Reactive vs Proactive Security Maintenance – Understanding the Pro’s and Con’s

What is an electronic Security system?

A strata electronic security system is comprised of three elements: Access Control, CCTV and a Visitor entry system (intercom).

Residents and visitors rely on these systems for access to the building and to help manage the common areas when no one is around. A failure in the systems can cause significant inconvenience to residents (being locked out) or a stolen item may not get traced (be recovered).

Reactive Maintenance and Repair

As the name suggests, reactive maintenance/repair is when a building reacts to a reported problem for a particular service. A service company is engaged to investigate the problem, they fix the issue or provide a quote to fix the problem, once the quote is approved.

Pros and Cons of Reactive Maintenance

Pros: This can save money in the short term, keeping strata levies and annual costs to a minimum. Many services will work for many years without maintenance, Cons: All services deteriorate over time, from painting or plumbing to security systems. The longer you leave the services without maintenance, the more you may need to spend when you do service them.

Recommendations: If you adopt the reactive maintenance/ repair model with a security system, you need to consider the following:

  • Allocate funds in your sinking fund for the future repair or replacement of the system. This may be 10 years, but be prepared, you will need it.
  • Document a process for what happens if you have a failure of your security system. How do people get into your building if the system fails? How long do you expect the system to be offline? Will the doors need to be left open? What problems will that cause?
  • Ask your security company to highlight the key areas of failure and implications if you don’t maintain the system. You may decide that you accept the risks associated with no maintenance, but you should make that conscious decision, not fall into it.

Proactive or Preventative Maintenance

Proactive maintenance is when you actively work to increase the reliability and lifespan of the services at your building.

A maintenance plan is put in place to document the system and to periodically check and service the key elements to reduce the risk of failure.

Pros: Whilst proactive maintenance doesn’t guarantee that the system won’t fail, it will reduce the chances of this happening. Access into your building is a key function for residents and setting up a system to alert you of problems before they arise makes sense.

Cons: There is an annual cost for maintenance and most of this work isn’t seen by residents or members of the committee.


  • If you adopt a proactive maintenance approach, then you need a security maintenance plan and to keep good records of what work has taken place.
  • If you change service provider, hand over these records to the new company and continue with the work.
  • Build an asset register and forecast when you need to spend larger sums of money for an upgrade or enhancement to the systems