Why you should keep a machine maintenance record

Machine maintenance records - What should a machine maintenance record include?

Machine maintenance records are the most standard piece of paperwork you’ll need to supply to work for a civil or commercial contractor or if you intend to land your plant hire company on a local government supply panel. It's rare that you’ll get asked to supply a machine maintenance record if you are working on a private job or residential project - but keeping detailed and immaculate maintenance records of your fleet will never be a waste of time if you intend to obtain ongoing work from a variety of clients in construction. Not to mention for a bunch of reasons explained in detail below.

A comprehensive machine maintenance record contains the following information as standard (in a range of documents and formats) - but more diligent plant hire owners extend beyond this to photographic evidence of the machine’s condition before and after a hire to ensure that any breakages or damages are accounted for, and charged to the user accordingly.

Need a great template for machine maintenance? Download this template today.

Electronic machine maintenance record versus onboard log book - which one?

There is a reason why we have included a free electronic machine maintenance record template in Excel in this article. It's because working out of a log book means that it’s difficult to send the records over to a plant manager, civil engineer or project manager who is reviewing the documentation during a hire process. Excel is a format universally used by the digital natives now running construction (all of us Gen X and Gen Y folk who grew up using computers) and it’s easy to send and read on any computer. Scanning your log book might make you look a little hokey.

If you create the record in Excel, you can also upload it to Google Docs. Which means that anyone in your organisation can update the record from anywhere. We recommend maintaining electronic files on all your machines, that can be called up quickly and emailed to a construction manager (because, let’s face it, sometimes these things can be urgent). If you are having to come back to base and scan your log book in that time delay could mean you might lose the job opportunity all together.

A complete machine maintenance record should include:

  • Full details of the machine should appear at the top of the record, including age, make, model, year of purchase, attachments, specs and engine hours at time of purchase
  • Date of maintenance
  • Comprehensive description of the maintenance tasks undertaken
  • Any parts purchased, added or replaced in the work
  • The record should denote the person undertaking the maintenance - if outsourced should include company name & ABN
  • It should be validated by someone in a senior position including the date it was validated, the person and their role (ideally the plant manager)
  • Plans for future maintenance on the same issue / subject, or the next date of service
  • Machine engine hours at the time of maintenance


Benefits of keeping a comprehensive machine maintenance record:

1. It makes you look legit

If you seriously want to chase work on major projects, then you are no chance if you don’t have a basic machine maintenance record. Keeping comprehensive records of the lifecycle of your machine makes you look like a serious practitioner of the art, not some backyard bandit who woke up one day and decided to be a plant hire company. Demonstrating to a project manager that you care about your machine, about extending its life, and you understand and respect the safety requirements of major sites ultimately tells a civil engineer that you are serious about professional plant hire services.

2. You can sell your machine for more

A machine maintenance record can substantially boost resale value of the machine at the time of sale. People will likely pay more for a machine if they can trust its maintenance history - and the more meticulous you have kept the records, the more confidence it will give the new purchaser that the machine has been treated with kindness throughout its life. You can meaningfully boost your return on the sales of your second-hand machine if you have impeccable maintenance records.

3. Good luck pursuing a warranty claim without it

If you have an issue with your machine that could substantiate a warranty claim against the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or dealer, then comprehensive maintenance records can help you defend that claim and have them fix the issue at their expense. It's very easy for a dealer to squirm out of a complex warranty claim - particularly if you are claiming replacement of an entire machine - by simply counter-claiming you haven’t correctly maintained it. Knock that objection out of the park by producing a comprehensive machine maintenance record and dodge any suggestion that maintenance, or lack of it, was the cause of the issue.

4. If there is a big issue - you’ll know who to blame

I know you're probably not a person who likes ruffling the feathers of their clients or staff, but if you have a major safety issue or breakdown with your machine, you can easily trace back to the possible cause and the possible perpetrator, if you have comprehensive maintenance records. If you do end up in the unlikely event of a major accident or breakdown, where your machine costs a project massive delays in time or money, these types of records can be essential in the negotiations, or any insurance claims that arise. Obviously, we’re hoping nothing bad happens, but it sure pays to protect yourself with this basic paperwork if the worst occurs.

How long do you keep maintenance records?

Keep your equipment maintenance records for as long as you have the equipment and it continues to pass inspections. All the information will be relevant when you use the warranty, enforce your specialised maintenance program, or re-sell the equipment.

If you have a machine that you like looking after - then we want to talk to you. List it on iseekplant for free, and get it some work. If you are a quality operator with a well-maintained fleet, our hundreds of thousands of users love talking to guys like you. Click here to register as a supplier on iseekplant for free. To keep up to date with the latest industry and project news, subscribe to iseekplant's Constructionsht blog!