Operation and Maintenance

Volume 6, Chapter 1


After setting forth the goals of operation and maintenance of plant (OMP), this chapter addresses the components of operation, the University's policy on maintenance, and the different types of maintenance.


The inclusion of the following goals should help a Facility formulate a successful operation and maintenance of plant (OMP) program:

  1. Perform maintenance on a periodic basis.
  2. Provide functional facilities that (a) meet the University's requirements; (b) have an environmentally acceptable atmosphere for students, faculty, and staff; and (c) ensure the health and safety of all personnel.
  3. Identify potential problems early within the context of the planned maintenance system so that corrective action may be planned, included in the budget cycle, and completed in a timely manner.
  4. Establish a capital asset replacement "deferred maintenance" list by using the policy and procedures of the Facility Audit and Inspection Program (see 2.1).
  5. Follow an orderly program so that administrative costs are minimized and the workload for personnel is maintained at a relatively constant level.
  6. Conserve energy and resources by ensuring maximum operating efficiency of energy-consuming equipment and systems.
  7. Maintain credible relations with users by providing well-maintained facilities and information on planned maintenance activities.
  8. Identify and implement possible improvements that will reduce costs, improve service, and result in more efficient operation.
  9. Establish data collection systems that create supervisory and management control reports with uniform reporting formats and achieve continual feedback of information among departments through communications and manuals.
  10. Institute systems for reporting historical data and operating statistics and maintain trend lines and indices of operating effectiveness.

1.1.1 Environmental Health and Safety References:

Current University policy as of 2005 can be found at the following link:

University Policy on Management of Health, Safety and the Environment (pdf)

1.1.2 Health Care Accreditation Requirements:

The five University teaching hospitals must comply with the standards of The Joint Commission (TJC) the standards of this commission address aspects of operation and maintenance.

(Back to top)


Facilities operation is the provision of day-to-day services required to operate the University's buildings and grounds. The University’s expectation is that each campus will operate its Facilities in the most efficient manner to provide timely, effective, and economical plant operation in support of the University's mission of teaching, research, and public service. Examples of facilities operation are: the locking and unlocking of doors, custodial services, and the ongoing provision of utilities services to a building.

See: About UC

(Back to top)


1.3.1 General

Facilities maintenance is the normally funded ongoing program for the upkeep and preservation of buildings, equipment, roads, grounds, and utilities required to maintain a Facility in a condition adequate to support the University's mission.

Maintenance in this normal program includes the planned, preventive, emergency, as well as the unplanned or reactive maintenance required to provide a safe, healthful, and secure environment. Each type of maintenance (see 1.4 below) is utilized by the different OMP functions (see 1.5 below) to complete their tasks. The University defers certain capital asset replacement work due to budget constraints. This maintenance work constitutes a deferred maintenance backlog.

1.3.2 Definitions

Maintenance: Maintenance is the upkeep of property, machinery, systems, and facilities, including buildings, utility infrastructure, roads, and grounds. Maintenance consists of those activities necessary to keep facilities and systems operational and in good working order. It consists of the preservation, but not the improvement, of buildings and grounds, other real property improvements and their components. Maintenance may include replacement of components of equipment or building systems (roof, flooring, HVAC, etc.) if replacement is performed:

  1. on a routine or recurring basis,
  2. to bring the equipment or building system back to its fully functional state,
  3. to ensure the equipment or building system retains its functionality for its anticipated useful life.

Subject to the above limitations, replacement of a component of a building system (for preservation, not improvement) is a form of maintenance when the replacement component is a duplicate, i.e., replacement-in-kind, or, if not, the replacement item is an upgrade because a duplicate component is obsolete or is no longer reasonably available. When the replacement is undertaken for the purpose of upgrading a system, it is not maintenance.


“a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole”. Systems related to University facilities are specifically defined in the Facility Audit and Inspection Program Examples of facilities systems would be an HVAC system comprised of circulating pumps, fan coil units, etc. or an electrical system comprised of fixtures, service panels, etc .


A component is “a constituent part” of a system

Examples of facility components would be a thermostat which is a component of an HVAC control system, or flashing which is a component of a roofing system.

If the work associated with replacement of a system’s component(s) is greater than 50% of the replacement value of its system, such work should be considered a system replacement and for the purposes of this article, shall be considered repair and beyond the scope of maintenance. In addition, if the value of the work associated with replacement of component(s) exceeds current University Minor Capital Project limits, the Facility shall obtain Office of the President concurrence prior to proceeding with the work on the basis of maintenance work as defined in this Chapter.

See: Facility Manual Glossary: "Minor Capital Improvement Project"



Repair means to restore property, machinery, systems, and facilities, including buildings, roads, and grounds and their components to working order and may require the submission of plans; the submission of calculations; construction inspection requirements; and other data to ensure compliance with the California Building Code; and/or requires a change to the stamped plans, specifications, reports or documents used for its construction. Repair does not include any matter that could reasonably be characterized as maintenance.

Specialized Research Equipment:

Equipment and/or system that as a practical matter is so unique or specialized that it requires technical expertise that is not commonly commercially available. The erection, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement related to such equipment/system would need to be performed by in-house labor with the requisite technical experience and knowledge to provide reliable functional equipment/systems.


Construction consists of moving, demolishing, altering, upgrading, renovating, installing, or building a structure, facility, or system according to a plan or by a definite process. Construction consists of the application of any of these techniques to physical plant facilities such as structures, utilities, excavations, landscaping, site improvements, drainage systems, and roads; and additions, deletions, or modifications of such facilities. All painting, regardless of whether exterior or interior painting of new or existing structures, is a form of construction. Upgrading or replacing a building system in its entirety when it has exceeded its useful life is generally construction, not maintenance.

Project: As defined in the Public Contract Code, a project includes the erection, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of any University of California structure, building, road, or other improvement that will exceed in cost, including labor and materials, a total of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). If a project falls within the statutory definition, the project must be competitively bid.

See:  CA Public Contract Code Sections 10500-10506

Infrastructure and utility system. Any system controlled and maintained by the University that services or is available to service multiple University structures, buildings, or improvements. An example of a system included in this definition would be the domestic water system; an example of a system not included could be a phone system maintained by an outside provider.

Maintenance Management. Maintenance management is the systematic and effective management of a maintenance activity in which sound applications are made of the three basic elements of management: organization, measurement, and control.

1.3.3 Exceptions to competitive bidding

Unless a project meets the requirements of the exceptions below, all projects must be competitively bid. Chapter 2.1 of the California Public Contract Code specifically outlines contracting policy for the University. University contracting policies and procedures are found in all sections of that chapter and must be clearly understood and followed, including remedies and penalties for noncompliance. “Any officer or employee of the University of California who corruptly performs any official act under this chapter to the injury of the University is guilty of a felony.” (See CA Public Contract Code Sections 10520-10526)

See: Volume 4 of the Facilities Manual for University contracting policies and procedure

1. Specialized Equipment:

If a project is for “the erection, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of experimental, diagnostic, or specialized research equipment” (Section 10505(a)(2) of Public Contract Code) , the University may elect to perform the project with University employees. Such work must require specialized knowledge and skills not readily available by contract. The use of this exception requires that the equipment installed must become a permanent part of the structure, that any ancillary construction work to be performed by University employees must be performed at the same time as the equipment installation and must be required in order to make the equipment functional or maintain its functionality.

For example, if installation of specialized research equipment requires alterations to room walls and flooring, it would permissible to repaint the entire room and replace all flooring in the room as part of the installation; it would not be permissible to repaint or replace flooring in an adjacent hallway or rooms not altered by the installation of the equipment.

Note that the exception is limited for any painting work by the provisions of paragraph 3c below.

Under circumstances where the ancillary construction work does not meet these requirements, such work must not be accomplished using University employees unless it falls under the exceptions stated in paragraphs 2 or 3 below. See: Section 10505 (2) of Public Contract Code

2. Emergency Repair:

If a project is required immediately and is necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare as the result of an emergency due to an act of God, earthquake, flood, storm, fire, landslide, public disturbance, vandalism, or failure that causes damage, then such work may be done on a time and materials basis, by contract based upon informal bids, by University employees, by day labor, or by a combination thereof. For this exception to apply, it is necessary for the facts to support the immediate need for repairs to protect public health, safety and welfare.

An example of an emergency not covered by this exception would be vandalism causing extensive damage to landscaping where the damage does not present an immediate safety hazard and the cost of the work is in excess of $50,000. The work would be necessary as the result of “vandalism” but would not meet the test of “necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare”. The work would, in this example, be subject to the bidding requirements in the Public Contract Code.

3. Projects under $50,000

a) University employees may perform a construction project when the value of all labor and materials does not exceed $50,000. [This limitation does not apply to maintenance work.] A construction project may not be split in order to utilize this exception, e.g., performing $40,000 of work with University employees and issuing a contract or purchase order to a contractor for the remaining $40,000 of an $80,000 construction project. However, individual projects need not be combined into a single project. As an examplee, the planned repaving of a street is a single construction project even though it may consist of repaving several separate sections of that street. In contrast, the repaving of separate sections of that same street accomplished at different times in response to program planning, funding requirements, or unexpected events, would each be a separate construction project.

b) University employees, subject to the $50,000 limitation, may perform work on Infrastructure and Utility Systems necessary to support other construction projects or construction work; for example work required prior to and during the performance of a competitively bid project, e.g., rerouting and shutdowns of utilities and final connection of the project to the existing Infrastructure and Utility Systems. The coordinated work of multiple construction projects is not considered a single project; similarly, multiple discrete Infrastructure and Utility Systems requirements performed to support the same competitively bid project are each subject to the $50,000 limitation. An examplee of multiple discrete Infrastructure and Utility Systems requirements would be a $40,000 requirement to realign the domestic water supply for the new structure and a $40,000 requirement to perform shutdowns and final connection of electrical supply. Each of these discrete requirements could be performed by University employees.

c) Projects for the painting or repainting of a structure, building, road, or improvement of any kind may not be performed with University employees if the value of the painting or repainting project exceeds twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). (See CA Public Contract Code Section 10505b)Such projects must be performed by outside contractors. Projects may not be split to avoid these constraints, for example, performing $20,000 of painting work with University employees and issuing a contract or purchase order to a contractor for the remaining $20,000 of a $40,000 project.

4. Maintenance Work:

Work that is solely maintenance, as defined above, may be performed by either University employees or under contract. If performed under contract, maintenance work is subject to non-construction competitive bidding requirements for contracts costing $50,000 or more, regardless of the form of contract. Work that involves the painting or repainting of a structure, building, road, or improvement of any kind cannot be defined as solely maintenance, as painting of any kind is considered construction.

The Regents of the University of California may perform projects with university employees if the value of the work to be performed does not exceed $50,000. However, the University may not use university employees if the scope of the work is painting or repainting and exceeds $25,000.

It is important to understand the distinction between maintenance and repair as it relates to the California Public Contract Code.

Example of the difference between maintenance and repair:

a) A driver of a car loses control and hits an exterior air conditioning unit located on a slab adjacent to a University building. The unit is totally destroyed and the replacement cost inclusive of materials is $75,000. Under the definitions above, the replacement of the unit would be maintenance, not repair.

b) The driver of a car loses control and hits an exterior support column of a University building. Inspection reveals that there is damage to the structure of the building. The work, which would need plans and specifications, required to ensure the structural integrity of the building would be repair.

University facilities shall establish written policies and procedures to ensure the implementation of the correct distinction between maintenance and repair. As a minimum, these procedures must include approvals necessary when determining that a specific requirement in excess of $50,000 for work on property, machinery, systems, and facilities, including buildings, utility infrastructure, roads, and grounds is maintenance if there is any indication that the work could be categorized as repair.

(Back to top)


In order to provide a safe, healthful, and secure environment, the University requires the use of four types of maintenance: planned, preventive, unplanned/reactive, and emergency. Each type of maintenance is utilized by the various OMP functions (see 1.5 below) to complete their tasks.

1.4.1 Planned Maintenance

Planned maintenance, also referred to as "programmed" or "scheduled" maintenance, is the upkeep of property, machinery, and facilities, including buildings, utility systems, roads, and grounds. Planned maintenance is often characterized by its routine or recurring nature. The University’s expectation is that each campus will maintain its physical facilities so that they are functional and in a condition adequate to meet the University's mission. Substantial efficiencies result from using planned and scheduled maintenance rather than unplanned/reactive maintenance.

1.4.2 Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is that portion of the overall maintenance program that provides the periodic inspection, adjustment, minor repair, lubrication, reporting, and data recording necessary to minimize building equipment and utility system breakdown and maximize system and equipment efficiency.

Preventive maintenance:

  • Utilizes planned services, inspections, adjustments, and replacements designed to ensure maximum utilization of equipment at minimum cost.
  • Is a program in which wear, tear, and change are anticipated, and continuous corrective action is taken to ensure peak efficiency and minimum deterioration.
  • Includes cleaning, adjustment, lubrication, minor repair, and parts replacement.

All are performed on scheduled frequencies in accordance with written maintenance instructions.

Preventive Maintenance Program procedures are designed to fulfill the needs of the Facility. The purpose of the program is to produce cost savings by:

  • Reducing the downtime of critical systems and equipment.
  • Extending the life of facilities and equipment.
  • Improving equipment reliability.
  • Ensuring proper equipment operation.
  • Improving the overall appearance of facilities.

1.4.3 Unplanned or Reactive Maintenance

Unplanned/reactive maintenance is the unplanned response to maintenance requests which do not have emergency status. In general a facilities organization should plan and schedule as much of its maintenance activities as possible. Work that is scheduled and planned is done much more efficiently than that done by reactive maintenance.

1.4.4 Emergency Maintenance

The University has defined emergency maintenance as the repair or replacement of Facility components and equipment requiring immediate attention because the functioning of a critical system is impaired or because health, safety, or security of life is endangered. Emergency maintenance supersedes all other categories of maintenance. For the purpose of determining whether emergency maintenance falls within the exception to competitive bidding requirements, refer to 1.3.3 above.

1.4.5 Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance uses techniques designed to assess asset condition to determine when asset maintenance should be performed.  The main promise of predictive maintenance is to allow convenient scheduling of corrective maintenance and to prevent unexpected equipment failures. 

(Back to top)



OMP Elements are aggregations of tasks required to perform each type of maintenance and operation. Basic operation and maintenance tasks are common to all Facilities although they vary in their topography, climate, structure, organization, management, historical background, and effectiveness of past maintenance. The following paragraphs (under 1.5) describe the various elements required to keep Facilities functioning properly. The nine elements and their relationship to the various types of maintenance and operation in the normal maintenance and operation program are described below. 

1.5.1 Plant Administration

Plant Administration includes the administration, supervision, and the analytical and technical support needed for the operation and maintenance of plant (see Chapter 4). The facility audit and inspection program is an important component of Plant Administration.

1.5.2 Building Maintenance (and Operation)

Building Maintenance includes the operation of building equipment and control systems. Building Maintenance also includes: (1) ordinary recurring maintenance and repair of buildings and equipment, and (2) maintenance, repair, and replacement of building components and equipment. "Equipment" includes building operating equipment and built-in equipment.

1.5.3 Grounds Maintenance

Grounds Maintenance includes maintenance of grounds and outdoor facilities such as lawns, trees, shrubs, roads, bridges, sidewalks, fences, signs, street lighting, storm drains, irrigation systems, outdoor parking, and outdoor athletic facilities.

1.5.4 Custodial Services

Custodial Services (sometimes called "Building Services" or "Janitorial Services") includes general cleaning, restroom sanitizing, indoor rodent and insect control, sweeping, mopping, trash removal, and window cleaning for buildings. .

1.5.5 Utilities Operation and Maintenance

Utilities Operation includes (1) the continuous operation of Central Plant and central control systems; (2) distribution of electricity, water, gas, and oil; (3) production and distribution of steam, chilled water, compressed air, and treated water; and (4) utility planning, budgeting, analysis, and conservation. Utilities Maintenance is the upkeep, repair, and replacement of Central Plant equipment and utility distribution and collection systems to the perimeter of buildings.

1.5.6 Refuse Disposal

Refuse Disposal includes the disposal of dry and wet trash, waste, plant trimmings, and turf clippings, whether hauled by Facility employees or by contractors. Refuse Disposal tasks are usually performed on a scheduled basis (or on request) by Grounds Maintenance or Custodial Services or are contracted for, but this OMP function remains a separate program element for budget purposes.

Refuse Disposal and Policy on Sustainable Practices: As part of its Policy on Sustainable Practices the University has adopted the following waste diversion goals:

  • 25% per capita from FY2015/16 levels by 2025
  • 50% per capita from FY2015/16 levels by 2030
  • Divert 90% of municipal solid waste from the landfill.

See: UC Policy on Sustainable Practices: Section 'F': Zero Waste

Hazardous Waste Disposal. Refuse Disposal does not include the task of hazardous waste disposal. Hazardous waste disposal is the responsibility of the Facility office of Environmental Health and Safety although that office may contract the OMP department to handle hazardous waste. Hazardous waste includes infectious and toxic waste, chemicals, and radioactive elements that cannot be handled by regular refuse disposal procedures.

1.5.7 Plant Service

Plant Service is an optional OMP function that sets up an account to recharge users for funds expended by OMP on services performed by the other functions for work included or not included in the Operating Budget. The purpose of Plant Service is to provide a uniform and consistent method to collect and account for costs of all OMP functions through recharges (See: Section 4.2.2 “Recharging of Facilities Services to Non-OMP supported functions”)

1.5.8 Fire Departments

The Fire Departments function includes the operation and maintenance of campus fire departments and their equipment. Only two campuses at this time, Davis and Santa Cruz, operate fire departments and also have mutual aid agreements with the adjacent or surrounding community. The Campuses that do not have fire departments are provided fire protection services by the adjacent or surrounding community. The operation and maintenance of fire detection and suppression systems and equipment is part of the Building Maintenance, Grounds Maintenance, or Utilities Operation and Maintenance functions.

1.5.9 Executive Housing

The operation and maintenance of executive housing is performed by Building Maintenance, Utilities Operation and Maintenance, Grounds Maintenance, and Custodial Services. Because Executive Housing is a program element in the OMP budget (see 3.2.2), it is kept as a separate function.

See: OMP Functions Diagrammed

(Back to top)

<< Back to Table of Contents Next chapter >>