Design for Maintainability

RT-142 Topic Summary
RT 142


Design for Maintainability, RT-142, is the gift that keeps on giving. It will improve project return on investment, allows for a smoother project startup, realizes less project rework, produces a less costly maintenance investment, and results in a lower life cycle cost. It will help designers and contractors by illustrating methods of integrating maintainability knowledge into project design and construction. Similar to constructability, this topic emphasizes the importance of timely integration of design and construction knowledge into project designs at an early stage.

Design for Maintainability is the first step of an effective maintenance program, linking maintenance goals to the design process. If adequate measures for cost-effective maintainability are not integrated into the design and construction phases of a project, the risk increases that 1) reliability will be adversely impacted and 2) total life cycle costs will increase significantly. Appropriate levels of maintainability seldom occur by chance. front end planning, setting objectives, disciplined design implementation, and feedback from prior projects are all required. It is vital to identify critical maintainability and reliability issues and integrate them into facility project designs to achieve long-term facility owning and operating benefits.

Design for Maintainability is an Owner driven process and a corporate-level best practice that will assist all projects in contributing to improved profitability. Implementing design for maintainability is the start of a process journey toward improved return on project investment. RT-142 is a comprehensive package comprised of maintainability best practices, a model process, and tools to help the user implement these best practices and achieve the model process. Design for maintainability integrates downstream experience and knowledge regarding cost-effective facility/plant operations and maintenance into project design parameters with the goal of reducing the costs to operate the facility for its expected life. Effective design for maintainability is achieved though the integration of maintainability practices with the corporate-level best practice of the continuous improvement process.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Five Levels of Maintainability

This research suggests that implementation of maintainability is logically organized into five levels. Each sequential step builds on the prior step with each step becoming a more formal process.(RS141-2, p. 8)
Reference: (RS142-1)

2 : Maintainability Model Process

The intent of the model process is to serve as a clearly defined ideal to aid in setting appropriate objectives and defining targets based on project requirements and available resources. The model process for implementing maintainability is organized to achieve a logical flow and consists of six steps that serve as an overall corporate template for all projects. The process begins with the corporate-level groundwork necessary to implement a new program, and then feeds back learning from the projects to improve the entire process. (RS142-1, p. 12)
Reference: (RS142-1)

3 : Maintainability Tools

The research identifies 16 useful tools and checklists to aid the corporate or project level user in implementing design for maintainability. (RS142-1, p. 18)
Reference: (RS142-1)

4 : Maintainability Best Practices

The research team developed 22 best practices that can be applied to the corporate level and the project level of any organization. It is also intended that the users own practices can be compared and contrasted with the identified best practices as part of an internal benchmarking exercise. Note that these 22 best practices are aligned with the six milestones of the Maintainability Model Process, Key Finding # 2 above. (RS142-1 p. 18)
Reference: (RS142-1)

5 : High Use of Design for Maintainability

Use of Design for Maintainability practices is proven to give members a decisive industry edge: (IC Presentation 1999, slide 5)

  • Cost Industry best use shows a cost of $0.72 versus $1.00 for industry average use
  • Cycle Time – Industry best use is at 70% compared to 1.0 for industry average use
  • Operability – Industry best use operates at a 6% improvement over industry average use
Reference: ()

6 : Two Basic Approaches to Implement Design for Maintainability

  1. Stand-alone approach which is specifically focused on achieving project maintainability goals only
  2. Combined approach where maintainability is part of a larger overall improvement program that may include reliability, constructability, value engineering, etc.
Reference: (RS142-1)

7 : Five Key Attributes That Drive a Successful Maintainability Program

  1. Corporate Commitment
  2. Program Supports
  3. Maintainability Planning
  4. Maintainability Implementation
  5. Program Updating
Reference: (RS142-1)

8 : Implementation Tool #1

IR142-2, Design for Maintainability Guidebook

This resource provides specific instructions on using the tools and practices for improved design for maintainability. It will aid the design team by illustrating methods of integrating maintainability knowledge into project design and construction.

The Guidebook includes a Maintainability Self-Assessment tool that will provide an indication of the user’s current level of implementation of maintainability as compared to the research findings. (IR142-2, p. 5)

Reference: (IR142-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved operations & maintainability, Improved quality

Research Publications

State-of-Practice in Maintainability: Seven Case Studies - RR142-12

Publication Date: 12/1999 Type: Research Report Pages: 243 Status: Reference

A Model Process for Maintainability Implementation - RR142-11

Publication Date: 12/1999 Type: Research Report Pages: 213 Status: Reference

Design for Maintainability: Improving Project Return on Investment - RS142-1

Publication Date: 12/1999 Type: Research Summary Pages: 33 Status: Supporting Product

Design for Maintainability Guidebook - IR142-2

Publication Date: 10/1999 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 96 Status: Tool

Supporting Resources

Education Materials

Design for Maintainability - Instructor's Guide - EM142-21

Publication Date: 08/2002 Type: Education Module Pages: 0 Status: Supporting Product

Design for Maintainability - Participant Handbook - EM142-21A

Publication Date: 08/2002 Type: Education Module Pages: 0 Status: Supporting Product

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Design For Maintainability

Publication Date: 06/1999 Presenter: Number of Slides: 21 Event Code: AC99