Reliability Centered Maintenance

Four Part Series - Part One


Many facilities allow their electrical equipment to run to failure rather than take a planned outage to perform regular maintenance. In the past this has been an acceptable approach, even though unplanned outages cost significantly more money in terms of loss of production and emergency repair services. Due to safety concerns, industry standards have recently made maintenance a requirement. This is the first in a series of articles that will help you understand why you need to do maintenance, how to pick the best strategy, how to design your system to lower costs in the long run and what exactly the NFPA 70E definition of “normal” means.

High Rise Buildings | Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), NFPA 70E-2018 | National Field Services

Why Do Maintenance?

The goal of any maintenance or maintenance program should be to extend the life of the equipment and eliminate accidents and unplanned shutdowns. Only in recent years has maintenance become more a requirement than a choice of owners.

NFPA 70E-2018 Article 100 Definitions

The state of the electrical equipment considering the manufacturers’ instructions, manufacturers’ recommendations, and applicable industry codes, standards and recommended practices establishes the condition of maintenance for electrical equipment. 

NFPA 70E-2018 Article 110.1(C)

The electrical safety program shall include elements that consider condition of maintenance of electrical equipment and systems.

Almost all work around electrical equipment is only permitted when the equipment is considered in a “normal condition.”

NFPA 70E-2018 Article 130.5

Equipment condition considered to be “normal” if all the following circumstances apply:

  • The equipment is properly installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and applicable industry codes and standards.
  • The equipment is properly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and applicable industry codes and standards.
  • The equipment is used in accordance with instructions included in the listing and labeling and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Equipment doors are closed and secured.
  • Equipment covers are in place and secured.
  • There is no evidence of impending failure such as arcing, overheating, loose or bound equipment parts, visible damage, or deterioration.

What Causes Failure?

Electrical equipment is susceptible to only a handful of mechanisms that cause degradation: moisture, contamination and heat.

The goal of your maintenance should be to prevent these mechanisms, retard them or mitigate their effects.

Now that you know why you need a maintenance program, how do you know which maintenance strategy is best? Follow us for the next article, where we look at the different approaches to maintenance. If you’re ready to maximize the reliability of your system and ensure compliance with industry standards, contact us!


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