CMMS and regulatory controls in Europe
Monday 04 may 2020
Periodic maintenance, inspections and audits, the essential technical equipment of a building are subject to maintenance obligations regulated by law. Their perfect operation and conformity are indeed decisive to guarantee the safety of the people who live or use the premises. From one country to another, and even from one region to another, regulations change... let's take a tour of Europe to get a clearer picture.
Elevators, heating, fire-fighting systems, electrical installations or even security and alarm systems - this is a panel of equipment that is essential to the operation of a building. However, without maintenance, these installations can encounter malfunctions representing a potential danger to the safety of people. Numerous legislative regulations therefore require them to be checked periodically and advise or impose regular maintenance. Inspection, maintenance, two terms that are similar but very different... But then what is the difference?
Maintenance covers the maintenance actions carried out by a technician on equipment, such as greasing, cleaning, adjustment, replacement of parts, upgrading of consumables, etc., in a preventive manner in order to anticipate and avoid the occurrence of possible breakdowns. It is mainly carried out by a maintenance company.
The technical inspection consists of ensuring the conformity of the installations and requiring intervention in the event of a failure being observed, the objective being to protect the health and safety of the people on the premises. In the majority of cases, it is carried out by an expert technician with the necessary qualifications, working in a company approved by the State and independent of the maintainer.
While technical inspection is made compulsory for all equipment, preventive maintenance is very often advised by the authorities and can sometimes even become, in turn, compulsory for certain equipment that constitutes a higher safety risk.
Regulations for plant inspections differ from one country to another to meet the specificities of each one. As a result, the inspection criteria, the person in charge of inspections, the periodicity and the maintenance obligations are not the same.
Let's take a closer look to know the specificities of each country and see how a CMMS solution, a Computerized Maintenance Management System, through its adapted functionalities, will considerably facilitate and organize these visits and respond to each problem encountered.
Regulatory controls and audits in Europe - Episode 1: Belgium
Belgian installations are subject to technical inspection regulations that vary from one piece of equipment to another, but it is the heating installations that meet the most complex periodic maintenance obligations. In Flanders, Wallonia or the Brussels region, the regulations are not the same: the conditions are set according to the type of combustion of the installation or according to its capacity. The Belgian authorities have also laid down very detailed obligations for oil installations, which are again different in each region. The size of the tank, its type, its characteristics (underground, above-ground, accessible, not accessible, single-walled or double-walled etc.), its age, its location (prevention zone etc.) and the region in which it is located can change the verification criteria and the inspection frequencies. Details are available on Regulatory controls and audits in Europe - Episode 1: Belgium. It should be noted that the legislation concerning fuel oil tanks is much stricter than in the other countries studied. For example, an oil delivery person will not be allowed to fill a tank that does not have the green pellet.
It is imperative for the owner or the person in charge of the equipment to respect these prescriptions, at the risk of incurring financial penalties and civil and criminal liability. Thus, he must be able to record, centralize and share this mass of data in order to easily find his way around and to ensure the follow-up control of the equipment. A modern Computer Aided Maintenance Management solution offering all these functionalities, becomes here the appropriate tool to perfectly meet these obligations.
Regulatory controls and audits in Europe - Episode 2: Switzerland
Switzerland or the Swiss Confederation, which is known for its spirit of independence and direct democracy, also has its own peculiarities. Federalism is a fundamental principle of the country and, with a territory divided into 26 cantons, each with its own constitution and its own authorities, the regulations for equipment controls, periodicity and maintenance conditions can differ significantly from one region to another.
It is therefore essential for maintenance service providers operating in Switzerland to equip themselves with a CMMS that will provide them with centralised and organised data storage. This will enable him to easily identify the regulations applicable to each installation according to its characteristics and, of course, its location. We let you discover all this in the article Regulatory controls and audits in Europe - Episode 2: Switzerland
Regulatory Controls and Audits in Europe - Episode 3: The UK
The United Kingdom is known for the trust the government places in its citizens. This cultural specificity is reflected in the regulations for periodic checks of equipment. In the United Kingdom, the frequency of inspection requirements are in fact recommendations issued by the government, which are essentially derived from regulations relating to equipment compliance standards.
The main objective of the maintenance providers or competent bodies that carry out these inspections is thus to continuously maintain an installation in compliance. Even if the inspection frequency is often "advised" and not imposed, managers take the risk of incurring liability in the event of an incident following the failure of an installation. By being less strict in its regulations, the government is appealing more to everyone's responsibility. You can see this in Regulatory Controls and Audits in Europe - Episode 3: The United Kingdom
It is of course essential for building maintenance service providers to be equipped with a mobile CMMS that will enable them to continuously monitor the condition of the equipment under their responsibility, to know what work has been done and to plan future work in order to comply with the recommendations dictated.
Regulatory controls and audits in Europe - Episode 4: France
France, rightly famous for its consequent legislative framework and solid administration (thank you Napoleon!), is the country with the strictest lift maintenance regulations in Europe. It requires technical inspections to be carried out at a defined frequency and also makes lift maintenance compulsory, with a fixed frequency of one visit every 6 weeks. Result: CMMS essential to enable owners to ensure that visits are carried out properly and maintainers to ensure that they meet their contractual commitments. For more information: Regulatory controls and audits in Europe - Episode 4: France
Also good to know, both for lifts and other equipment, the French government orders a report to be made after each intervention. When it concerns inspection, it will be recorded in the safety register, while for maintenance, it will be recorded in the maintenance logbook.
It is therefore essential that the operator in charge is able to keep an up-to-date record of each piece of equipment and easily identify the periodic obligations imposed, in order to comply with them. He must also be able to easily retrieve intervention reports and communicate them to the stakeholders concerned. Only by relying on a modern CMMS application will the facility manager be able to easily organize his mass of data, share information with his partners and customers and meet this challenge.
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