April 12, 2024

The Costly Consequences of Deferred Maintenance: A Closer Look at Facility Management

Facility management is a multifaceted discipline that involves the continuous upkeep of physical assets to ensure they function optimally and meet the needs of occupants. However, one common challenge faced by facility managers is the issue of deferred maintenance. Deferred maintenance occurs when necessary repairs or upgrades to a facility are postponed due to budget constraints or other reasons. While it may seem like a temporary solution to save money in the short term, the long-term consequences can be severe and costly. In this blog post, we'll delve into what deferred maintenance is, its impacts on facilities, and the importance of allocating budgets to address maintenance needs promptly. 

Understanding Deferred Maintenance

Deferred maintenance refers to the postponement of necessary repairs, upgrades, or replacements of building components or systems beyond their expected service life. This can include anything from fixing leaky roofs and repairing HVAC systems to repaving parking lots and updating electrical systems. While deferring maintenance may provide immediate cost savings, it often leads to increased expenses down the line as problems worsen and require more extensive repairs. 

Various tasks often classified as deferred maintenance

Impacts on Facilities


The consequences of deferred maintenance can be far-reaching and affect various aspects of a facility, including: 

  • Safety and Security: Neglected maintenance can compromise the safety and security of building occupants. For example, failing to repair faulty wiring can increase the risk of electrical fires, while ignoring damaged flooring can lead to slips and falls. 
  • Asset Degradation: Over time, deferred maintenance accelerates the deterioration of building assets. What could have been a minor repair may escalate into a major renovation if left unaddressed, resulting in higher costs and longer downtime. 
  • Decreased Efficiency: Deferred maintenance can reduce the efficiency of building systems, such as HVAC, lighting, and plumbing. This not only impacts occupant comfort but also increases energy consumption and operational expenses. 
  • Diminished Property Value: Neglected maintenance can detract from the overall aesthetics and functionality of a facility, diminishing its market value and attractiveness to tenants or buyers. 

Utilizing Deferred Maintenance Budgets

To mitigate the negative impacts of deferred maintenance, facility managers must prioritize budget allocation for ongoing maintenance and repairs. Here are some strategies for effectively managing deferred maintenance budgets: 

  • Prioritize Critical Needs: Identify the most pressing maintenance needs that pose safety risks or significantly impact operations. Allocate resources to address these issues promptly, preventing them from escalating into more costly problems. 
  • Implement Preventive Maintenance Programs: Adopting preventive maintenance strategies can help minimize the need for reactive repairs and extend the lifespan of building assets. Regular inspections, routine servicing, and predictive maintenance techniques can identify potential issues early on, allowing for timely intervention. 
  • Establish Long-Term Maintenance Plans: Develop comprehensive maintenance plans that outline scheduled repairs, upgrades, and replacements based on asset condition assessments and lifecycle projections. This proactive approach enables better budget forecasting and resource allocation. 
  • Invest in Technology and Automation: Leveraging technology solutions, such as computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and building automation systems (BAS), can streamline maintenance workflows, improve asset tracking, and optimize resource utilization. While there may be upfront costs associated with implementing these systems, the long-term benefits in terms of efficiency and cost savings outweigh the initial investment. 
  • Take advantage of Rubicon’s Get’r Done Program: This program presents a valuable opportunity for facility managers to address deferred maintenance items effectively. By reallocating unused budgets towards these critical needs, facilities can finally tackle overdue repairs and upgrades without straining financial resources. The Rubicon Get'r Done program offers a structured framework for identifying, prioritizing, and addressing maintenance backlog, empowering facility managers to make the most of their available resources. By leveraging this program, facilities can break the cycle of deferred maintenance, enhance asset performance, and create safer, more efficient environments for occupants.  


Deferred maintenance is a pervasive issue that can have detrimental effects on facility performance, safety, and value. By understanding the implications of deferred maintenance and proactively managing maintenance budgets, facility managers can safeguard their assets, enhance operational efficiency, and ensure a safe and productive environment for occupants. Investing in preventive maintenance, prioritizing critical needs, and leveraging technology are essential steps toward mitigating the risks associated with deferred maintenance and maintaining the long-term viability of facilities.