Migrating from 3DS Max myself, I understand your concerns, yet Moving, Rotating and Scaling in Blender are very precise tools, unless you mean to achieve them in an approximate way, I believe Cegaton already answered your direct question in the best way possible, so I'll include some additional methods in my Answer concerning moving precisely that you mentioned on the side in your question.
In Edit mode, which you access using Tab, you can select the face you need to move, press G "shortcut for move" then the letter associated with the axis you need to move on, for instance Z to move on the Z axis, then enter the value, keeping in mind the units you are using, so if you are using Metrics, and you want to move the Face / Edge / Vertex 10 cm, enter the value 0.1 followed by Enter, this will move the selected sub-object on Z axis 10 cm in the positive direction, in case you need to move it in negative direction, use the - before the value, pretty straight forward, the same method works for other Transform tools, for Rotation (in degrees) and scale (in percentage), if you do the Scale in Edit mode, you don't need to apply the scale using Ctrl+A, the same method apply in Object mode for Moving / Rotating / Scaling objects, but you need to remember to apply scale, this will become a second nature very soon.
In Edit Mode, if you need to transform a sub-object using it's normal, you can achieve that by selecting it, G for moving, R for rotating, S for Scale, then Z twice to translate it on normal Z axis, same applies for X and Y axes. Same thing applies in Object Mode if you need to transform the object using it's Local Space.
Keep in mind that Blender automatically assigns the shortcut of pressing axis letter twice Z Z, XX or YY to Normal if you didn't change the transformation orientation, which is set to Global by default, if you use View for instance, then got back to Global, pressing the axis shortcut twice will assign the View axis, not the Normal axis.
Another tool concerning precision, and in my opinion, worth alone migrating to Blender, is the measurement options, you can enable few check boxes, to get accurate dimensions of selected faces or edges, angles and even areas
Notice in the image above, in the menu, under Mesh Display, I enabled Length for Edge info and Area for Face info, in the 3D View "Viewport" you can see the related info, you don't need to use the tape to measure any more, of course blender has also a Ruler tool in case you need to take dimensions not related to edges or faces.
Another useful tip, at least I find it useful, is to enable the Enter Edit Mode in the User Preferences Menu under Editing Tab > New Objects
This option will save you a step, in case you edit immediately most of the objects that you create, hence it will automatically enter Edit Mode once the object is created.
Another option you might find useful coming from 3DS Max, is Enabling Auto Perspective option in the User Preferences Menu, under Interface Tab.
This option will convert the view automatically to Orthographic view when you change your view to Front, Side, Top...etc. And it will automatically revert to Perspective mode when you Orbit the view.
Keep in mind to save user settings when you change them if you want to keep the changes whenever you start Blender, also you will need to save Start Up File in File menu, be careful though, this will keep everything you have in the scene saved as start up file, so make sure to do these steps when you have Blender exactly as you want it to start a new document, for instance, if you are working on a project, and you save start up file, then whenever you start a new file, you will have the project there, with all the objects, cameras, lights...etc.
Happy Blending :)