To promote maintenance and conservation operations in Bank member countries of the physical assets (infrastructure and physical works, equipment, machinery, etc.) constructed by those countries for the different socio-economic development sectors, in order to safeguard their useful life and obtain maximum use of the functions for which they were designed.

Fields of Activity

1. Meaning of terms in applying this policy:

a) "Maintenance and Conservation" will be understood to mean the action and work to be performed continuously or periodically in systematic fashion to protect physical works, equipment, machinery and other assets from the effects of time and wear from use and operation, ensuring optimal performance of the functions for which they were designed.

There are two types of maintenance:

i. Routine: activities, generally low in cost, determined in the original design of the work, the purpose of which is the conservation, cleaning and efficient functioning of the physical work, equipment or machinery; usually performed at regular predetermined intervals. (e.g. painting, oil change, filling in potholes and cutting grass adjoining the roads, general cleaning, etc.). Execution of these activities is characterized as being within the operating budgets.

ii. Periodic: maintenance entailing partial changes or adjustment must usually be performed at different intervals in order to prevent additional damage from the effects of prolonged possible breakdown or use, climate and/or intensity of operation. (e.g. replacement of important parts when worn out, adjustment of structures or machinery, resurfacing with asphalt, reinforcement of structures, etc.). This is performed before the item fails to carry out efficiently the functions for which it was designed and may imply significant expenditure for partial replacement of the good. This category is characterized as being within the investment budgets.

b) Rehabilitation and/or expansion are understood to mean the action and work necessary to overhaul physical works, equipment and machinery and to upgrade their operating capacity, improving their operation and original functioning and/or extending their useful life. Rehabilitation shall be of a permanent (not temporary) nature, and guarantee normal and effective operation of the work for a reasonable length of time.

2. Priorities of action:

The Bank shall provide assistance for the maintenance and conservation of programs and projects in all economic and social sectors wherever pertinent, in general order of priorities, in one or more of the following forms:

a) Provision of technical cooperation with highest priority for proper programming, planning, administration, operation and execution of maintenance and conservation programs in developing member countries;

b) Financing of maintenance projects;

c) Financing of projects for "Rehabilitation and/or Expansion" of existing physical works in developing member countries, in any of the economic social development sectors.

Basic Criteria

1. In considering projects for each sector, the Bank shall evaluate the quality and timeliness of the maintenance that will be given those projects. If maintenance under similar projects is determined technically to have been inadequate, the Bank shall give priority to, and shall offer financing and technical cooperation, to countries for activities designed to improve maintenance in the sector.

2. Maintenance operations, either as components of other projects or as specific maintenance programs, financially supported by the Bank shall be those corresponding to activities whose characteristics are such as to situate them outside the operating budget of the borrower country. Consequently the Bank shall not finance routine maintenance operations or minor repairs, which should generally be borne by the countries; it can, however, finance specialized advisory services and the necessary materials, equipment and spare parts. The Bank will finance periodic maintenance as defined in 1. a) ii) under Fields of Action.

3. Bank financing for maintenance operations may cover the cost of:

a) Purchase of materials, vehicles and equipment necessary for the performance of maintenance (tools and material for workshops and laboratories, painting equipment, instruments for physical and chemical analysis, scales for monitoring vehicle weight on highways, etc.).

b) Acquisition of spare parts in reasonable quantities to ensure effective and permanent functioning of machinery, vehicles and other operating instruments for each project and the maintenance system thereof.

c) Contracting of enterprises specialized in organization, programming, planning and execution of maintenance and conservation works which the Bank may finance in the context of this policy.

4. In technical cooperation operations for maintenance, the Bank shall place special emphasis on the following aspects:

a) Establishment and/or improvement of the organization for general maintenance and conservation services, including staff training.

b) Establishment and implementation of operating and maintenance standards.

c) Programming, planning, administration, operation and execution of maintenance and conservation, including the preparation of manuals.

d) Transfer of technology and operating, maintenance and conservation methods, adapting them to specific conditions in each country in order to make use of local human resources equipment and material.

e) Methodology and programming of inspection, either on a periodical basis or by sampling.

f) Maintenance techniques using labor-intensive methods where justified.

Special Considerations

In projects financed by the Bank, the corresponding loan contracts normally include clauses ensuring adequate maintenance of physical infrastructure, machinery and equipment and other assets of the project, as well as that of works ancillary or complementary to the project. In addition, the Bank shall see that the countries submit annual maintenance plans with information concerning the budgetary resources allocated for its execution, and also indicating the volume, quality and cost of maintenance already carried out.

The Bank shall ensure that the maintenance systems (physical works, equipment, etc.) for each project in turn receive the benefit of adequate maintenance service to allow continued operation and conservation thereof.

Operations financed under this policy shall be subject to the special sectoral policy regulations of the Bank's Operational Policies Manual.


Prevailing Reference Documents
GP-105-2, February 1982.

* The operational policies of the Inter-American Development Bank are intended to provide operational guidance to staff in assisting the Bank's borrowing member countries. Over the course of the Bank's more than 40 years of operations, the approach to developing operational policies has taken various forms, ranging from the preparation of detailed guidelines to broad statements of principle and intent. Many policies have not been updated since they were originally issued, and a few reflect emphases and approaches of earlier years which have been superseded by specific mandates of the Bank's Governors, the most recent being the Eighth Replenishment mandates of 1994.

In accordance with the Bank's information disclosure policy, the Bank is making all of its operational policies available to the public through the Public Information Center. Users please note that the Bank's operational policies are under a process of continuous review. This review process includes preparation of best practice papers summarizing experience at the Bank and other similar institutions, and sector strategy papers.