Facility Management: Deferred Maintenance and Downtime

Facility Management Deferred Maintenance and Downtime - Brisull

Your tenants and team rely on the operations of your building – and when things go wrong, everyone suffers. Deferring maintenance may seem like it saves money in the short term, but it is one of the swiftest ways to ensure you end up with unhappy tenants and business disruption. Tenant satisfaction is one of the ways your building can gain a competitive edge; errors in this area are costly and could lead to unexpected vacancies. Even worse, deferred maintenance hits your budget and leads to higher costs.

Deferred Maintenance Costs Money

Regular maintenance is an expected and planned for cost – you know how much it will cost and get peace of mind that your building will remain in good repair. When you take the risk of deferring maintenance, you court disaster. If something goes wrong, you’ll be faced with a hefty, unexpected repair bill and have some downtime you may not be able to make up later.

What is Deferred Maintenance?

Deferred maintenance refers to the practice of delaying important and scheduled repairs past the time that the manufacturer and best practices advise they be performed. Most companies who defer preventative maintenance do so to save money, but this practice often backfires. It is easy to ignore systems that seem to be up and running well and that you don’t really notice running – until something goes wrong.

Deferred Maintenance Increases Risk

Every facility manager is comfortable with a different level of risk, but most will find the risk of delaying building maintenance to be too extreme. Your maintenance team will need to work overtime to catch up when something goes wrong, as it inevitably will. Once an emergency repair is needed, your facility management team will need to focus on those repairs – and may even let other things slide to do so. You end up spending more money and time, with fewer services when you delay needed facility maintenance.

Facility Management Deferred Maintenance and Downtime - Brisull

5 Common Reasons Buildings Defer Maintenance

Deferred maintenance happens over time; often a building manager delays some things, intending to return them to the schedule, then simply forgets or can’t keep up. Falling budgets, lack of time and lack of organisation also lead to an increase in deferred maintenance. The most common causes of deferred maintenance include:

Budgets and Affordability

When you handle facilities management in-house, your own budget limitations may force your team to make choices and defer maintenance. Because of this, you could end up with faulty equipment that needs expensive attention.

Lack of Organisation

Unless you have a well thought out plan of integrated facility management in place, you could be missing things. When maintenance teams are forced to make tough decisions, things get forgotten or overlooked. Committing to an organised approach that ensures that all preventative maintenance is covered ensures you don’t take unneeded risks in this area.

Lack of Supplies and Management

If your team doesn’t have the supplies and support they need, they can’t perform needed tasks. They also need to be fully supported by technical staff as needed. Working with a building management team that handles these tasks for you can ensure that the people working to maintain your facility have the skills, training and supplies they need to properly do their jobs.


If you have your own maintenance team and have troubles keeping people on the job, you could end up with a lot of deferred maintenance. Every time you hire someone new, the list of things to do grows – and the deferred items slip further down the list. Working with a professional team ensures you are always up to date and that you always have someone working on maintenance – so there are no delays or miscommunications that could lead to delays or deferred maintenance.

Your Team Lacks Knowledge

It is tough to find a single technician who knows everything from HVAC to plumbing, and everything in between. When you have a limited budget, you have a limited team – and that could end up costing you in downtime and maintenance costs. An untrained team may not realise how much predictive maintenance is needed or know what to do for each of your important systems. 

The True Costs of Deferred Maintenance

What does deferring maintenance really cost you? Far more than money. Here are some of the risks and costs you can expect when you defer maintenance.

  • Increased safety risk: Equipment that is aging or not in good condition could cause injuries
  • Health risks: HVAC and other equipment that is not cared for could circulate unhealthy mould through the air.
  • Compliance issues: If your building is out of compliance, you face fines and sanctions; these can add up swiftly.
  • Emergency repairs: It costs far more to do an emergency repair than it does to maintain your systems in the first place.
  • Reduced efficiency: Systems that are not in good repair could lead to a loss of efficiency, and to soaring energy costs.
  • Employee turnover increase: More turnover means more costs for you – and more training time needed.

Cut your Risk by Addressing Deferred Maintenance with a Facilities Management Company

Taking the time to find and address any deferred maintenance ensures your building stays in pristine condition and that you never have to worry about unexpected downtime. Make the most of your facility and ensure your team is happy by addressing your maintenance needs and getting the help you need to keep your building functioning well.

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