include:
  • Understanding of computerized maintenance management systems, control systems
  • Understanding of equipment operation and maintenance practices
  • Knowledge Management Skills
  • Ability to filter all possible information that could be included in a BIM to what is of greatest value
  • Strong communication, planning, and innovative thinking
  • Comfortable using a computer for decision making

Characteristics in order to substantiate BIM use:


Implementing BIM for maintenance scheduling can be done for an existing building or a newly constructed building. Implementing BIM for maintenance scheduling on a new building is likely to encounter fewer challenges because in many cases it is likely that more comprehensive information will be avaliable.


To successfully implement BIM for maintenance scheduling requires an organization that is committed to: Setting realistic goals about how BIM can be used for maintenance scheduling and the challenges of collecting maintenance data. * Accurately assessing current maintenance practices and understanding how current practices will impact the implementation of BIM. Accurately estimation of the time and number of personnel who will need to be tasked to maintain the BIM. Environment

Implementing BIM for maintenance scheduling in environmentally sensitive indoor environments, such as semi-conductor manufacturing facilities and hospitals, will likely reduce equipment down time. In a semi-conductor facility mechanical equipment downtime can greatly impact profit margins. In a hospital, downtime can negatively impact patient care.


When a building owner would like to use BIM for maintenance scheduling, it is important that the use and contract agreements about how BIM is used during the design and construction phase be understood. Questions to ask include:
  • Will BIM be used during design? construction? If so, how will the contract be structured? Will the owner receive ownership of the BIM after the building is in operation?
  • Will a Record ModelBIM be developed?
  • How BIM is used during the design and construction phase, as well as the contract terms, will greatly impact the success of implementing BIM during operation.


Building maintenance and operations is a complex and interdisciplinary, requiring the skill sets of many stakeholders. Proper planning, at both technical and personnel levels, is required for successful implementation.

Potential Modeling Methods:

Linking a Record Model with a building automation system (BAS)
Linking a Record Model with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)
Linking a Record Model with a User-Friendly Dashboard Interface. The User-Friendly Dashboard Interface could be used to convey building performance information and/or other information to educate building users about a building.


Building Automation System (BAS): The 'interface' between the mechanical and/or lighting equipment in a building and the controls (sensors, meters, relays, etc) that operate the building.
Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS): A computer-based system to collect, organize, and plan maintenance activities
Dashboard Interface: Digital screen linked to a computer that displays information to a targeted user group, such as building users

Maintenance programs that focus on non-reactive approaches have been documented to have a lower life cycle cost than reactive maintenance programs. For example, reactive maintenance program costs $18 per horsepower per year. However, proactive forms of maintenance can cost:

Potential Outputs:

$13 per horsepower per year for Preventative Maintenance
$9 per horsepower per year for Predictive Maintenance
$6 per horsepower per year for Reliability Centered Maintenance (Piotrowski 2001).

Similar data, based on maintenance scheduling using BIM is not yet available in the literature.

Legal/Committment Considerations:

Legal (contract) impacts have been addressed in the "Contract" part of the "Characteristics in Order to Substantiate BIM Use" portion of this page.

To implement BIM for maintenance scheduling will take a large commitment by the owner, building operators and other building users, and should not be implemented carelessly. To implement BIM for maintenance will require considerations, such as:
Understanding of maintenance practices: Why different approaches are used for different equipment, the working relationship between facility managers and maintenance staff, and cost-benefit relationships between different maintenance approaches. Understanding of availability of maintenance records. If records are not available, a plan to collect and organize maintenance records must be developed. Understanding of building operation: equipment, janitorial personnel, equipment operators and building users

Additional Resources:

Campbell, D.A. (2007). BIM - Web Applications for AEC, Web 3D Symposium.
Fallon, K. (2008). Interoperability: Critical to Achieving BIM Benefits. AIA Edges Website: Singh, H.; W.H. Dunn. (2008). Integrating Facilities Stovepipes for Total Asset Management (TAM). Journal of Building Information Modeling, Spring 2008. http://www.aia.org/nwsltr_tap.cfm?pagename=tap_a_0704_interop
Maintenance Definitions and Data:
ASHRAE (2003). HVAC Design Manual for Hospitals and Clinics. Atlanta, GA. FEMP. (2004). Federal Energy Management Program. O&M Best Practices: A Guide to Achieving Operational Efficiency, Release 2.0. July 2004. www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/pds/OM_5.pdf. (Accessed August 21, 2008Piotrowski, J. (2001). Pro-Active Maintenance for Pumps, Achives, February 2001, Pump-Zone.com (Accessed August 21, 2008).

Quantitative Studies:
None found, to date.

Case Study Examples:
UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI): Proof of concept for software and to encourage commercial software development (Fallon 2008)

Software Application:
OMSI: Operation and Maintenance Support Information (developed by NAVFAC: Naval Facilities Engineering Command)

Data Format:
COBIE: Construction Operations Building Information Exchange