Breakdown Maintenance

Learn more about breakdown maintenance: advantages, types, techniques, and tools to streamline the maintenance process.

técnico que crea un informe de mantenimiento de averías

What is Breakdown Maintenance?

Breakdown maintenance, also known as reactive maintenance, is a type of corrective maintenance carried out upon unexpected machine failure that needs to be repaired or replaced to resume business operation. It is commonly performed when materials or machine parts are disposable, cannot be restored, or are easily available.

The Advantages

Breakdown maintenance can provide convenience when safety is not at risk due to equipment failure. It is effective for facility management into which non-critical equipment and short-life assets including batteries, fuse, light bulb, and other disposable items are to be replaced. Also, the company would benefit from the following:

  • minimally demanded workforce;
  • greatly reduced maintenance costs; and
  • easily detected replacement needs.

Having efficient stock and inventory management procedures is necessary to determine which materials or components should be kept on-premises in case of machine failure.

2 Main Types 

Applying the appropriate corrective maintenance plan to your business can greatly affect the organization in maintaining a sustainable operation. It is best to apply breakdown maintenance if an asset shows signs of wear and tear without negatively impacting the system performance. Breakdown maintenance can be classified into two main types.

  1. Run-to-Failure Maintenance
    Run-to-failure maintenance is an example of planned maintenance into which an asset is expected to deteriorate at any time. It is an approach that can lower maintenance costs by delaying maintenance until an asset breaks down.
  2. Emergency Maintenance
    Emergency maintenance is performed when equipment fails or stops working unexpectedly and needs to be repaired or replaced immediately. This is crucial when equipment failure threatens the safety of the business and disrupts business operations.
Breakdown Maintenance

Breakdown Maintenance | SafetyCulture

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between preventive and breakdown maintenance?

  • The main difference between the two is the frequency of performing the task. For preventive maintenance, it is a routine inspection of the facility or equipment at a set time, while breakdown maintenance is performed every time equipment or short-life assets encounter machine failure or disruption.

Can I apply breakdown maintenance to my organization?

  • Yes, if the system failure won’t affect the health and safety of the organization. However, if the equipment frequently breaks down, it is advisable to use a preventive maintenance plan to reduce maintenance costs.

Is it safe to use this approach?

  • Yes, but with caution. This approach works well when all equipment is new and within the manufacturers’ recommended equipment lifespan. It is reasonable to set high expectations and sound performance in the early stage of the equipment lifecycle.

Is it true that it will reduce maintenance costs if we use this approach?

  • Yes, provided the equipment parts are always available, inexpensive, and meant to be replaced at the end of its lifespan.

Do other organizations still use this approach?

How to Perform Breakdown Maintenance

The breakdown maintenance plan may depend on the equipment or system failure. When disruption occurs you have to check which type of breakdown maintenance should be performed, whether an emergency or run-to-failure maintenance.

To give you a clearer picture, here is an example of how to perform breakdown maintenance in the hotel industry.

Scenario: A power interruption occurs in a hotel facility around 10:00 AM. A report was given to the facilities team to check what happened.
  1. Identify the issue
    Get the details and other needed information about the situation from the requesting personnel. Identify the issue and check the level of call out to fix the problem.
  2. Inspect the area
    Go to the area of the incident and investigate the issue. Look for sources of the problem or check the relevant equipment as found on site.
  3. Take action
    Once the problem has been identified, in this case, there is a busted fuse that needs replacement. Execute the process of maintenance works and replace the busted fuse. Once completed, check if further action is still required.
  4. Do an operational functional test
    Check the safety of the site and ensure the problem has been fixed and everything is back to its normal operation. Otherwise, if the maintenance procedure from the previous step didn’t fix the problem, inform the reporting personnel on how long it would affect the operation.
  5. Create maintenance report
    Document the site status and completed tasks. This would help to keep a record of maintenance works under breakdown conditions and monitor the inventory of materials. This can easily be generated through SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor).

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What is SafetyCulture and How It Can Help You?

SafetyCulture is a mobile and web platform app that can guide you and your teams to their maintenance inspections and generate breakdown reports on the spot anytime, anywhere. Take advantage of the following features:

  • real-time monitoring updates;
  • paperless inspection processes and reporting;
  • capture photo evidence in-app;
  • store unlimited maintenance data in a cloud; and
  • create your own or customize our ready-to-use maintenance templates according to your business needs.
Jona Tarlengco
Article by
Jona Tarlengco
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.