Industry Standard for Building Maintenance Specification (SFG20)

In this article, we get acquainted with the Standard Specifications for Building Maintenance and Services, SFG20, which provides a comprehensive set of schedules covering over 70 different types of assets.



The SFG20 standard stands as a pivotal measure in the realm of building upkeep. It encompasses an extensive array of schedules encompassing over 70 diverse asset categories, alongside the building's core structure. Originating in 1990 to address regulatory compliance, it presently finds application across various sectors, spanning healthcare, education, government, retail, residential, and more.

SFG20 aids organizations in ensuring their buildings receive maintenance in a secure, legally compliant, and efficient manner. This framework contributes significantly to asset preservation while fostering a safe and comfortable environment for users.

The SFG20 Standard: Maintenance and Building Services

SFG20 serves as an inclusive guide for maintenance tasks, systematically classifying each task based on its significance through a spectrum of colors. Tasks highlighted in red denote legal obligations or are outlined in codes of practice, aiding users in achieving compliance.

Additionally, SFG20 guidelines encompass suggested task frequencies and the requisite skill set for each task. This empowers users to verify and establish that their property's upkeep has been carried out by duly qualified personnel.

By adhering to the SFG20 standard, building owners, facility managers, internal maintenance teams, contractors, and consultants can proactively address issues, ensure compliance with relevant regulations, and provide the best possible chance for the building and its assets to achieve their full life expectancy.

SFG20: Your Comprehensive Guide to Building Maintenance and Services

SFG20 covers various critical aspects, offering a structured approach to building maintenance:

  • Building Systems: Encompassing a broad spectrum of building systems—HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire safety, security, and building fabric—SFG20 provides comprehensive guidelines.
  • Maintenance Tasks: It delineates specific tasks for each system, detailing necessary actions and their frequency. These tasks span routine inspections, servicing, cleaning, and repairs.
  • Frequency Management: Recommending maintenance schedules, SFG20 ensures timely task execution, avoiding neglect or excessive servicing and thereby enhancing the longevity of building assets.
  • Compliance Assurance: The standard guarantees adherence to industry regulations and standards. It supports building owners and managers in fulfilling legal requirements and adopting best practices.
  • Tailored Adaptation: While presenting a standardized structure, SFG20 allows customization to fit unique building characteristics. This flexibility ensures tailored maintenance plans.
  • Documentation Emphasis: Highlighting the significance of documentation, SFG20 advocates for recording maintenance activities, including task completion, responsible personnel, and observations. This documentation serves as a historical reference and aids in proving compliance.
  • Cost-Effective Management: Organizations employing SFG20 benefit from cost-efficient maintenance strategies. It helps in reducing unexpected breakdowns, extending asset lifespans, and optimizing resource allocation.

Risk Assessment: Foundation of Building Maintenance

Risk assessment stands as one of the pivotal pillars within the SFG20 standard. It utilizes four levels of risk to aid users in making informed decisions. These levels are:

  • Mandatory Risks (Red): This category focuses on ensuring full compliance with regulations and applicable laws. Examples include maintaining fire safety systems and meeting electrical safety requirements.
  • Sectorial/Organizational Risks (Pink): This category centers on meeting specific maintenance requirements set for buildings by the sector they belong to or the organization managing them. For instance, there might be specific maintenance requirements for hospitals, schools, or government buildings.
  • Functional Risks (Orange): This category emphasizes safeguarding critical assets necessary for business continuity while avoiding over-maintenance or under-maintenance. Examples include maintaining HVAC systems, elevators, and backup power generators.
  • Optional Risks (Green): This category concentrates on maintaining non-critical assets that do not directly impact business operations. Examples include furniture maintenance, exterior paintwork, and landscaping.

This risk categorization provides a clear framework for building maintenance, ensuring efficient resource allocation primarily to the most critical assets. This approach helps prevent unforeseen breakdowns, extends asset lifespan, and enhances the overall building efficiency.

In addition to risk levels, SFG20 also provides specific guidelines for assessing risks associated with each type of asset. These guidelines encompass factors such as:

  • Probability of Failure: The likelihood of a breakdown or damage occurring in the asset.
  • Severity of Consequences: The impact of failure on user safety and operations.
  • Maintenance Cost: The expenses linked to maintaining or replacing the asset.

By utilizing these factors, users can evaluate the risks related to each asset and develop an appropriate maintenance plan.



Risk-Based Approach in Building Maintenance: SFG20

Implementing a risk-based approach in building maintenance is vital to ensure the fulfillment of an organization's requirements to the highest possible standard. When devising and customizing maintenance strategies for a building, various factors need evaluation, including asset lifespan, condition, and maintenance history.

By emphasizing risks, it becomes possible to determine whether an asset can be allowed to function until failure (reactive maintenance) or if it necessitates scheduled inspections within a planned preventive maintenance strategy.

Challenges of a Risk-Based Approach

Implementing a risk-based approach requires precise knowledge of the assets undergoing maintenance - information that isn't always readily available in existing buildings. In cases where a comprehensive asset list or digital model of the building is unavailable, a thorough survey of equipment and components becomes necessary. However, the increasing prevalence of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for newly constructed buildings has become more common. Investments in time and budget allocated towards asset inspections in an existing building or property will yield significant gains by reducing risks for the organization and enhancing maintenance budget planning.

Implementing a Risk-Based Approach in Building Maintenance

  • Information regarding asset lifespan, condition, and service history can be utilized to determine the likelihood of asset failure and identify potential repair costs.
  • This information can be used to identify the most cost-effective strategy for asset maintenance.
  • Additionally, the risk-based approach can prioritize maintenance work.

Advantages of Applying a Risk-Based Approach in Building Maintenance

  • Reducing maintenance costs.
  • Improving building performance.
  • Ensuring building safety.

The industry standard for building maintenance specification, SFG20, serves as a valuable tool to ensure safe and efficient building maintenance. By providing a unified approach to building upkeep, SFG20 can help reduce unexpected breakdowns, prolong the lifespan of building assets, enhance overall building performance, ensure safety, and save costs. To effectively utilize SFG20, it's important to have a good understanding of the standards, assess your specific needs, and be flexible in customizing it to meet the unique requirements of your building.