What’s the difference between repairs and maintenance work?

Both repairs and maintenance are equally important for buildings and other structures. These services can help keep buildings and infrastructure in consistently good shape, ensuring they're safe and aren't susceptible to potentially costly damage.

However, it's important to understand the difference between these terms to determine which is required for a property at a given time. While both of these services share the same goal of getting the most from infrastructure, equipment, and tools, they achieve this goal in a couple of different ways.


Repair entails restoring a property to working condition and fixing existing wear and tear. The degree of repair will depend on the level of damage present and what's required to fully restore the property.

There are two main types of building repairs that properties may need over time, depending on the properties' specific needs:

Day-to-day repairs

These include repairs that occasionally become necessary to restore certain systems, including:

  • Water supplies
  • Sewage systems
  • Electrical systems

For example, buildings may require day-to-day repairs to fix faulty switches or replace blown fuses. Other required services can include mowing lawns, sump pump cleaning and pumping, and more. These services help ensure the property is in consistently good condition and help minimise the need for more extensive repairs.

Special Repairs

Special building repairs help maintain buildings by replacing worn portions that deteriorate over time. These services help to restore buildings as much as possible to their original condition. For example, the exterior of a building may experience a degree of wear over time due to exposure to harsh weather conditions. This would require replacement materials to help return the property to near-original conditions.


Maintenance is a term that often encompasses all types of maintenance work performed on a property, with repairs falling under this umbrella.

Buildings often undergo preventative maintenance to prevent the breakdown of systems and building materials that could lead to bigger problems. Preventative maintenance typically begins with a regular inspection survey, followed by completing services that help prevent buildings from deteriorating over time. Maintenance services can help mitigate the effects of potentially damaging factors such as mould and fungi, pollution, flooding, insect infestations, seepage and leakage, and more.

Some specific maintenance services for buildings may include:

  • The installation of new assets in facilities
  • Routine maintenance, such as functional checks and inspections
  • Upgrades to existing assets
  • Upgrades to new systems, such as lighting or HVAC systems
  • The installation or retrofitting of sensors that monitor conditions
  • Repair services

Other periodic maintenance services can also help preserve a building's visual aesthetics and increase its longevity. Professionals typically perform these services on an annual basis to keep the property in great shape. Some of these additional maintenance services may include painting, distempering, and whitewashing, among others.

The best way to differentiate between both repairs and maintenance is to look at repairs as services performed once a certain system or part has failed. Meanwhile, maintenance refers to services performed to help prevent potentially serious damages and breakdowns that might otherwise require repairs.

The importance of building repairs and maintenance

To maintain any type of property, it's necessary to perform occasional repairs and maintenance. If property owners and managers can consistently maintain their property and infrastructure, they'll be able to maximise the safety and life of their assets. Routine preventative maintenance is the best way to prevent potentially extensive damage and costly repairs, making it critical to work with a reliable maintenance partner to help keep a property in great shape.

The key to great and cost-effective preventative maintenance and repairs is to locate the right company. The ideal maintenance partner will understand what your property specifically needs and help you ensure it's consistently functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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