What Is Deferred Maintenance, And Why Does It Matter?

Deferred maintenance refers to repairs to machinery or a building that are delayed. The work to be completed is postponed until the budget is sufficient to permit repairs to be carried out. This delay could be seen as a cost-cutting exercise and a way of achieving budgets. If maintenance is delayed, it usually is due to a lack of funds.

Although it is viewed as a ‘simple decision’ to ignore the need for maintenance, it could cause a higher cost to address the issue and the subsequent repairs. Additionally, delaying the inevitable repair can have a knock-on effect.

If a business doesn’t fix its air conditioning system promptly, it is at risk of an increase in the load on other assets like the electrical systems. This could increase the chance of fire or injury to customers and employees.

Failing to fix issues as they arise can tarnish a brand or cause home repairs to be twice as costly. When deferred maintenance is needed, it is usually because a budgetary or financial limit has been met for a specific month, causing repairs to be deferred until later. It is crucial for those who decide to delay repairs to prioritize those repairs for the month following if no budgetary restrictions are present for the month. It is easy to overlook or ignore the maintenance.

With the significant advancements in technology, both small and medium businesses can quickly invest in an instrument that can detect potential problems before they occur and consequently disrupt operations, costing the company more. Monitoring systems can be used to plan. If maintenance is planned, it will ensure the right and ideal allocation of funds to ensure that any issues that might arise can be dealt with promptly.

For homeowners, it is best to have the funds for repairs. It’s also best to replace a damaged gutter before water continually drips, creating an increase in mold or weakening the foundation of your home.

What Is Deferred Maintenance?

Deferred maintenance definition is simply the practice of placing maintenance issues on a list instead of responding to them promptly. Facilities may choose this method for various reasons that all are based on resources:

Insufficient staff Lack of personnel: Manufacturers are aware of the challenges of maintaining a complete maintenance team. If they are short of staff, it is evident that there are not enough skilled technicians to handle every problem that comes up. Therefore, problems are pushed in the backlog.

Insufficient equipment or parts for problems with inventory management and storeroom mismanagement, or even inventory mistakes, it could be impossible or difficult to locate the proper parts or equipment to carry out repairs. If this is the case, problems are usually pushed in a backlog that can be dealt with later with the appropriate equipment is in stock.

Insufficient time: When you’re under pressure to complete an order, an issue that doesn’t directly result in a shutdown can be misinterpreted as not critical and not worthy of taking the time to address as soon as possible.

Budgets for maintenance are often a bit tight. They are generally kept minimal as possible, allowing facilities to focus on investments perceived as direct contributors to production. The budgets may be stretched to their limit before the final planning year. This results in not-critical repairs being delayed for expected crucial repairs.

Why Deferred Maintenance Matters

While having a significant maintenance backlog is a typical issue, it does not mean that it has to be considered a matter of slackness. Management of deferred maintenance is a crucial aspect of the job of a facility director, maintenance planner and everyone in the company must be aware of the long-term implications the list of tasks can be having.

The delay in maintenance can have a considerable impact on the safety of the occupants and asset performance and increase the chance of sudden breakdowns. When the maintenance of facilities is delayed in time, the component or asset condition will only worsen. It creates situations in which unpredictable breakdowns will be more common in the short term.

In the long run, this could reduce the useful life of an asset and could require renewal or replacement sooner than planned. All deferred maintenance is not alike. When deciding on the type of maintenance to delay or which tasks in the maintenance backlog should be completed, it is essential to understand the risk that comes with it.

There is also the cost-benefit to consider when deciding to prioritize tasks that are deferred for maintenance. Doing maintenance work in a timely manner is more affordable than dealing with more severe problems later. Let’s consider filter changes in your HVAC, for instance.

The change of filters might appear like a simple way to save some dollars, or perhaps your staff has no time for it, particularly if you have larger maintenance projects taking place. However, the more time the older filters are in use to the extent that dust builds up within your system, the more your system will have to perform. This increases the likelihood of a significant failure taking place.

Why Should Facilities Managers Care?

The main goals of a facility manager are to negotiate with the engineer and the facility owner regarding what repairs must be made, what maintenance is appropriate to which asset, and the best way to ensure that repairs are monitored to keep expenses to the minimum.

Deferred maintenance is a typical problem faced by all facility managers to accomplish the goals that were mentioned earlier. In some situations, delayed maintenance could be an excellent idea to help keep costs for managing facilities lower. However, deferred maintenance reduces the inevitable maintenance delays and the costs that accompany it.

Delaying repairs due to deferred maintenance could put your company at risk and cause costs rising, downtime for assets, and more harm in your organization. If equipment malfunctions, the issue should be addressed quickly so that other systems are only required to make up for the assets in a brief period.