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This week we will look at Part 4 of our series on the Top 5 Facilities Management Challenges.

Today we are going to look at the 2nd challenge (remember we are reviewing these in reverse order…to see Part 1, 2, and 3…which are numbers 5, 4, and 3 on the list…go to our BLOG.) As a reminder, the research we are quoting from was published by Corrigo, Inc who specializes in work order and time tracking solutions. There article lists the Top 5 Facilities Management challenges based on a survey they conducted of over 1,200 companies.

Challenge #2 Finding ways to extend the life of existing assets.

It’s not just operational budgets that are being squeezed – capital expenditures are down substantially, and that translates into keeping existing equipment and assets up and running longer. For nearly 60% of survey participants, this was the number one or number two concern for their organization. To address this challenge, many companies are continuing the trend toward more predictive and proactive maintenance programs, but the challenge is to decide how far down that road to go.

By way of analogy, consider health care. One could submit to a daily series of full diagnostic lab and physical tests, and this would undoubtedly help identify potential health risks as soon as they occur – but at an untenable cost. “The trick is to find the ‘sweet spot’ of how much testing and tweaking you need to do,” said one facility manager from the grocery industry. For example, do you need to pay to have your HVAC drive belts checked once a month to avoid a potential expensive repair? Once a quarter? Once a year?

The way to answer these types of questions and make sure you are spending the right amount of time and money on proactive versus reactive work is to have accurate historic information on your equipment and asset maintenance. Comparing real repair histories by equipment and asset type, by geography, and by manufacturer allows you to make informed decisions. You’ll have the data to support additional investment in preventative maintenance where and when it makes sense.

Summary From Survey
Spending the right amount on preventative maintenance and being able to back up that decision with accurate data can turn a facility manager into a cost saving hero.

What Facility Managers are Doing:

  • Comparing preventative vs. repair costs on all asset types and adjusting PM spending accordingly
  • Using accumulated repair data to implement intelligent, predictive maintenance schedules
  • Applying proactive maintenance on mission critical equipment


  1. If you have read our White Paper entitled Church Facilities Management: THE FACTS you will will recall that FACT #8 is PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN CORRECTIVE REPAIRS (and no, you cannot perform all tasks for less money than hiring a professional service). For many churches and ministries, this is a tough truth to grasp. When times get tough, we generally will cut or reduce what I call the “non-ministry essentials.” This may be staff positions, programs, or possibly functions. The grass may not get cut as often. The IT director is laid off. A decision is made to change your HVAC preventive maintenance from quarterly to bi-annual. Regardless of the item, these are the ones that get cut first. On the other hand, when we are in an upswing and we are ahead of budget, and have excesses cash, most churches do not stop and think about setting up a capital reserve account or reviewing their life cycle cost projects (as if they have those anyway) or increasing the maintenance budget. We immediately think that we should add more ministry staff or look at a new building (even if our old buildings are not well maintained). Again – don’t misunderstand – we need to add staff and add facilities and the like. However, we need to balance that with the need to maintain the tools and resources God has entrusted to us.
  2. As I indicated in Parts 2 and 3, most churches do not have a good system or process for tracking real costs of preventive maintenance and repair. So…how do you know how preventive maintenance can actually be a huge cost SAVER? If you do not track and document life cycle costs and the costs of preventive maintenance (PM) vs. repairs, how will you be able to determine if you are spending too much on repairs? How will you be able to determine if $1,000 a year of PM could extend the life of an asset by say 5 years. For example, if you could spend $1,000 a year to extend the life of a 10 ton HVAC unit (that would have a replacement cost of about $15,000), would that be wise stewardship? But if you are not looking at your assets from that perspective, how will you ever know. I am sure you have heard the saying that “Knowledge is Power.” In this case knowledge if is more than “power”, it is wise stewardship.

Preventive Maintenance, rather than corrective repairs, is a far better approach to caring for the resources God has entrusted to us. These are real dollars — be good stewards of these dollars and resources. Which means that you must be proactive to understand the FACTS and not just make assumptions. Become a wise steward of your facilities. Like anything in life worth having (like our spiritual life), it takes discipline, hard work, and planning.

Stay Tuned for our final segment in this series…

Also, if you missed the first 3 posts, check them out on our BLOG.

The following is another post written by my wife…you know…my better half…

You may have heard this song on the latest Rascal Flatt’s CD. (Yes, I am a Rascal Flatts fan!)

I couldn’t help but think of those words recently as my week at work was stressful and it just seemed like things were not coming together as I had hoped. Five o’clock rolled around and it was time to pick up my girls from volleyball practice. As they made their way to the car, I found myself just staring at them thinking, “things that matter, things that don’t.” Somehow the stress of the day took its proper place as I was so grateful to be their mother. Sadly, the things that really don’t matter tend to consume me and the things that really do matter don’t get the energy and focus they deserve. I am going to work on that; reminding myself daily of….”Things that matter, things that don’t.”

Lisa Cool – Life and Business Coach

Does your church meet in a facility (rented or owned)? Do you believe God has entrusted the care and stewarding of those facilities to you (or your church)? Are you proactive and intentional with these efforts? If any of these relate to you, then you need to get your copy of the Intentional Church Series: Facility Stewardship Manual.

Tim Cool
Chief Executive Officer
Tim Cool is the founder 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.