R&M: Repairs and Maintenance in Commercial Real Estate

What is R&M in Commercial Real Estate? 

R&M, or repairs and maintenance, refers to work done on a commercial property that is designed simply to maintain the property in its current condition. This includes work done to prevent the further deterioration of building component or system, or replace a building component at the end of its useful life. 

R&M vs. Capital Expenditures 

R&M stands in contrast to capital expenditures, which can add significant value to a property, such as installing a new roof, doing significant landscaping, or replacing/upgrading a building's security system. When doing accounting for your commercial real estate project, this makes a big difference, since R&M is classified as an expense, while capital improvements are listed as an asset, since they add long-term value to the project. 

In some cases, an R&M job which would initially be classified as an operational expenditure can become a capital expenditure, if the scope of the repair project increases beyond maintenance. For example, if the original plan for a project was to replace a small amount of building carpet after a leak, and, after realizing the extent of the damage, the owner decided to order new carpet for the entire building, the planned repair would likely be classified as a capital expenditure instead of an operational one.