Technical Corner

The Importance of Facility Maintenance Tracking

March 2022

Facility maintenance recordkeeping is just as important as the task of performing the maintenance.

Facility managers understand and recognize the importance and benefits of a well-designed maintenance program. These programs reduce the potential for down time and will maximize life expectancy of all infrastructure. Having the activities documented is just as important as the legacy information that the next manager will need to continue to build upon to ensure there is no gap in the plan. Developing a system of inspection reports will assist should a legal matter, such as injuries or death occur as a result of a structure collapse or machine malfunction. Many of these inspections are repetitive and at the time are seen as being redundant or a misuse of limited staff time.  However, most are not thinking how important these reports may be 4 or 5 years in the future if a lawsuit is brought forward.

The importance of failing to act upon what an inspection uncovers is just as important.  Inspection records that indicate overlooked or disregarded issues that might have contributed to a situation will be difficult to defend. Facility managers are often pressured to work with insufficient resources to safely operate which can lead to many negative outcomes. The ORFA Recreation Facility Asset Management (RFAM) software has many different tools in the toolbox. The asset tracking software is offered at no cost to assist members in developing an inventory of what they own, where it is located and a general overview of the condition of each asset. Once a facility manager is comfortable with the data collection platform, they can move on to other modules that are available as either a stand alone or custom creation. One of the most important elements to any data collection program is ensuring that all who have access to the tools are documenting the same way.

ORFA assisted in the initial design of the RFAM program and chose to continue to support our partner Marmak for its simplicity and flexibility to adapt while keeping the same foundation.  The program does not require a large learning curve as staff became more comfortable with the tool’s options it has even greater versatility and practical information. Employee turnover can often cause challenges, but having RFAM as a common industry accepted software it reduces the amount of training as members progress in their professional pathways.

The ORFA keeps a common message to all senior facility staff during their certification or professional development sessions of the importance of staying on top of documenting repairs and maintenance. This message must be balanced with a clear understanding of those collecting the data of the importance of detail and consistency as this information should live until decommissioning of the structure occurs. There needs to be a system in every facility that diagnoses a problem, records the repair, and references any invoices that forms part of the action. Today’s facility manager must have regular meetings that promote both good maintenance and recordkeeping to continually reinforces their asset management objectives.

Comments and/or Questions may be directed to Terry Piche, CRFP, CIT and Technical Director, Ontario Recreation Facilities Association

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