The RCM Process: Basic Steps You Need to Know


Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) is essential in Operations and Maintenance programmes. The RCM process’s introduction will involve changes to established working processes. For this to be successful, the management should demonstrate their commitment. This could be through a policy statement and personal involvement.

Here are the basic steps involved in the RCM process:


This phase involves the selection of the systems for analysis and gathering of necessary data. The stages can be summarised as: system selection, definition of the system boundaries, acquisition of documentation and materials, and interviews with plant personnel.



For effective decision-making, experience is essential. Such may be in the utility or be carried in from specialist service providers in the field. The early stage of this process, therefore, involves the assembly of a team with comprehensive qualifications. It includes identification of system functions, system functional failure analysis, and equipment identification, among others.

Task Selection

After the two stages, allocate appropriate maintenance tasks to the systems and equipment identified according to the significance ascribed to them, whether critical or non-critical. This aims to establish the most cost effective means of delivering the maintenance strategy while achieving reliability, safety, environmental, and economic objectives.

Task Comparison

The recommendations from the task selection process will be compared with the current maintenance practices. Its purpose is to identify the changes needed as well as the impact on resources and other commitments.

Task Comparison Review

Before changes after the analysis are applied, it’s important to determine whether such are consistent with the maintenance policy of the infrastructure and the regulatory and social obligations. That’s why the process and its outcomes should undergo a final review.


RCM should form part of an existing programme. As the outcome of the analysis and implementations affect operations and maintenance programmes, it’s important that all decisions be properly documented.