What is Maintenance?

Maintenance is a combination of actions carried out to retain an item/machine/equipment/system/plant in order to restore it to an acceptable working condition

The purpose of maintenance is to increase the system availability. The term maintenance covers the following aspects:

a) Inspection of the item/plant/equipment/machine/system.

b) Repair of the defects if any

c) Minor modification in order to reduce maintenance efforts.

The terms maintenance and engineering have different meanings to different people. In some hotels in recent years, the terms have been combined under the heading of facilities management or facilities engineering. The maintenance and engineering department has been treated as a catch-all department, which literally means that if a problem is not related to food, marketing or sales, housekeeping or accounting, then it must be a maintenance and engineering responsibility.

Introduction and Scope in Hotels

• Works almost behind the scenes.

• Fulfils tremendously important function of providing the atmosphere & comforts demanded by the guests.

• Requires the principles of management & their application for efficient operations

• Care & operation of physical plant is the responsibility of engineering or maintenance department.

• Lodging establishments are in constant quest for better guest service & edge in the market place, with the help of various technological innovations. As the lodging facilities have grown in size, they have also grown in their complexity of design, systems & services viz. HVAC, hot & cold water system, storm & sanitary sewer, lighting, telephone. Refrigeration, cable TV, Fire protection, vertical transportations like elevators & escalators, PCs in guest rooms etc. Each bring with them new demands on facility designers & on engineering & maintenance division. They require qualified engineers & the individuals with specialized skills for their operation. Out of the basic services viz. Water, sewer, fuel, electricity, communication, & refuse removal purchased from a reliable local vender, many locations & properties need to supply their own electricity, dispose their own waters & operate other systems.

• Either directly or indirectly affects the operations of other departments— as the departments depend upon the efficient, updated physical plant like grounds, building structure, building systems, interior finishes viz. Paints carpeting, wall paper etc, & FFE I.e. furniture, fixtures & equipments. However other parts of the physical plant viz. the structural steel, plumbing & the guest seldom see large amount of HVAC i.e. heating, ventilation & AC system. The elements of physical plant consume a significant fraction of maintenance & energy cost incurred over the building’s lifetime.



• Continuous attention is required for operating the buildings effectively.

• Building & installed systems require basic maintenance, repair or replacement of failed parts, calibration of controls & equipment, attention to the factors posing safety problems & inevitably a major renovation or rehabilitation. Failure to pay attention to these needs leads to poor operating performance of the building, ultimately affecting the guest’s perception of Quality, employees & profitability of the operation. Failure of systems to work property, viz. AC that is maintaining the types of indoor conditions that result in guest comfort draws unnecessary attention & creates managerial nightmares, which should be almost invisible to the guest.


• A large number of basic activities need to be undertaken if the building is to preserve its initial appearance & function.

• Approximately 5% of the POM budget is spent on non-labour aspects of the building maintenance.

• Involves taking care of the deterioration of the building surfaces, pitting & erosion of the exterior surfaces + cleaning of the exterior surfaces without worsening & damaging them + protective treatments to retard corrosion & repel the attack of moisture –entrained pollutants + Repair of roofing leakages, reproofing the entire building, roofing system maintenance also are important concerns —-As a failure of any type generates problems elsewhere & is highly visible to the guest & the employees.


• These very visible features contribute to the overall experience either positively or negatively.

• Proper maintenance of these is the direct responsibility of the department’s staff.

• Because of lot of use, these are replaced within first 10 years by the department itself or under supervision of the outside contractors.

• About 2-3% of total POM budget is spend on the furniture, & 2.5-4.5% on painting & decorating. The labour component of the POM budget for these items is somewhat larger than on the non – labour amount. Activities viz. painting are labour intensive.

Many establishments include a portion of guest room maintenance in the preventive maintenance schedule, including various aspects viz. inspection & checking that contribute to the estimated high labour cost component of the maintenance.


• Astounding amount of equipment representing 30-40%of the initial investment in the property is installed in a modern hotel or motel in the guest room, public spaces, pools, kitchen , laundry etc.

• Repair & maintenance of these is the responsibility of the engineering department i.e. to keep in an existing state or to preserve from failure or decline as failure to operate them effectively affects the customer satisfaction, energy expenditure due to reduced efficiency, significant safety problems endangering the guests, employees or both & the ability of other departments to operate effectively.

• Repair expenses especially from a breakdown have significant effect on the cost of maintenance. Approximately 12% of the average POM budget is expended directly for maintenance of electrical & mechanical equipment.


• As approximately 11% of the total property budget is the responsibility of the engineering department, there is need for accurate budgeting & cost control.

• Unfortunately development & control of this budget is not approached with the level of care & analysis required.


• Security concerns involve physical assets of the property, employees & guests. Safety concerns involves the potential for personal injury to both employees & guests.

• In smaller establishments it is largely the responsibility of engineering manager.

• Specific concerns with the engineering area are — key control, lock rotation & maintenance, control of tools & supplies, emergency response to fires & other potentially dangerous situation, safe operation of tools & equipment, interacting with outside contractors etc.


• The requirements of legal nature imposed on the property either directly or indirectly by the national, state & local authorities, trade unions & contractors are the responsibility of engineering department.

• Examples of requirements posed by the government are — Elevator inspection & certification, Fire code compliance, health / sanitary code compliance, environmental protection agency compliance, occupational safety & health act compliance.

• Contractual responsibilities pertain to the contracts issued as the part of maintenance department’s budget for the work to be performed by the outside vendors viz. Water treatment, Trash removal, charging fire extinguishers, cleaning & painting of kitchen

duct work, maintenance of major pieces of HVAC equipment, periodic calibration of control, fire alarms & communication systems, major work to renovate or repair building & grounds etc.


• Immediate access may be required to the unique parts & supplies that require long lead time when they are ordered to operate portions of the facility safely & comfortably to effect repairs.

• For this purpose —an adequate parts & supplies inventory & control over purchases & storage of these items are very important.


• Need to redecorate & renovate because of wear & tear caused by use, changing needs for space, & to support a new concept is very common.

• Expenditures in these areas are greater each year than on new properties.

• Work performed in some of these tasks may be the responsibility of the maintenance department in the form of actual performance of the work or supervising outside contractors as they perform the necessary tasks.

• Construction of an addition by an outside contractor is fairly common for a successful property. Maintenance department is involved during the design & start up of this addition w.r.t. the information regarding location of various services ,shutting down the portion of operation to effect interconnections, maintenance concern in design, equipment selection, safety during construction & many other issues.

• During massive restoration it may become necessary to remove a property for some time from service or to go for adaptive reuse by modifying the property that was not originally built for the lodging purpose. The responsibilities are similar to those for an addition. Involving the person who will become the building engineer can give greater understanding of the building & can enhance the ability to maintain it, once the work is finished.


• Engineering department is called upon to perform many special projects with introduction of new technologies & needs of customers for special services.

• Examples installing or supervising installation of property owned telephone systems, energy conservation equipment, dedicated electric lines for computerization, additional electrical or HVAC systems, special floor coverings modifications to workspaces.

• Construction of display stands, protective barriers & kiosks for special events. Additional electrical services, phone services & special lighting for trade shows etc. require the input of engineering in negotiating stages of the contract for the event to ensure that costs are recovered & necessary services are ready when the customers arrive.


• People hired viz electricians, painters & carpenters already possess specific skills or abilities.

• Although some responsibility exists to maintain the skill levels, primary focus of training is to inform employees about the standards & specific requirements of the property at which they are employed.

• Training may be grouped as general, departmental & job- specific training.


Managing the maintenance and engineering system for hotel building might be defined as: design, construction, occupancy and use, repair, renovation and disposal. The manager of engineering and maintenance will have a difficult time keeping the unit on track if there is no end goal or set of guiding objectives. It is difficult to apply a common standard to all the facilities.


The physical plant of hotel is very complex. Hotel industry provides various services. Qualified service depends upon the proper functioning of physical plant. Different types of maintenance generally followed in hotel industry include the following:


• Activities pertain to the general upkeep of the property, occurring outside the formal work order systems, requiring no specific records of time or materials.

• Recur on a daily or weekly i.e. on a regular basis viz. sweeping carpets, washing floors, cleaning readily accessible windows Cutting grass, cleaning guest rooms, shovelling snow, replacing burned out bulbs etc.

• Relatively minimum skills required.


It is based on the principle that the continuous functioning of certain equipment & system components is essential to the habitability & productive process of a building & that these require periodic monitoring inspection servicing & maintenance to prevent their failure.

• Much more directed, specific, having element of inspection & decision going beyond those generally engaged in by individuals in janitorial position.

• Routine, recurring work, scheduled, recurs in much longer time frame.

• Requires individuals with more advanced skills & training.

• Activities performed based on the guidelines from the equipments manufacturers & the building engineer.

• Actions prolong the life of piece of equipment + to minimize the breakdown of equipment , keep a facility in such condition that it may be utilized at its original or designed capacity & efficiency e.g.to keep the equipment operating at or near its rated level.

• Initiated to delay the occurrence of a problem or to make a minor correction.

• Very important in hotel industry where most important cost is the goodwill of customers.

• In good preventive maintenance procedures , user & maintenance departments should coordinate to minimize the equipment down time, costly repairs & interruption to make possible to plan & schedule maintenance work with least amount of interruption & for achieving max. production at min. repair cost.

• One of the main objectives is to find any condition that may cause machine failure before such a breakdown occurs.

• The basic preventive maintenance program consists of : a) Periodic inspection of machinery utilities & buildings frequency be determined by experience or by recommendations of manufactures till the experience is gained.

b) Reporting of breakdown so that they can be analyzed & corrective action can be taken to prevent it from becoming repetitive.

• Certain number of forms & records are necessary for any preventive maintenance program depending on the size of plant .

• Sound operating procedures & planned preventive maintenance benefits: mechanical systems operating at design specifications , optimum reliability of equipment , extended life of equipment , maximum return on capital investment ,minimum operating costs, safety from hazards to personnel & property.


• Refers to activities initiated at the property based on a formal work order or a similar document that identifies a known problem or need.

• Attempts to meet known needs in an orderly & timely manner consistent with overall needs & demands at the property.


The principle of this approach is that the operation of certain equipment & system components is not functionally or economically critical & therefore does not warrant the need for periodic inspection. The approach presumes that the inspection is restricted to those components that require it into continuous function. E.g. lubrication of moving parts falls into this category. However, periodic calibration of control sensors is not required under breakdown program & would be checked only when design conditions were not maintained.

• Both represent the poorly managed primary mode of operation of the engineering department.

• Emergency maintenance is an expensive services as the scheduled activities get disrupted , room may be removed from service causes guest discomfort / deterioration in the quality of the work place , delayed problem solving & high level of Inconvenience.

• Breakdown maintenance is restoration of a facility to a condition substantially equivalent to its original or designed capacity and efficiency by replacement of parts, overhaul or reprocessing of materials after deterioration. Required when a piece of equipment or a structural component fails completely and must be repaired immediately as the operation will get shut down otherwise, and is the most expensive as there is potential for loss of business/production in addition to the cost of repair.


The decision to perform maintenance is under the control of the engineering manager. A contract is an agreement in legal form. The parts of contract may be sublet to sub-contractors. Fairness is a prominent part of a contract. There should be honest contractor, no chances of inferior workmanship or cheaper substitutions. The right to choose between the bidders be reserved with the owner. Outside contracts provide routine, preventive and scheduled maintenance. They also handle the specific needs of a property viz. For special equipment required or which are infrequent and beyond the scope of the property engineering staff.

Many commercial buildings rely on contract janitorial services for interior cleaning of the whole building in the lodging industry. Use of contract cleaning is usually limited to the public spaces.

Contract maintenance services include: water treatment and equipment service contracts, also extending to special needs category. Some special skills and equipment are necessary to perform these services viz. Handling of HVAC equipment by contract due to small onsite workforce and their skill levels. The special needs or skills required to calibrate building controls, charging of fire extinguishers. To test and adjust building fire alarm system all result becoming contracted services. The special equipment needed to clean kitchen duct work, disposal of grease and other refuse, removal of snow from parking lots are often been contracted.

Advantages of Contract Maintenance:

• Reduction of total labour cost.

• Reduction of cost of supplies and equipment.

• Use of latest techniques plus methods.

• Saving of administrative time.

• Flexibility in meeting emergencies plus needs for changes

• No need to negotiate with the unions.

• No need to recruit plus train the employees.

Disadvantages of Contract Maintenance:

• False labour cost savings unless staffing levels are reduced actually.

• Escalation in total cost without property level monitoring and control.

• Failure to negotiate best price for service due to managerial laziness and no competitive bidding.

• Unavailability of employees for other tasks.

• Loss of control over employees with respect to security, attitude, identity with property.

• Loss of contact with the needs of facility and staff.

Responsibilities of Engineering Manager w.r.t. Contracts.

It is important that the contractors should have appropriate insurance coverage for the employees working at the property. The contract should be carefully structured, defining exactly the work to be performed. Review of contract helps to identify the work not required or not to be performed frequently as the contract specifies. The work performed by contractors should be inspected to ensure that it meets the standards of the contract. The entry of contractor’s employees should be controlled and limited to the needed areas only. Finally it is important that the contractors perform work in a manner consistent with safety concerns of the property, local courts, and other relevant rules and regulations. The engineering manger or representative should be involved actively in all these activities.



In this case the owner agrees to pay a definite stated sum upon completion of the work. However, for each new change a new contract must be made. The rigidity of such contract is apt in the long run to operate against the wishes and benefits of the owner. Also, the plans and specifications must be completed in advance to save time. There should a provision for decreasing or increasing the amount of payment according to varying indices available. However, such provision is nevertheless mentioned in passing because of aptness of the opportunity. Also, the conflicting interests of owner and contractor may lead to cost cutting or cheapening of quality. With all these advantages, however, because it is subject to bidding, it insures the lowest possible costs to the owner.


• No uncertain conditions involved.

• Prices reasonably stable.


• Costs known beforehand.

• Low costs.


• Complete plans & specifications be prepared beforehand, which is extremely difficult & time consuming.

• Changes cannot be made readily.

• Owner has no voice in making changes sometimes.

• Work may be cheapened.

• Conflicting interests of owner and contractor.


It generally exists between the general contractor and the sib-contractors specially when the work has to be done in large quantities and each small division is a replica of every other division viz. removal of dirt from a excavation at a unit price per cubic yard. Plans and specifications need not to be complete as the work is quite simple. There is no difficulty experienced in obtaining bids. However, the cost of entire job cannot be approximated as it cannot be known in advance.


• Where nature of work is understood clearly.

• Where quantity of work is not known accurately.

• Applicable to work between general and sub-contractors.


• Plans do not necessarily have to be complete.

• Bids cannot be determined quickly.


• Unbalanced bids may result.

• Total cost not known.


This type of contract provides for a payment to the contractors of the actual cost plus an agreed percentage of the costs. If this agreement is entered into, the items to be included under costs should be specified definitely. It is expected that the office costs, overheads, travelling expenses, supervision of sub-contractors, etc. are borne by the contractor out of this percentage.


• Where the plans are not complete.

• Where prices are stable.


• Owner has full control.

• Work can be started immediately.

• Extremely fair.

• Excellent results.


• Cost is not known.

• Cost may be higher.

• Many decisions to be made by the owner, who may not be competent to handle them.

Cost Plus Contract with Modifications:

Several types of modifications appear to circumvent some disadvantages of the cost plus contract.


Under this type the contractor is employed for a set fee, the cost is carried by the owner. This limits the cost to some extent & reduces profit of the contractor. If the costs go up or down both the parties are protected. There is no incentive for the contractor to increase the cost.


It is quite similar to the cost plus fee contract except that the contractor agrees that the total cost shall not go above a predetermined amount and the additional cost shall be shared by the contractor. This applies where plans and specifications are less specific than in the cost plus fee type.

Any form of contract may be highly modified with the service penalties for failure to complete within a given time and offsetting bonuses for completion before that time and in the final analysis, whatever form the contract takes a matter for contracting parties to determine.


Replacement is performed when a piece of equipment or a facility component has reached the end of its useful life, that is, when the equipment or facility component can no longer perform effectively and repair is no longer cost effective. Typically, the replacement of major facility components might focus on executing a planned program, which replaces failing equipment before failure with new or rebuilt components that have a lower life cycle cost.

Here are two types of equipment

1. Which gradually deteriorates e.g. AC plant, Washing Machine, etc.

2. Which suddenly fails e.g. bulbs.

The equipment which gradually deteriorates are replaced in the following circumstances:

a) Inadequacy: The existing machine or equipment may be incapable of meeting increased demand so the alternative equipment or machine is installed which can meet the demand.

b) Obsolescence: New equipment is continuously being developed which performs the same operation, function as the exixting one but substantial saving can be gained by replacement e.g. computer.

c) Excessive Maintenance: Machine and other complex equipment rarely incur uniform wear. Some elements or components are likely to deteriorate faster before other, e.g. Mixer grinder.

d) Decreased efficiency: Equipment sometimes operates at an initial peak efficiency which decline with time and use. The reduction of efficiency may require increased power consumption and more time, e.g. Water pump.

e) Combination of causes: Equipment may begin with more maintenance or it may begin to operate at a reduced level of efficiency, e.g. AC plant.

Equipment or machinery wear out gradually and slowly, starts consuming more energy and power. Its output decreases, this is one of the reasons for the replacement of equipment. The cost of maintenance and repair increases with the use and aging of a unit, this can be analysed to determine the cycle of replacement. An accurate record can be found in maintenance log. The log should contain all repair costs and energy consumption data.

By observing a record of maintenance, repair and energy cost for a unit of equipment, one can find that, there is no apparent pattern to these costs other than a tendency to increase with time. The rate of cost increase is a critical analysis factor. The total cost of operation, excluding depreciation and opportunity costs.

The equipment which suddenly fails is replaced depending on average life and replacement cost.

Operation pattern equipment which may fail without notice, e.g. bulb, MCB, etc. Apparently they stop with no sign or warning, they are normally replaced and repaired but due to completion of the life span they have to be changed. The exact time can only be estimated from probability theory.

The replacement procedure becomes economically feasible when labour cost is high in relation t the cost of the item being replaced. The cost of labour includes the preparation, removal, installation and clean-up man-hours for replacing items. It also assumes that if items fail prematurely, they will be replaced on a routine basis. This is called Spot Replacement. Hence sending electrician to guest room to replace all the lamps in the room while an electrician is in room. This is called Group Replacement.

by- chef abheek parmanick