Preventative Maintenance or Reactive Works on Drainage Systems?

When you carry out drainage works on your sites, you can go a preventative or a reactive route, or combine the two.  But which is the best way to go?  Read on to find out more.

What are reactive works?

Reactive works occur after a problem has developed.  It focuses on restoring your drains or associated infrastructure to its normal condition and may, or may not, involve an investigation into how the problem developed in the first place.  Taken in isolation, reactive works usually take less time and are less costly than regular maintenance as doing nothing is cheaper than doing something and you only need to pay if something goes wrong.  However, this is not sustainable for the long-term maintenance of a site as you could end up with more problems over time and the costs can quickly add up.  Add in the costs of unexpected downtime and the impact on reputation and revenue and potentially premium prices for emergency works and the financial costs can soon add up.

What are PPMs?

PPMs or Planned Preventative Maintenance is a scheduled maintenance routine with the aim of ensuring that drainage infrastructure is serviced at regular intervals.  The aim being to reduce reactive maintenance and maintain the condition and function of drainage infrastructure in the long term.  Hopefully, a comprehensive PPM will help to avoid partial or complete failure and minimise business interruption to deal with the issue.  It acts as a pre-emptive insurance policy against catastrophic failures that could lead to expensive and time-consuming business interruption.

What is the scope of drainage works?

Realistically, you will have a combination of the two types of works.  No matter how good your preventative maintenance is, you will have some reactive issues that pop up.  However, a comprehensive drainage PPM will reduce these reactive call-outs.  This should include servicing of all interceptors, foul and surface water drainage lines and any other infrastructure such as penstock valves.

The consequences

It is essential that you carry out some maintenance of your drainage infrastructure.  When everything is working correctly, you don’t even think of your drainage.  But when things do go wrong, the consequences can be far reaching.  Flooding of your site, foul smells or blocked toilets can seriously affect normal operations.  In the event of a problem, you may need immediate assistance and it may not be readily available, and therefore expensive.

Engaging with a drainage contractor to service your PPMs and attend your reactive call-outs can be invaluable.  They will have comprehensive knowledge of your site arrangements and processes.  This can help them to quickly identify and deal with the immediate problem and also identify what could have caused it.  This extensive knowledge will also allow you to put controls in place to prevent the problem from being repeated in the future and you may be able to adjust your PPM service to address the issue and prevent it from developing again.