For many school districts, their “temporary” assets have become semi-permanent, as budget cuts have
necessitated choosing between retaining staff, making critical technological upgrades, or upgrading
from portable classrooms and other temporary fixtures to permanent ones. Collapsing school districts
and university budgets across the country have strained (and collapsed) classrooms and, in turn,
resulted in the construction of “portables” at many schools and universities. As months turn into
years, those temporary structures can either continue to serve campuses well or become liabilities.
The difference lies in the maintenance program an institution puts in place for them from the outset.
The difference comes down to whether or not an institution does preventative maintenance on their
temporary assets or “runs to fail” them.
The stereotypical portable classroom is a rundown energy vampire, with recurring electrical and/
or connectivity issues, perpetually teetering on the verge of abject disrepair. But, this stereotype
represents one point on the bell curve of temporary asset condition – the point reached when a
temporary asset is viewed as that and nothing more from the outset. A solid CMMS asset maintenance
program can extend the useful lifecycle of temporary assets, thereby improving the institution’s ROI, by
supporting regular inspections of structural issues typical with portables (e.g., leaks, insulation, ramp
ADA compliance failure, electrical capacity, and physical degradation), enable more timely preventative
maintenance, and faster work order response times.
When institutions don’t implement a solid maintenance management program, the long-term costs far
outweigh the short-term savings. When educational institutions treat portables as disposable assets
and perform irregular maintenance, the results are consistently that those assets need repairs more
often, tend to be more expensive, and they deteriorate more rapidly, causing energy costs to become
even more costly than would otherwise be the case. By implementing a CMMS solution, educational
institutions can lower their total cost of ownership (TCO) by making work orders automated, better
tracking the location, condition, and maintenance history of all equipment (instead of relying on
anecdotal records), reducing unplanned repairs (and lowering overtime costs associated with them), and
enabling their maintenance teams to accomplish more with fewer resources.
Capping School Expenditures
Whether assets are truly temporary (e.g., cheap and more cost effective to “run to failure” with
minimal maintenance) or they are potentially short- long-term assets, if they have regular preventive
maintenance they will last longer, have greater energy efficiencies, and a lower TCO. For budget
restricted schools, a CMMS solution produces greater value from their asset investment.
Dana Madama is the Online Marketing Manager at eMaint Enterprises, located
in Marlton, NJ, which provides CMMS and EAM solutions for all of your
maintenance and asset management needs.