Facility Maintenance: 5 Best Practices From IFMA’s Benchmarking Report

by James McDonald on February 6, 2020

Every organization has its own way of handling facility maintenance. Those routines are deeply embedded into your operations and influenced by many factors, including your company’s size, resources, mission and culture.

Change happens slowly and is usually prompted by internal factors, like a mandate to reduce costs. But if you want to stay competitive, you need to consider external factors, too.

That’s why benchmarking data is so valuable. The latest report from IFMA reveals some surprising findings of how nearly 100,000 buildings handle facility maintenance.

Facility Maintenance Best Practices Revealed

1. Most Buildings Now Use Green Janitorial Practices

As more organizations commit to sustainability goals, green janitorial practices are becoming more common in facility maintenance. Green janitorial practices include certifications for the maintenance team—such as the Cleaning Industry Management Standards (CIMS) and Green Building Certification—and training, documenting and auditing sustainable practices.

Seventy-seven percent of facility managers who responded to IFMA’s survey said they use at least one green janitorial practice.


Larger buildings are more likely to use green janitorial practices. Among buildings ranging from 2 million to 3 million square feet, 77 percent said they conducted regular audits of janitorial procedures, compared to just 49 percent of buildings of all sizes.

The use of sustainable facility maintenance practices also varies widely by industry. Convention centers and bank branches were the most likely to train their maintenance team in green cleaning practices at 80 percent and 75 percent. By contrast, big box stores, correctional facilities, and sports and entertainment buildings all reported they had no such training in place at any of their facilities.

2. Energy Efficiency Programs Vary Widely By Region

The Southeast and South Central regions of the United States reported the highest number of facilities using at least one sustainability program (77 percent and 76 percent.)

Participation in the ENERGY STARⓇ program is highest among facilities located in New England, at 56 percent, and lowest in the Midwest and Canada, at 29 percent and 22 percent.


Among those that do participate, 37 percent reported decreased energy consumption.

3. Facility Maintenance Outsourcing Is Becoming More Common

More organizations are outsourcing facility maintenance to save costs, improve efficiency and reduce risks.

About 50 percent of respondents to IFMA’s facility maintenance survey said they use a combination of in-house and contracted employees. The ratio varies considerably by industry.

Among telecommunications companies, 83 percent use only contracted services for facility maintenance, while the percentage is fewer than 10 percent among more specialized industries like aircraft manufacturing and facilities more likely to be represented by a union, like city government offices and universities.

4. Most Organizations Now Use Facility Maintenance Software

More than half of all organizations surveyed reported using some type of online system for facility maintenance, including facility maintenance software.

However, many organizations are still behind the times in this area, using either paper forms or personally informing the maintenance team of needed repairs.

The biggest opportunity for the adoption of FM technology is the military, with 50 percent of organizations still using paper forms for service requests.

That’s followed by manufacturing plants, correctional facilities and religious institutions.

Email is still widely used for service requests among many industries, even those that have a facility maintenance system in place.

And while the majority of facility managers use desktop computers to receive and complete service requests (75 percent) the use of mobile facility management apps is growing in popularity.

5. Nearly All Organizations Have Preventive Maintenance Plans

If your organization doesn’t have a plan for preventive maintenance, you’re lagging behind.

Nearly 100 percent of all survey respondents reported using preventive maintenance plans for at least HVAC systems, while a smaller percentage (though still a majority) reported using them for electrical equipment and building and groundskeeping.

Getting A Handle On Your Facility Maintenance

When it comes to facility maintenance, there are a lot of moving parts to consider. Just keeping track of it all is challenging enough, let alone trying to keep up with the competition.

This benchmarking report gives you a snapshot of how you’re doing and where you have opportunities to improve.

But to make it actionable, you need to have access to real-time data on building maintenance and a way to automate some of the many tasks associated with it.

First, you need a digital database of all your properties and assets, as well as important information like the age of each asset, lease terms and a log of repairs.

A spreadsheet is better than nothing, but it isn’t dynamic or actionable. It won’t allow you to add the detailed documents you need to comply with the new FASB lease accounting standards or determine the total cost of ownership.

You also need an easy way to keep track of preventive maintenance and allow employees to request service when they notice something isn’t working properly.

With facility management software, you can manage both preventive maintenance and on-demand service requests in one centralized queue. You can schedule automated reminders to your FM team when it’s time to maintain specific assets, and you’ll have a record of the maintenance history to refer to later.

Discover what a difference the right software can make to your workplace. Request a demo of our facility maintenance software today.


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5

Receive our blogs via email