What Is Building Maintenance? Necessity | Significance | Factors Affecting | Types


All the building components start disintegrating after a certain duration due to the action of different natural forces like rain, sunlight, wind etc. Sometimes there may be problems in the buildings due to the use of inadequate construction material, due to poor workmanship or faulty design etc. In such conditions, repair and maintenance of a building become an unavoidable process otherwise these defects/problems in the building will go on multiplying and will attain a point of no return. Also, the routine maintenance of a building is required to keep it suitable for service and extend the useful life of the building. Hence routine maintenance is required for the civil structure/ buildings right from the time when it is put to use.


As per British Standard has defined maintenance "The combination of all technical and administrative actions brought out to keep an item in order or to restore it to a stale in which it can perform its required function." The standard committee on Maintenance under the Government of India defined maintenance as "Building maintenance is work undertaken to keep, restore or improve every facility i.e. every component of a building, its services and surroundings to a presently acceptable standard and to maintain the utility and value of the facility." Hence in simple terms "Maintenance is defined as the work undertaken to keep the structure in good working and appearance condition so as to allow it to carry out all those operations smoothly for which it has been constructed."


The main goal of the maintenance of structural components  is as follows:

(i) To keep the building and other civil structures in nice appearance and working condition.

(ii) To control damages, deterioration and erosion of structure caused due to adverse effects of weathering agencies.

(iii) To make advancements by rectifying defects in the structure caused due to use of imperfect building materials or low workmanship.

(iv) To gain strength in the structure to restore them back to their actual standards.

(v) To enhance the structures depending upon the development that is taking place in the related field.

(vi) To maintain the subservience value.

(vii) To enhance the serviceability of the structures.

(viii) To stave off crisis maintenance by a regular and scheduled maintenance programme.


1. Age of structure

2. Total costs of the structure

3. Availability of resources

4. Urgency of maintenance

5. Future use of the structure

6. Social reflections.

1. Age of property:

It is most important to assess the age of the structure before planning the maintenance of a structure. The remaining useful life of a building will only justify the amount of capital spending for the repair and maintenance of a building.

2. Total costs involved:

Total costs involved in the repair and maintenance of a building is a major aspect that impacts the decision to undertake to keep operating.

The expense of building maintenance should be worked out before beginning the maintenance work of a structure. It includes expenses on the required material and labour.

3. Availability of resources:

Maintenance of a structure can be taken up only when the availability of all the physical resources is ensured. The resources include materials, types of equipment and labour.

4. Urgency of maintenance:

Urgent maintenance work in the building may be required for repair of services or repair of fittings/ components. For urgent maintenance work, the cost will become higher but it is of secondary importance.

5. Future use of the structure:

The future use of the building should be thought of before beginning the upkeep operation. The period of repair and timing of maintenance should be in a due manner considered.

6. Social reflections:

The following factors are also considered while planning the maintenance of the building. The maintenance should be planned properly to minimize disturbance. The maintenance work should be embarked without disturbing the residents or if possible it may be carried out when the building is unoccupied. Disturbances such as noise, dust, smell and the interruption of services should be the bare minimum.


Maintenance work is broadly classified in the following classes:

1. Routine maintenance (fixed time interval maintenance)

2. Preventive maintenance

3. Remedial maintenance

4. Special maintenance

1. Routine Maintenance:

Routine maintenance may be defined as the maintenance activities undertaken at a predetermined interval (periodically) to attend to the defects or likely decay of the structure.

Routine maintenance of the structure is important to maintain it functional and protect it against early decay. There are various items of work that fall under routine maintenance and are expected to be attended to regularly for upkeeping of building and to resist its early decay.


(i) Checking and repairing the water supply line.

(ii) Checking and repairing of leakage in soil pipes, wastewater pipes, rainwater pipes etc.

(iii) Cleaning of the water tanks periodically at intervals of not more than 3 months with special cleaning chemicals.

(iv) Narrow hair cracks may be observed in the walls. These should be explored up and filled with cement mortar.

(v) Checking and repairing plastering on the walls both internal and external and the ceiling may show cracks.

(vi) Checking and repairing painting internal and external surfaces of the building is important for hygienic, protection of the structure and aesthetic.

(vii) Painting of doors and windows is to be done periodically to protect from rust and corrosion.

(viii) Plinth protection around the building needs to be maintained properly.

(ix) Checking and removing all small plants with roots on the walls and roofs of the building and treated with sulphate solution or acid for permanent eradication.

(x) The rooftops should be cleaned regularly

2. Preventive Maintenance:

Preventive maintenance may be defined as the maintenance activities undertaken before the defects developed in the structure.

Preventive maintenance aims at tweaking the trouble before it assumes a huge quantity. The preventive maintenance has no quick visible result.

3. Remedial Maintenance:

Remedial maintenance may be defined as the maintenance activities are undertaken after the defects and damage have appeared in the structure.

The majority of the maintenance problems fall in this category. Remedial maintenance is the removal of any decayed or damaged part of the structure or removal of any defect in the structure.

Following activities are involved in the process of remedial maintenance:

(i) Finding the defect or damage.

(ii) Identify the possible causes of the defect.

(iii) Estimating the strengths of the current structures.

(iv) Evaluating the need/importance of the existing structure and financial viability of the maintenance work.

(v) Choosing and implementing the method for the maintenance activity.

4. Special Maintenance :

Special maintenance may be described as the maintenance activities conducted under special conditions to rectify heavy damage to the structure.

Special maintenance may be done for supporting and upgrading the structure to meet the new conditions of usage or to improve its serviceability. It may contain particular or complete renewal such as renewal of floors, roofs, changing the joinery work etc.

“Important Questions are for  Building Maintenance”

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