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What is a Work Order?

A work order is a formal written communication that authorizes a maintenance team or other member of field engineering to complete a job or task for a customer. Work orders encompass an array of requests including repair or replacement. A work order indicates a job or task has been approved and is ready to go into the queue for completion. Work orders can be transmitted electronically or on paper.

Types of Work Orders

Work orders apply to many different types of requests and categories. Depending on the property the maintenance is requested on and the types of work needed, many sub-categories can apply to work orders.

Here are some examples of the most common types of work orders:

  • Inspection : Inspection work orders entail a highly-skilled professional testing out an asset or system. This function is completed to ensure that all components of a system or asset are working as expected.
  • Emergency : Emergency work orders apply when a job or task request threatens the life or well-being of inhabitants or assets. In extreme cases, a work order may not be generated in favor of getting the job done as quickly as possible.
  • Safety : A safety work order exists to protect the well-being of inhabitants of a structure. These types of work orders include scenarios such making repairing dangerous damages or cleaning up hazardous materials at a facility.
  • Preventative Maintenance : Much like changing the oil in your car or replacing air conditioner filters, preventative maintenance work orders aim to solve problems before they arise. These work orders can include tasks ranging anywhere from routine cleaning to equipment tune-ups and more.
  • Electrical : Electrical maintenance focuses on servicing any electrical parts of a facility. This could entail changing a light bulb or performing service on a faulty breaker box.
  • Special Projects : Not all work order requests can be filed away neatly into a specific category. There are numerous miscellaneous requests that a work order can help fill, as well. These might include upgrading equipment or replacing outdated software.

Work Order Example

Work orders are vital to the success of maintenance and construction workers. A good work order lays out the job or task needed and provides all of the needed information to get the job done. Here is an example of a work order:

  • A tenant at an apartment complex calls management to report that the pipes under the kitchen sink are leaking water. According to the service agreement , a work order is generated that details the problem. The apartment manager assures their tenant that a maintenance person will arrive to complete the work soon.

Learn more about types of work orders here .

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What’s Included in Work Orders?

A successful work order contains specific details about the type of work or task that is being completed. Work orders should serve as a roadmap for maintenance workers to do the job right the first time. In order to be as effective as possible , the most efficient work orders include a few vital aspects:

  1. A detailed description of the job, including the location.
  2. The name and contact information for the entity requesting the work.
  3. An overview of any special circumstances that contribute to completing the job efficiently and correctly.
  4. A detailed account of any specific problems that need to be repaired.
  5. An estimated time of job or task completion.
  6. The name of the maintenance person completing the job or task.
  7. A list of any required parts, tools, or knowledge required to complete the job.
  8. An estimate of any costs that might be incurred.

Learn more about what’s included in a successful work order here .

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How to Write a Work Order – Step by Step

Writing a work order can seem like a daunting process. Making sure that all the information needed to correctly tackle a problem is the most vital part of the process. Here simple step-by-step procedure that you can take to accurately construct a flawless work order:

Step One: Identify the Problem

The first step to writing any work order is to identify the work that needs to be done. Be sure to include specifics about the location where the task or job needs completed, how long the problem has been going on for, and any special skills or tools that are needed to complete the work. It’s also vital to identify whether or not the task requested is an emergency at this stage.

Step Two: Document the Specifics

A key aspect of a good work order includes specific details about the request. It’s important to ensure these details are a part of the work order:

  • Name and contact number of the requestor and creator
  • Date and time the requested issue first occurred and when the work order was requested
  • Estimated cost for repairs and time of completion
  • Outline of how modifications in the scope of work will be communicated

Step Three: Assign the Work Order

Format your information in a way that is easy to read and assign the work order to the best maintenance technician for the job.

For more a more in-depth look at how to write a work order, read this article .

Work Order vs. Purchase Order

Work orders deal with jobs and tasks, while purchase orders deal with goods and services. A work order might include a purchase order for a part of tool, but a purchase order is not often accompanied by a work order.

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