Reactive vs Proactive vs Predictive Maintenance

May 3, 2022Supplier Spotlight

The Internet of Things (IoT) is radically changing the way we interact with the world around us. The ability to electronically manage and monitor physical objects, and optimise procedures and system functions puts data-driven decision making front and centre.  With the help of these tools, businesses and individuals can save time and enhance their quality of life.  

In the context of building systems, IoT predictive maintenance is becoming mainstream. Using real-time information to forecast and fend off breakdowns can diminish downtime by a whopping 50%.  

In the long term, being proactive and using data analytics is beneficial for you, your tenants, and your property. 

Reactive Vs Proactive Vs Predictive

In the face of variables and circumstances beyond your control, there’s a best practice when it comes to asset management. To better understand the pros and cons of each approach, let’s break them down (pun intended). 


Reactive Maintenance

This kind of upkeep reacts to equipment breakdowns or malfunction to return the asset to optimum operation after the incident.  

Yes, it has lower upfront costs, but this type of maintenance costs more in the long run. Without weekly and monthly inspections, it requires less staff, but conversely – when problems do arise, you won’t have the relevant staff on hand to react. And when they do, you’ll probably have to pay overtime.   

There’s also no need to spend time planning which means no scheduled downtime, however, when equipment fails, you’ll be dealing with downtime anyway. Without basic preventative maintenance, shorter equipment life expectancy is also a reality. 

Reactive maintenance as a single strategy isn’t the way to go. Budgeting is unpredictable because when things do go wrong, you’ll need to fix it fast, often paying more for a fast turnaround. If equipment goes completely kaput, there’s no time to shop around; again, you’ll pay more.   

Lastly, equipment that’s not thoroughly maintained will use more energy. Even slight faults cause electrical surges. 


Proactive Maintenance

This approach to servicing is the middle ground. It aims to anticipate equipment issues before they happen by taking steps to stop them from occurring. This method requires scheduled regular maintenance and checks by a team of specialists, rather than reacting to breakdowns when they occur.   

The schedule isn’t determined by data, but rather by a general maintenance plan. 

Yes, checking assets in regular periods can increase lifespan and reduce downtime, but it still demands a significant investment of time, with the added inconvenience of prep and delegation.  

While it’s a cut above a solely reactive approach, there are plenty of pitfalls. It works similarly to car maintenance: manufacturer-recommended service intervals based on assumptions around part deterioration under standard driving conditions. 

Compared to reactive maintenance, the main benefits are extending asset life which can help avoid downtime, as well as better workplace safety compliance. However, assets will still fail, and you’ll still waste time and resources. The risk of damage to machine components during unnecessary maintenance is also problematic.


Predictive Maintenance

This method is pretty much data-driven proactive maintenance, using recurring maintenance to stop failures, and in turn, downtime. 

Predictive maintenance is smarter and more advanced than proactive maintenance because it’s based on cumulative data. For example, say historical data determines that machine Y’s bushings expire after an average of X days. A technician will then replace the bushings on machine Y every X days. This is done whether or not the machine specifically needs attention at that time.  

This method also integrates HCAV, fire, electrical and other systems with IoT devices, so data is captured on all equipment and systems running your building.  

Regular inspections protect people and property. As the opposite of a run-to-failure approach, predictive maintenance allows you to detect issues before they become a problem. You can then correct them and learn from your collective data so you don’t make the same mistakes twice. 

This extends the life of your assets as they don’t depreciate as quickly. By predicting issues, you can lessen energy costs, and up efficiency. And because you’re lessening large-scale repairs, there aren’t as many breakdowns. Planned work happens in slow periods which means less disturbance to schedules and production. 

Budgeting is better too – with tighter control, this approach gives you plenty of time to plan, source and buy parts, and line up labour. It also makes sure you comply with health and safety and grows customer service by providing efficient operations, on time, all the time. 


The IoT Edge

​The Internet of Things is transformative, from optimising operations to gathering better insights for data-driven decision making. The implications of IoT for building maintenance are titanic, with connected devices and sensors able to track control machines and key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Building IoT to create a smart building accelerates data collection and yields in-depth analysis and pattern recognition leading to tech improvement and cost reductions. It can also increase customer experience and safety, and reduce risks. No matter the outcome, property owners, occupiers and managers agree ‘PropTech’ will change the world.  

Grosvenor Engineering Group (GEG) has created distinctive technology, data, software platforms and end-to-end solutions in this space.


Prosperous Programs

Switching to prediction maintenance takes time. As you collect more info from your equipment, you’re left with precise, real-time data. This allows you to make the smartest maintenance decisions and start phasing out scheduled proactive maintenance. Eventually, your predictive model will prioritise maintenance where it’s most needed.  

To successfully move from a reactive to a proactive approach, you need to understand the three areas of proactive facilities management.  


  1. Inventory and Maintenance Supplies
    Creating an inventory of your current systems is vital in recognising the impact of facilities management. Know what assets, components and fixtures you have, as well as the condition of that equipment and your building as a whole. Take photographs to document it all.
  2. Facilities Condition Assessment
    For max efficiency, an ongoing condition assessment exposes inventory opportunities and weaknesses to help shape your proactive maintenance over the next 1-3 years. Create a breakdown of current equipment and the expected repair costs for each. Factor in ongoing maintenance costs, and get estimates from qualified service vendors. Identify items beyond repair, renovation costs, and all real estate and warranty information.
  3. Put a Plan in Place
    Allocate resources for short and long-term maintenance. For the most comprehensive management, connect all your systems together through cloud-based tech and the Internet of Things. 

Your Predictive Partner

GEG has applied data-driven maintenance (DDM) for many years via our Actionable Insights infrastructure – InsightsAI™. We find options for optimisation and can trial DDM on key areas like HVAC, fire and electrical, then scale to include plumbing, BMS, elevators, computer hardware and software, and internet services. 

Extend the life of your assets, reduce the unforeseen costs of expensive breakdowns and improve building performance Speak with our talented Engineering Team to learn how we can help you proactively manage your operational assets.

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