Are Facility Management & Facility Maintenance the Same?

Are Facility Management & Facility Maintenance the Same?

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. 

"man-age-ment"

  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

"main-te-nance"

  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.

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