MAINTENANCE versus REPAIRS of Buildings

Post 363 – by Gautam Shah 


Screenshot 2021-06-23 at 10-31-18 A view of the damaged west wall of the Pentagon Building in Washington, D C under reconst[...]

To maintain a building means, in literal sense is, `to preserve from loss or deterioration‘. Maintenance is the act of maintaining, supporting, preserving, continuing, and defending. A Repair means, to mend, to restore, to revitalize, restoration after injury or decay, reinstatement of loss. Maintenance is preventive in nature, compared to Repair which is a corrective action.

Well -Baoli Ghaus Ali Shah, Farrukhnagar

Buildings with adequate or timely maintenance require lesser repairs in extent and frequency. Unrepaired buildings decrease the efficiency of maintenance. Maintenance is not designed to change the building.

B.S.3811 (1964) defines maintenance as: ‘A combination of any actions carried out to retain an item in, or restore it to an acceptable condition’.

  • To retain -preventive maintenance
  • To restore -corrective maintenance
  • Acceptable condition
    • to the person paying for the world
    • -to the person receiving the benefit
    • -to someone outside enforcing minimum standards
    • -to society in general.

Mud plaster requires frequent maintenance

Maintenance techniques are employed for two ends: Improvement: superior to the original design standards, and Restoration: equal to the original design standards. Where the design requirements are stated in the form of parameters or specifications of performance, these could be used for establishing the maintenance standards. Performance requirements need to be incorporated in the maintenance manual concurrently with other explanatory details about the building and its services.

Taj-ul-Masjid Gates Bhopal Madhya Pradesh India

Planned maintenance is an organized effort carried out with forethought, and control. It is to be conducted regularly but must accompany all major changes in the building. As a forethought out action it is apparently well documented.

Preventive maintenance is carried out at predetermined intervals of time or use cycles. It is also initiated by professionals, as soon as minor decadence is noticed.

Running maintenance occur on regular or continuing basis, in the form of running a plant, or as a service for a running system. These take the form of nominal activities like cleaning, waste disposal, oiling, fuelling, cooling, warming, etc.


Maintenance are fairly superfluous and so are termed ‘expenditures’ for Taxation purposes. Expenditures are set-off against current year incomes. Repairs are often fairly extensive, touching the structure, and so add to the “value” of the building. This can be accounted as “investments” for the Tax purposes. For maintenance, traditionally some % of the estimated cost of the asset are regularly allocated, but repairs are provided special exigency budgets.


Maintenance and Repairs can alter the buildings’ function, image and value. These are often classed as renovation and conservation. Alteration is highly defined and purposive activity and so can not be mis-classed, though may include some repairs and reconstruction. Miss-classification of building related interventions occur to get approvals from city-boards or heritage councils.

Minor repairs with regular maintenance

Buildings, consist of both, physical and metaphysical things. Maintenance means continuing the physical entities, by removing decay causing elements including replacing the warned parts and components. Metaphysical things like image, tradition, fashion, etc. are maintained by adopting incorporeal or pseudo means. In a building, the maintenance strategies of realist and absurdist nature operate concurrently.

Elgin Cathedral choir wall -need for repairs, maintenance and conservation

Actuators for maintenance are both, internal and external to the building. Externally the climate has the greatest effect, though varying in severity according to the orientation and location of the building. Internally the user and activities affect the building. The actuators of these effects are also mutually dependent. Changing life styles, living standards and economics affect the nature of maintenance. Buildings where quality of space determines the efficiency of work activities, and which in turn scales the economic returns, are well maintained.

Maintenance is performed on a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft engine PICRYL Public Domain [...]