Balancing the immediacy of emergency repairs with the benefits of planned maintenance and renovations is a classic challenge within facilities management. And understandably so.
When something important breaks, the owners of that asset are likely to sound an alarm and generate a sense of urgency. In an effort to demonstrate responsiveness, we approve reactionary expenditures of time and budget, hoping to swiftly quell complaints. In the meantime, assets of equal or more importance to the organization continue to deteriorate, and the impact on the overall portfolio can go overlooked.
Don’t allow emergency maintenance requests to cloud your decision making process for capital expenditures. Rather than fighting fires ad-hoc, step back and objectively assess how this emergency request fits in amongst the full portfolio of planned improvements. Create “what if” scenarios that explore different funding and scheduling alternatives to help you see all of your options.
- Can the project be scaled down to address only the most critical needs?
- Will injecting more than the requested budget eradicate the need for future maintenance on the same asset?
- Might delaying the project deliver a higher ROI for the entire portfolio?
Most importantly, develop a standard, repeatable framework to evaluate what’s worth fixing, how much budget the repair deserves, and when is the right time to repair it, based on the available funding and required level of effort. Use the framework consistently, for even the squeakiest of wheels, and witness how much more your capital budget delivers over time.