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  • Kailey McCarthy

Which Maintenance Approach is better? Proactive or Deferred?


The fact is that buildings do not get better with age.


We know that it is necessary to perform regular and routine maintenance on our assets to get maximum life and utilization. This knowledge holds true in commercial buildings just like our personal lives with our homes, cars, appliances, etc. These items last longer and perform better with routine maintenance and care.


Furthermore, there are economic benefits of spending money to save money later. Think of the comparison between the $39.95 oil changes in our cars versus the $1,995.00 upper engine block replacement because we did not do the routine maintenance. Experienced Facility Managers have learned that it is always cheaper to repair and maintain items in a building than it is to replace it.


Roofs serve as the protection for buildings. And as they are on the top of the building, they are the areas that are exposed to the harshest elements. Heavy rain and winds, rooftop traffic and extreme sun exposure are some of the common problems that roofs must withstand on a regular basis. These roofing systems must be 100% effective in order to keep water out of buildings. Proactive roof maintenance identifies issues caused by harsh elements and fixes them before they become serious problems.


Most American businesses have adopted a strategy of deferred building maintenance rather than a proactive maintenance approach. While this approach can definitely reduce short-term maintenance budgets, it almost always translates into increased maintenance and later expense for roofing failures due to neglect. In essence, companies can “pay now or pay later” when it comes to their roofs. However, with deferred roof maintenance, companies will always pay more than they would if they scheduled regular roof maintenance into their facility maintenance/management budgets.


Consider Figure 1 (Lyons, 2006), which demonstrates the two approaches: Deferred Roof Maintenance and Proactive Roof Maintenance. The chart shows that over time a deferred maintenance program will cost the company significantly more than a proactive maintenance plan.




Work Cited:

Lyons, Robert W. “Proactive vs. Deferred Roof Maintenance.” Roofing Solutions, 15 Feb. 2006.


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