The difference between preventative and reactive maintenance


In facilities management, maintenance is an essential component of keeping equipment and assets fully functional for as long as possible. 

Having a well-thought out strategy when problems arise is vital as many maintenance processes will have an impact on time and overall productivity of a business. 

But have you ever wondered what the difference is between preventative and reactive maintenance? 

In this article, we will be distinguishing the two types of maintenance to help you gain a better understanding of what’s involved, and decide which one is the most beneficial to you and your project. 

Preventative Maintenance 

Preventative building maintenance (PM) is the act of performing certain tasks before something goes wrong, and needs to be done often enough to prevent failure from occurring. 

This method is proven to be more cost-effective and more manageable for teams to effectively organise and predict the likelihood of a breakdown; using real-time measurements and historical data.

Typically, preventative maintenance works to expand the lifespan of a company’s assets, equipment and infrastructure, ensuring organisations remain proactive and minimize disruption. 

Preventative maintenance includes cleaning parts of a building or machine that are easy to access, checking equipment for signs of damage, replacing worn equipment, repairing minor damage, and checking fuses and batteries in devices like emergency exit lighting systems.

Reactive Maintenance 

Reactive building or machine maintenance is typically performed when there has been some kind of unexpected issue with a piece of equipment due to negligence. 

This is the main difference between preventative and reactive maintenance. When PM isn’t done on time, or at all, RM is required to fix the equipment on the fly and return it to its full operational capacity. 

It can be a good strategy under the right circumstances, for example, changing a light bulb when it’s finally burnt out (run-to-fail maintenance), improving a squeaky door hinge, emergency maintenance activities in responding to flooding and drainage pipeline issues, or amending a rusted part of equipment.

Unfortunately, it can lead to more expensive repairs and replacements of parts, alongside a delay in services and possibly overwhelm facility management teams when not handled correctly as a result. 

Get in touch 

Make sure your business is running smoothly 24/7 with hebs Group Limited. We offer a fully proven and established maintenance service to our customers, allowing each client to individually select which service is appropriate for their ongoing needs.

Contact us now on 0151 2360707 or drop us an email to we’ll be happy to help with any enquiries. 


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