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CTT6 CIBSE Top Tips 6: Maintenance of Workplace & of Equipment, Devices & System
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CTT6 CIBSE Top Tips 6: Maintenance of Workplace & of Equipment, Devices & System

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Please note the content of this document can be found below as part of this page. There is no hard copy or download required. 

Further CIBSE Top Tips

CIBSE Top Tips Information Sheet 6: Maintenance of Workplace and of Equipment, Devices and Systems

This information sheet is intended to help property operators, facilities managers and designers to understand their responsibilities for maintenance of the workplace, equipment, devices and systems. By following the information provided, property operators, facilities managers, designers and employers will be able to demonstrate compliance with Regulation 5, Maintenance of workplace, equipment, devices and systems in The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Where there may be concern or areas of high risk then it is recommended that professional advice is sought.


Top tips

  • Ensure the work area is safe from hazards and each task has no external influence on processes or people
  • Consider the requirements for a risk assessment and method statement or the need to work under a permit to work arrangement
  • Plan all maintenance work and consider an appropriate level of supervision
  • Use appropriate equipment (e.g. for access)
  • Work as planned
  • Make final checks with a dynamic risk assessment by reviewing generic risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) to determine it is safe to proceed
  • Equipment selected to have maintenance carried out must be made safe to work on
  • Complete the appropriate paperwork with sufficient information and ensure appropriate and detailed records of maintenance work are held. A maintenance log book is one way of achieving this
  • Have a plan for every maintenance activity
  • Maintenance personnel must be trained on the equipment and competent to undertake the task
  • Any safety devices or shields removed during maintenance MUST be reinstalled prior to completion of maintenance
  • Prior to returning the equipment to service, a supervisor who is familiar with the equipment and the maintenance, should check the equipment to ensure that the maintenance is complete.


Employers have a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. People in control of non-domestic premises have a duty (under the same Act) towards people who are not their employees but use their premises.

The workplace, and certain equipment, devices and systems should be maintained in efficient working order (efficient for health, safety and welfare). Such maintenance is especially required for mechanical ventilation systems; equipment and devices which would cause a risk to health, safety or welfare if a fault occurred; and equipment and devices intended to prevent or reduce hazard.

Examples of equipment and devices which require a system of maintenance includes:

  • Emergency lighting
  • Fencing
  • Fixed equipment used for window cleaning
  • Anchorage points for safety harnesses
  • Devices to limit the opening of windows
  • Powered doors
  • Escalators
  • Moving walkways.

The condition of the buildings needs to be monitored to ensure that they have appropriate stability and solidity for their use. This includes risks from the normal running of the work process (e.g. vibration, floor loadings) and foreseeable risks (e.g. fire in a cylinder store).

How buildings are maintained

CIBSE Guide M Chapter 3 provides guidance for developing a maintenance policy and information on concepts for maintenance strategies. Building Regulations Part L requires that building owners be provided with summary information about a new or refurbished building, its building services and their maintenance requirements in a building log book. CIBSE TM31 explains what sort of information the log book should contain.

Maintenance of engineering services requires a dedicated work force with the necessary skills and expertise. This may be direct labour or a contracted service, or a combination of the two. There should be a maintenance programme identifying what tasks are undertaken and to what frequency, and a detailed asset register listing all the plant items.

The defects liability period (now called the 'rectification period' in Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) contracts), which begins upon certification of practical completion, still requires normal maintenance to be in place.

How much maintenance do I need?

Some minimum requirements are set out in legislation and supporting guidance and can be determined from the Maintenance Policy and required asset maintenance strategy. There is also summary information available in the BSRIA Statutory Inspection Checklist (see Designers of new buildings are required to provide maintenance information on handover as well as the obligation to design out as much risk where possible.

B&SE provide a template for most asset based maintenance procedures with given frequencies in SFG20. Specific requirements over and above routine inspection and testing to meet statutory requirements will depend on the functions carried out in the building, operational risk related to the engineering services, plant failure implications and age and condition of engineering plant and systems.

Plant and equipment manufacturers and system installers should provide detailed asset specific maintenance instructions.

How the building itself influences the need for maintenance

The building function will dictate how much maintenance is required. If operating 24 hours per day or in a harsh environment, inspections and maintenance are likely to be more frequent. Similarly, the degree of reliance on the engineering services for normal facility operation will affect how much maintenance is required. The age, condition, reliability and installation standard of plant and systems can also determine how much maintenance is required.

Design and installation considerations

The designer should ensure the design can be installed and can be maintained safely. Areas of abnormal risk related to installation and maintenance should be identified. The designer needs to consider the suitability and life expectancy of the plant and systems to be installed.

Maintenance, examination and testing

Regulation 5 applies to workplaces and to equipment and devices where a fault is liable to result in non-compliance with these Regulations, and to mechanical ventilation systems. In all cases the workplace, the equipment, devices and systems must be maintained (including cleaning) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. Here "efficient" relates to health and safety and not productivity. The equipment, devices and systems covered by this regulation must be subject to a suitable maintenance system, where appropriate.

A "suitable" maintenance system should include: regular checks, tests, etc. at suitable intervals, remedial action procedures, and suitable records. "Suitable" is not defined and depends on the equipment and conditions.

Work equipment should be maintained in a safe condition. It is important that equipment is maintained and checked at regular intervals, as appropriate, by inspection, testing, adjustment, lubrication, repair and cleaning so that its performance does not deteriorate to the extent that it puts people at risk. It is important that records are kept of all maintenance. Any faults should be rectified as soon as possible. Action should be taken immediately to isolate and rectify the fault where there is a risk of serious or imminent harm. Where the defect does not pose a danger, but makes the equipment unsuitable for use, it may be taken out of service until it is repaired or replaced.

Maintenance can be scheduled routine (time based), condition based, risk based, reactive or operate to failure. The importance of maintenance is to provide continued, reliable and safe operation, reduce failure and maintain or even extend the life of the asset. Maintenance is an intervention into the operation of the asset to renew consumables or make adjustments.

Examinations are investigations or checking routines to give assurance the asset is functioning effectively and without fault.

Testing is the application of a regime which will place the asset in a situation and record given readings that can be measured against parameters to determine the efficient or safe operation of the asset. Testing is sometimes undertaken before or after a maintenance activity to verify change and prove efficiency of operation.

Equipment should be inspected to ensure that it is, and continues to be, safe for use. There may be circumstances where deterioration of the equipment could lead to a dangerous situation developing. Where this is the case a competent person should inspect the equipment. It is important that records are kept of these inspections. A competent person is one who, by virtue of training, experience and an aptitude to undertake the task, can perform specified tasks satisfactorily and safely.

Maintenance work can be hazardous. Although it is estimated that 6% of the working population are involved in maintenance work, it is estimated that between 15 and 20% of injuries at work happen during maintenance work.

According to the European Agency for Health and Safety there are five basic rules for safe maintenance. These are:

  • Planning
  • Making the work area safe
  • Using appropriate equipment
  • Working as planned, and
  • Making final checks.

Advice and guidance on management and good practice in maintenance of building services is provided in CIBSE Guide M Maintenance Engineering and Management. The maintenance of work equipment, personal protective equipment and electrical systems, equipment and conductors, is addressed in other regulations (see Further Reading below).

Cleaning and housekeeping

Good cleaning practice and a high standard of housekeeping are required in the workplace. Maintenance of equipment, devices and systems in the workplace needs to be in addition to cleaning and housekeeping and be in accordance with the specific needs of each piece of equipment, device or system.

Workplaces and inherent furniture, furnishings and fittings must be kept sufficiently clean. Floor, wall and ceiling surfaces of internal workplaces must be capable of being cleaned.

Waste materials should not, so far as is reasonably practicable, accumulate in workplaces except in suitable receptacles.

The standard of cleaning will depend on the use of the workplace and recommends certain cleaning frequencies. The cleaning method itself should not create any health and safety risks, e.g. dust, fumes, slippery surfaces, etc.

The cost of not maintaining appropriately

The provision of suitable and appropriate maintenance is a legal requirement where there is risk to safety of health, and not providing it would be an infringement of law which could result in a fine or prosecution, together with adverse publicity. It is an expectation of employees, building visitors and the general public that maintenance of equipment, devices and systems will be put in place. Failure to do so would suggest an employer with no interest in the care, welfare, health and safety of employees.


B&ES (2012) SFG20 Standard Maintenance Specification for Building Services (Penrith: B&ES). See

BSRIA Statutory Inspection Checklist (Bracknell: BSRIA). See

CIBSE (2006) TM31 Building Log Book Toolkit (London: CIBSE) ISBN 9781903287712. See

CIBSE (2014) Guide M Maintenance Engineering and Management (London: CIBSE). ISBN 9781906846503. Chapter 15 in Guide M, Legislation and compliance, is very relevant to key compliance maintenance activities. See

TSO (1974) Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 No. 37 (London: TSO) See

TSO (1992) Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 No. 3004 (London: TSO). See

Further Reading

HSE (2005) L25 Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Second edition) - Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended). Guidance on Regulations (London: HSE). See

HSE (2007) HSR25 Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989: Guidance on Regulations (London: HSE). See

HSE (2007) INDG244 (rev2) Workplace health, safety and welfare - A short guide for managers (London: HSE). See

HSE (2013) INDG174 (rev2) Personal Protective Equipment at Work (PPE): A Brief Guide. See

HSE (2013) INDG417 (rev1) Leading Health and Safety at Work - Leadership Actions for Directors and Board Members (London: HSE & Institute of Directors). See

HSE (2013) L24 Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (London: HSE). See

HSE Website: Maintenance of Work Equipment. See

HSE (2014) INDG163 (rev4) Risk Assessment - A Brief Guide to Controlling Risks in the Workplace (London: HSE). See

HSE (2014) L22 (4th edition) Safe Use of Work Equipment. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (London: HSE). See

HSE Website: Electricity and the Law. See

HSE Website: Managing for Health and Safety (replaces L21, which is withdrawn). See

HSE Website: The Safe Maintenance Health Check. See

TSO (1998) Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 No. 2306 (London: TSO). See

TSO (2015) Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 No. 51 (London: TSO). See

© CIBSE 2015

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