Facility management or facilities management or FM
is an interdisciplinary field devoted to the coordination of space, infrastructure, people and organization, often associated with the administration of office blocks, arenas, schools, sporting complexes, convention centers, shopping complexes, hospitals, hotels, etc.
FM represents a wider range of activities than just business services and these are referred to as non-core functions. They vary from one business sector to another. In a 2009 Global Job Task Analysis the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) identified eleven core competencies of facility management. These are: communication; emergency preparedness and business continuity; environmental stewardship and sustainability; finance and business; human factors; leadership and strategy; operations and maintenance; project management; quality; real estate and property management; and technology.
The European standards for facilities management offers a definition in EN15221-1, provided by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and ratified by 31 European countries as: “the integration of processes within an organization to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities.”
According to this European standard, the scope of FM is ‘Space & Infrastructure’ (planning, design, workplace, construction, lease, occupancy, maintenance, furniture, cleaning, etc.) and ‘People & Organization’ (catering, ICT, HR, HS&S, accounting, marketing, hospitality, etc.).
FM is subject to continuous innovation and development, under pressure to reduce costs and to add value to the core business of the public or private sector client organization.
Facility management is supported with training and professional qualifications often co-ordinates by FM institutes or associations, and a limited number of formal degree programs exist at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
The FM relationship to the human resources, real estate and information technology functions of an enterprise has increased. The number one priority of a Facility manager (FM) is that of Life Safety.
Facility managers have to operate at two levels: strategic-tactical and operational. In the former case, clients, customers and end-users need to be informed about the potential impact of their decisions on the provision of space, services, cost and business risk. In the latter, it is the role of a facility manager to ensure corporate and regulatory compliance plus the proper operation of all aspects of a building to create an optimal, safe and cost effective environment for the occupants to function. This is accomplished by managing the following activities:
Health and safety
The FM department in an organization is required to control and manage many safety related issues. Failure to do so may lead to injury, loss of business, prosecution and insurance claims; the confidence of customers and investors in the business may also be shaken by adverse publicity.
The threat from fire carries one of the highest risk to loss of life, and the potential to damage or shut down a business. The facilities management department will have in place maintenance, inspection and testing for all of the fire safety equipment and systems, keeping records and certificates of compliance.
Security to any organization is necessary to protect the employees and the business and this often comes under the control of the facilities management department, in particular the maintenance of the hardware. Manned guarding may be under the control of a separate department.
Maintenance, testing and inspections
Maintenance, testing and inspection schedules are required to ensure that the facility is operating safely and efficiently, to maximize the life of equipment and reduce the risk of failure. There are also statutory obligations to be met. The work is planned, often using a computer-aided facility management system.
Cleaning operations are often undertaken out of business hours, but provision may be made during times of occupations for the cleaning of toilets, replenishing consumables (toilet rolls, soap, etc.) plus litter picking and reactive response. Cleaning is scheduled as a series of “periodic” tasks: daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
The training and certification of cleaning operatives is increasingly a factor in the award of contracts to cleaning services providers.
The facilities management department has responsibilities for the day-to-day running of the building, these tasks may be outsourced or carried out by directly employed staff. This is a policy issue, but due to the immediacy of the response required in many of the activities involved the facilities manager will often require daily reports or an escalation procedure.
Some issues require more than just periodic maintenance, for example those that can stop or hamper the productivity of the business or that have safety implications. Many of these are managed by the facilities management “help desk” that staff are able to be contacted either by telephone or email. The response to help desk calls are prioritized but may be as simple as too hot or too cold, lights not working, photocopier jammed, coffee spills, vending machine problems, etc.
Help desks may be used to book meeting rooms, car parking spaces and many other services, but this often depends on how the facilities department is organized. It may be split into two sections often referred to as “soft” and “hard” services. Soft would include reception, post room, cleaning, etc. and hard the mechanical, fire and electrical services.
The facilities management team will seek to periodically re-tender their contracts, or at the very least bench mark them to ensure they are getting value for money. For this to happen it is necessary to have an up to date list of equipment or assets to send out with the tenders. This information is often retained on the same computer as the maintenance schedule and updating may be overlooked as equipment gets changed, replaced or new items are installed. The asset register is also an important tool for budgeting, used for life cycle costings and for capital expenditure forecasting. To conclude, tendering is therefore an important aspect of his duties.
Commercial property management
Building may be owned by the occupier or leased. Leased properties will be subject to periodic rent reviews. Commercial leases can also be subject to sub-tenancies, and may require options to be renewed.
Business continuity planning
All organizations should have a continuity plan so that in the event of a fire or major failure the business can recover quickly. In large organizations it may be that the staff move to another site that has been set up to model the existing operation. The facilities management department would be one of the key players should it be necessary to move the business to a recovery site.
Space allocation and changes
In many organizations, office layouts are subject to frequent changes. This process is referred to as churn rate,expressed as the percentage of the staff moved during a year. These moves are normally planned by the facilities management department using computer-aided design. In addition to meeting the needs of the business, compliance with statutory requirements related to office layouts include: the minimum amount of space to be provided per staff member; fire safety arrangements; lighting levels; signage; ventilation; temperature control and welfare arrangements such as toilets and drinking water. Consideration may also be given to vending, catering or a place where staff can make a drink and take a break from their desk.
Be proud of your profession as Facility Manager. You are the backbone of an organization. Make your profession as passion and work with lot of integrity and loyalty for your customers.