Are Facility Management & Facility Maintenance the Same?

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Over the past 12 years, I have met with dozens of administrators, executive pastors, operations directors, and facility personnel. Through my experience, I have seen a discrepancy between how people define these two phrases: facility management and facility maintenance. While these phrases are often used interchangeably, they are not entirely synonymous. Therefore, in the following sections, I will explain patterns I have seen and why I believe they are not the same. 

Facility Management & Facility Maintenance Defined

First, let’s explore the definitions of both “management” and “maintenance” as two different entities not related to facilities. 


  1. The organization and coordination of the activities of a business to achieve defined objectives
  2. The act or manner of managing; handling, direction, or control
  3. The technique, practice, or science of managing, controlling, or dealing with


  1. The act of maintaining
  2. Care or upkeep, as of machinery or property
  3. The work needed to keep a road, building, machine, or another piece of equipment in good condition

Commonalities, Differences, and Synonyms

As we can see above, there are a few differences between the two. Here is what I take away: 

  • Management defines the act of being proactive.
  • Management requires a skill to lead and direct the activities of an organization or team.
  • Maintenance develops a way to maintain the status quo.
  • Maintenance focuses on the care and upkeep of something which may be seen as reactive.

Now, let’s look at several other words and phrases that describe management and maintenance, to go a step further: 

facility management compared to facility maintenance

Conclusion: There is a Difference

In short, management and maintenance are different, especially as it relates to facilities. Facility management should be proactive in staffing, saving, and servicing. Additionally, it should also involve keeping up with the best tech ideas, security planning, budgeting, life cycle planning, sustainable practices, and more. 

Lastly, facility management staff should be improving operations such as set-up, design, and space usage rather than simply caring out work orders or manual instructions. In most church settings, these functions are a last-minute jolt and are not intentionally planned. In short, facility management is working “on” versus simply “in” a process.

To learn more about facility management as a whole and how software can help, download our newly released eBook: Church Facility Management Software: What It Is and How It Can Help.

Tim Cool
Chief Executive Officer
Tim Cool is the President and CEO of Smart Church Solutions and takes great pride in helping churches optimize their facilities. When he’s not at the helm of his company, he’s dedicated to his family, being a husband to Lisa and a father to 27-year-old triplets. An enthusiast of the outdoors, Tim enjoys the simplicity of hiking in the North Carolina mountains.