M for Maintenance

Ken Sharpe considers the new CIBSE Maintenance guide. 

There was a time when buildings and their services would be designed, constructed and handed over with little, if any, thought to their future operation and maintenance. It is probably still the case in many buildings, even though many senior people in the industry — from developers, though design and construction, to operation — have long expressed concerns about the adverse consequences on the effective and economic operation of buildings.

            That attitude is addressed with the long-awaited publication by CIBSE of ‘Guide M: Maintenance engineering and management’. Its scope is indicated on the very first page: ‘A guide for designers, maintainers, building owners and operators, and facilities.’ No-one concerned with the development, ownership, operation and maintenance of buildings is omitted.

            As is explained in Guide M, the key to good performance is good management and maintenance — and the success and effectiveness of those jobs can be compromised by lack of forethought at the design and construction stages. Other issues are performance outcomes and closing the gap between design and operation.

            How Guide M can help to address these issues is spelt out in its introduction. Helping the owners of buildings and property become more aware of their responsibilities and duties will bring maintenance into a sharper focus. It will also help services designers to appreciate their role in providing installations that are safe, economic to maintain and operate so they are capable of giving satisfactory performance over their full lifespan.

            Just as those who are involved in the various stages of a building’s life are expected to think outside their own box, so Guide M is designed to relate to other guidance relating to the operation and maintenance of buildings. One such document is the SFG20 standard maintenance specification for building and engineering services published by the Building & Engineering Services Association as an online application a couple of years ago. Another is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ ‘New rules of measurement 3’, which gives guidance on the quantification and description of maintenance works for the purpose of preparing initial order of cost estimates.

            Guide M has been a long time coming, but it is already being enthusiastically received.

Ken  Sharpe

Editor, “Modern Building Services”

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