Facility managers are being pulled in so many directions that the idea of preventative maintenance feels impossible. The good news is that the computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) they already use to create, and track work orders can help.

By optimizing the CMMS, facility managers can cut utility costs, streamline operations, and even stay on top of preventive maintenance.


A CMMS is designed to give facility managers a full picture of the systems and equipment in every area of the building. That way when an issue arises, they have all the information they need to solve the problem. Unfortunately, many CMMS are not populated with complete data. To optimize your CMMS with complete, accurate data:  

ONE: Create a Comprehensive Equipment Inventory  

Each piece of equipment should be identified, verified, photographed, and logged in the CMMS. Make sure the team or consultant documenting equipment has a standard naming convention before the process begins.  

Is it an AHU (air handling unit) on the ground floor in fair condition or one on the first floor in good condition? The bigger the site or the more sites across geographic locations, the easier it is for naming confusion to stymie preventive maintenance efforts.   

Names should consistently reflect type of equipment, location (room number, floor number, and building number), capacity, condition, UniFormat code, and other unique identifiers. At a minimum, equipment and building system inventory should include HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and life safety systems. We also recommend any specialized equipment, vertical transportation, or commercial kitchen appliances be included.  
TWO: Barcoding and Asset Tagging   

It’s all about mobile devices these days, so the inventory process should ideally include the application of easily read QR codes or barcodes. The asset tagging process includes applying a durable barcode/QR code/asset tag with a unique number for use as an identifier in the CMMS system. Barcode/QR code numbers will be recorded in the database and all future work orders can be tied back to a single piece of equipment or building system.   

One consideration is the quality of barcode label or tag utilized.  While a roll of labels at a low price is easily found on the internet – the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ may apply.  Field experience reveals that these affordable labels rarely last a year due to adhesion failure or loss of legibility because of fading.  There are foil, aluminum, and metal labels with industrial adhesives and Metalphoto® printing that will survive both outdoor environments or harsh indoor environments and maintain readability for decades.   

THREE: Develop a customized Preventive Maintenance Plan  

A preventive maintenance plan that identifies and flags required procedures and inspections should also be uploaded into your CMMS. The plan, in connection with the comprehensive equipment inventory, will chart what needs to be done in the weeks, months, quarters, and years ahead.  

A preventive maintenance plan is generally based on the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance recommendations, applicable national standards, industry best practices, and RSMeans maintenance routines. It should also include a labor estimate that incorporates recommended routines as well as frequency and time requirements.

For healthcare portfolios, an Alternate Equipment Management (AEM) program may be enforced by hospitals that intend to deviate from OEM recommendations. Strict record-keeping of AEM equipment must be kept to comply with various National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)Joint Commission (JCAHO),  and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).



Far too many facilities are stuck only using their CMMS to produce and track work orders. They have moved beyond logging calls with index cards, but their systems are being used solely as reactive work order clearinghouses to deal with what is broken. At this level, preventive maintenance is a bit of a misnomer because very little prevention is being done.  

Let’s say Room 107 is too cold. A call is made, and the work order is entered, and then maintenance is dispatched to sort things out. The CMMS can’t really tell the facility team anything about what’s in Room 107 because the data within the system is incomplete. The limited information causes the technician to make multiple visits to determine what equipment is in the room, diagnose the problem, find or order the right parts, and address the issue. After that, Room 107 won’t be considered until a new problem arises and the cycle begins again.  


While still reactive in nature, at the next level of preventive maintenance management there is a greater utilization of the CMMS. With a comprehensive equipment inventory and basic response rules established, successfully resolving Room 107’s issue will be quicker. In this case, the CMMS informs the facility manager what equipment is in the room, saving at least one step, and possibly enabling them to address the problem in one visit. Still, Room 107 will become a distant memory after the issue is resolved.  

In this case, the CMMS informs the facility manager what equipment is in the room, saving at least one step, and possibly enabling them to address the problem in one visit. Still, Room 107 will become a distant memory after the issue is resolved.



At this point, if Room 107 gets too cold, the facility manager can access full and up-to-date equipment data. Replacement parts have been kept in stock as directed by a preventive maintenance plan, meaning no expensive rush orders will be necessary. The CMMS has also captured care and life safety standards, warranty requirements, and past inspection data. Some CMMS platforms can even alert the equipment manufacturer directly to activate a warranty claim, inform third-party maintenance vendors of work orders, or even place orders with parts suppliers.  

Maintenance can also use this time in Room 107 to address any needs that the CMMS flags such as to changing a filter or adding lubricant to equipment. Efficiency has dramatically improved, and three visits could easily have become one. The properly maintained equipment in Room 107 will also have a longer life, generating even more savings.   


Preventive maintenance improvements don’t have to happen all at once to show results. Change can be introduced incrementally, making it more manageable for busy facility managers who are already being pulled in dozens of directions every day.  

Keep Replacement Parts Ready!

An optimized CMMS will provide the framework needed to avoid costly, last minute rush orders for parts. Facility managers will be able to send their team members out on calls with the parts they need to fix the problem right then and there.

Use the Optimized CMMS to Analyze and Address Staffing Needs.

Repair and maintenance time can be tracked across rooms, buildings, and even geographically dispersed sites. This information can be used to assess staffing levels and anticipate future needs. CMMS data can be used to help convince management it is time to hire or consider outsourcing.

Turn Multiple Trips into One.

Is a filter change coming up? Will the equipment need lubricant soon? An optimized CMMS will notify the facility manager of potential maintenance so that every call is an opportunity to stay ahead.  

While most facilities have staff members with the expertise to optimize the CMMS, most don’t have the time. That’s where Bureau Veritas can help.  

Bureau Veritas’ asset management team can help facility managers optimize their CMMS so that they can focus on their daily schedules. Leveraging extensive knowledge of CMMS and a depth of industry experience to accurately determine an asset’s lifecycle condition and remaining useful life will develop consistent standards for the preventative maintenance plan. Optimizing the building’s CMMS will assist in managing (and lessen) hot/cold calls and help realize investment value in months rather than years.   

If you’re looking to master preventive maintenance by optimizing your CMMS, connect with our team of professionals here.