Document Detail

Title: RR142-11 - A Model Process for Maintainability Implementation
Publication Date: 12/1/1999
Product Type: Research Report
Status: Reference
Pages: 213
Russell, Meier, Moua, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
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Faced with shrinking maintenance budgets and increasingly competitive markets, maintainability is an issue of growing importance for many companies. Although, maintainability is not a “new” concept, many companies struggle with consistent, standardized maintenance input during the project delivery process. An important characteristic of any design, maintainability pertains to the ease, accuracy, safety, and economy in the performance of maintenance actions. This research examines the opportunities available through the effective inclusion of maintainability concepts during the project delivery process.

The Construction Industry Institute (CII) defines maintainability as the optimum use of facility maintenance knowledge and experience in the design/engineering of a facility that meets project objectives (Constructability Implementation Guide 1993). In this context, maintainability refers to a formal process to include relevant maintenance input during all phases of the facility delivery process. The Maintainability Research Team adopted a format similar to constructability for its research methodology and developed model process.

Research Purpose and Objectives – The primary purpose of this research is to develop a model process for incorporating maintenance knowledge and experience into the planning, design, procurement, construction, and start-up of facilities. Specific research objectives include: (1) define existing levels of maintainability implementation; (2) identify best practices that improve maintainability of capital projects; (3) compile a model process for implementing maintainability; and (4) conduct case studies to illustrate best practices and the model process for maintainability implementation.

Research Scope – Given complexity and variations of maintainability, this research focused on general practices to aid in formalization of maintainability efforts during the project delivery process. Formal implementation of maintainability is not sufficiently mature to obtain quantitative data, and it would be difficult to develop a basis for evaluation. The scope of this investigation is limited to maintainability activities during six phases of the project delivery process: (1) planning; (2) design; (3) procurement; (4) construction; (5) start-up; and (6) operations and maintenance. This research surveyed a broad cross-section of companies engaged in many different types of construction, ranging from general building to petrochemical. Capital and retrofit projects for equipment, systems, and facilities were included in this research. As maintainability most directly impacts the owner of constructed projects, this research focused on owner organizations.

Research Methodology – The research methodology included: (1) literature review; (2) a questionnaire survey; (3) 35 personal and telephone interviews; and (4) seven in-depth case studies with industry representatives.

Levels of Maintainability Implementation – The research data revealed attributes that were subjectively organized into five levels of maintainability implementation: (1) design/engineering experience; (2) effective organizational standards; (3) developing maintainability process; (4) formal maintainability process; and (5) comprehensive maintainability program. Each level expands and refines the attributes of the preceding level, increasing the opportunity for maintainability improvement on capital projects.

Model Process for Maintainability Implementation – Best practices observed during the research data collection were organized into a model process for maintainability implementation. The model process was developed to provide guidance in the planning, development, and implementation of maintainability at both the corporate and project levels. Providing an overview of the maintainability program, the model process has six milestones: (1) commit to implementing maintainability; (2) establish maintainability program; (3) obtain maintainability capabilities; (4) plan maintainability implementation; (5) implement maintainability; and (6) update maintainability program. Each milestone contains several steps and activities that further describe the details of implementation.

Practical Applications – Project-specific factors affecting the need for maintainability efforts are grouped into two categories: owner related issues and project attributes. The owner related issues are: (1) owner type; (2) past maintenance experience; (3) maintenance strategy; and (4) projected cost of maintenance. Project attributes include: (1) construction type; (2) criticality; (3) complexity; (4) projected life of facility; and (5) location. Five factors that affect how a formal maintainability process will be implemented are: (1) new versus retrofit; (2) project size; (3) project delivery system; (4) maintenance organization; and (5) related industry practices.

Conclusions – Implementation of a formal maintainability process involves a fundamental shift in the role of maintenance, from a “necessary evil” to a value adding activity, in the project delivery process. Maintenance helps achieve and sustain optimum reliability and performance for all projects. Formal maintainability programs provide benefits to both owner and contractor organizations. Owners benefit from improved control over maintenance costs and improved facility availability. Designers and constructors can increase client satisfaction and use success with a maintainability process as a value-adding service for owner clients.

Recommendations – Each company must assess the need for maintainability on future projects and then determine the appropriate level of maintainability efforts. Development of the formal process should reflect the organizational need, with the purpose of ensuring maintainability objectives are met. A maintainability process has the potential for greatest (and most cost effective) impact if it can be integrated with existing company work processes and related improvement initiatives, such as Total Quality Management, etc.

Need for Future Research – Future research needs to be conducted in measuring and quantifying costs/benefits of maintainability in order to demonstrate the financial aspects of maintainability. Similarly, the need exists to measure and document performance of the maintainability process implementation.