Purpose - This article aims to provide details of the process involved in preparing a comprehensive maintenance audit of school buildings and facilities in a state government education department. Design/methodology/approach - This paper presents the framework and logistics of the survey or audit, which relied on integrating a property management system with a consistent approach to the definition of maintenance and its costing. The use of visual illustrations of maintenance categories is a feature of the process and this study. Findings - The work was completed in three months and drew upon the department's two computerized property management and asset systems, the physical resource management system PRMS) and the school asset management system (SAMS). The department adopted an IT-based approach that integrated the building element-based maintenance items with electronic plans and a standard costing approach using hand-held pen-activated computers under the control of the maintenance auditors. The process of conducting the maintenance audit has resulted in the most comprehensive review and updating of all the maintenance requirements in school buildings. It has provided real and accurate costing of this work on a fair, methodical and consistent basis. The size of the final costs in each maintenance category has allowed funding to be refined, targeted and focused on many key and important areas. Research limitations/implications - Whilst categories of different maintenance work are provided in broad terms, for confidentiality reasons the client organization would not permit the financial values of these categories to be published. Practical implications - Examples of the categorization and analysis of maintenance items are included to illustrate and demonstrate the method of approach. Details of the extensive auditing process described provide insights for any large organization with widespread facilities and property assets to adopt a similar approach. Originality/value - The process is an exemplar for an integrated property management and maintenance auditing system using IT and the practical skills of maintenance inspectors.