Start a free 7 day trial on our Business Plus plan.

What is the difference between facility management and facility maintenance?

Facilities management and facilities maintenance. Is this like “you said to-ma-to and I say to-mah-to”? It can be tempting to use these two phrases interchangeably, but they are really significantly different. Let’s take a look at why and what each phrase should encompass.

Management and Maintenance: Definitions

Management typically means directing, organizing, or coordinating something from a top level. Maintenance, on the other hand, involves the caring for and upkeep of a building, property, or equipment. It’s the nitty-gritty work, usually directed by someone who is managing.

That said, management is the big picture or the forest, so to speak. It’s typically proactive and preventive and involves someone looking ahead and paving the way. It has a long-term, systematic viewpoint with goals of increasing the lifecycle of a facility and equipment as well as reducing costs over time.

Maintenance, on the other hand, are the details or the trees in the forest. Maintenance tends to be more reactive, immediate, and corrective. It has a short-term vision and works to halt the current problem or issue as quickly as possible with as little disruption as possible. It can be seen as more of a patch or a quick fix.

Both facilities management and facilities maintenance have important roles to play.

Role of Facilities Management

Facility management includes maintenance, but also much more. Management means being proactive in looking for ways to improve the maintenance process, staff, and service. This includes incorporating best practices, hiring or firing contractors when needed, and adopting new technology.

Role of Facilities Maintenance

Facility maintenance must be focused on keeping things running on a day-to-day basis. Technicians execute work orders, respond to emergency repairs, and keep things like heating , cooling, electrical, and plumbing systems functioning. Maintenance means carrying out the work laid out by the facility management team, reporting back data that can help shape future management decisions, and helping the core business focus on what it needs to do to deliver its products and services to customers.