practice of Maintaining Infrastructure assets has evolved and improved markedly
in the last couple of decades. This development in the Infrastructure Industry
is due to a variety of factors, such as a big rise in the number and heterogeneity
of infrastructure assets that need to be maintained, complexity in their
designs & structure, new and upcoming maintenance tools & methods, heightened
safety standards and the ever changing global outlook on maintenance strategies.
The advent of Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) has played a pivotal role
in this evolution.
the past decades, preventive maintenance was the most widely used maintenance
technique. It was deemed to be the most avant-garde and effective maintenance
technique at disposal to the construction & infrastructure industry. This
Preventive Maintenance strategy was established on the assumption of “a cause-and-effect co-relation”
between scheduled maintenance and functional reliability. In turn, this
assumption was based on the hypothesis that since mechanical parts are
subjected to wear and tear, the reliability of any equipment or component
within a system is directly associated to its operational lifetime. Hence, it
was conjectured, that the more routinely an equipment was serviced or
overhauled, the more secure it was against the possibility of failure.”
However, this strategy of preventive
maintenance comes with a lot of limitations :
of system downtime:
Shutting down of a system, results in loss of productive time and consequently
a loss of revenue.
of system maintenance:
Utilization of resources to routinely perform inessential scheduled maintenance
of grave safety or environmental ramifications: Shutting down and starting-up a
facility is one of the high-risk operations, thus intrusive preventive
maintenance practice tends to increase the risk of environmental damage.
of systems: The
more complex the systems are, the more strenuous it is to perform planned/
Reliability Centered Maintenance
intent of an efficient maintenance strategy is to avert or assuage the
consequences of failure, not to avert the failure itself. In other words: if
the ramifications of any failure do not have deleterious consequences on
safety, operations, environment or cost, then there is no exigency to proceed
with the scheduled maintenance.
to Nowlan and Heap, 1978, “A reliability-centered maintenance program
includes only those tasks which satisfy the criteria for both applicability and
effectiveness. The applicability of a task is determined by the characteristics
of the item, and its effectiveness is defined in terms of the consequences the
task is designed to prevent.”
strategy provides a framework for exploring the various functions and likely
failures for an asset, with an emphasis on safeguarding the system’s functions,
rather than equipment itself.