Examining The Concept Of Facilities Management Construction Essay

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INTRODUCTION: Facilities Management (FM) is an age-old practice which for many years has been undervalued simply because its importance to the organisation has not been understood. All organisations rely on a mix of functions and services to provide the support to essentials of its core business operations, in order to ensure that this support is available in the right form, at the right quality and for the right cost is the task of FM (Alexander 1994).FM services were first provided in the 1950s and 1960s in the USA and they were fully developed in the 1970s. But it was only in the1980s that such an FM market developed in Europe (Salaris ,2002).The UK is the most essential FM market in Europe based on current survey of the British Institute of FM (BIFM, 2004).However, some development agencies in the UK have recognized the importance of effective FM in the organisation. The role of FM in the global economy is gaining recognition and also key government policies, in a market economy - competitive polices, deregulation and privatization - have each had an influence on the creation of the condition in which FM has emerged and is gaining ground. The world of FM has changed dramatically since 1990s and the job of facilities manager now encompasses a wide range of complex and challenging roles, often across entire estates. Despite its fast development in the profession, there are still problems that mentioned on the above journal by Linda Tay and Joseph T L Ooi that face FM as a professional discipline in the global economy.

According to Linda and Joseph stated three fundamental problems that engulfed FM as a professional discipline are:

1 What constitutes FM?

2 What is a facilities manager?

3 How can the FM professionalism be enhanced?

Finally, the paper aims to make a contribution on the development of FM as a profession and also evaluate the measures that need to be taken for future development of FM profession.


The FM movement can be summarized as a belief in potential to improve processes by which workplace can be managed to inspire people to give of their best, to support their effectiveness and ultimately to make a positive contribution to economic growth and organisational success.FM provides the infrastructure for business to perform efficient and play a role in attracting inward investment. According to Booty (2006) FM is the integration of processes within an organization to maintain and develop the agree services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities. According to Barrett and Baldry (2003) described FM as an integrated approach to operating, maintaining, improving and adapting the buildings and infrastructures of an organisation in order to build an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organisation. Also Barrett argued that FM needs to embrace strategically orientated, constant improvement and proposed key features of effective FM systems and suggested that systems should be objective-nested, client/stakeholder orientated, minimalistic /holistic and evolutionary. FM is no just about integration of organisation services, maintenance and controlling costing; there are several significant services that can be managed through FM system to ensure the smooth operation of a company or organisation such as health and safety monitoring, systems and software, component specifications and services (Park, 1988). Furthermore, FM focus on service delivery that provides customer satisfaction and best value in an environment in risks abound, so effective FM comes from being able to devise and implement practice that avert the risks and that add value to the core business (Atkin and Adrian 2005). The activities that might be carried out and coordinated within FM are mostly connected directly to buildings' facilities and auxiliary activities essential for their operation such as building maintenance and management, maintenance of air-conditioning facilities and energy sources, cleaning, surveillance, gardening, and solid waste disposal, catering, vehicle maintenance, ancillary services for office administration, financial management of building assets, logistics computing, and internal and external transportation. In particular, these activities are normally grouped into three major categories, namely space services, building services and services to people (Barrett and Baldry,2003). FM consists of the management of three inter-related activities which are: Support services, Property, and Information Technology…RICS FM Skills Panel (1993). According to Becker (1986) description strategic important of FM profession: is responsible for co-ordinating all efforts relating to planning, designing and managing buildings and their systems, equipment and furniture to enhance the organization's ability to compete in a rapidly changing world. According to Association of Facilities Managers, UK (1989) described FM in its widest and truest sense concerns itself not merely with the management of premises, but with the services, people and facilities those building to day to day maintenance, and has its constant aim the use of manpower, energy and resources as intelligently and cost effectively as possible.

The FM sector is now large and complex, comprising a mix of in-house departments, specialist contractors, large multi-service companies, and consortia delivering the full range of design, build, finance and management. Estimates vary; market research suggests that, in the UK alone, the sector is worth between £40bn and £95bn per annum. The provision of the buildings, the environment within which people work and the equipment they use constitutes a large portion if not the majority of the organization's capital assets. The services provided to enable the core staff to operate, probably constitute the second largest revenue cost. In other words, the protection and maintenance of the physical assets and the controlling of service costs become essential to the good management of the organization.


According to BIFM describes facilities manager to be charge of all the services that support a building once construction is completed to ensure functionality of the built environment and property management as well as areas such as health and safety, utilities, services, relocation and strategy planning in order ensure that an organisation has the most suitable working environment for its employees and their activities. The Facilities Manager, being responsible for this field of activity, therefore has a significant role to play within both the strategic long term planning and the day to day operation of the establishment. In other words, this means that the Facilities Manager should be accountable for delivering a range of support services to the staff of the organization in a way that enables them to maximize their usefulness. Any services delivered by the Facilities Manager will depend on the needs of the organization and the manner in which they are delivered will depend upon the knowledge and skills of the Facilities Manager, as well as the value placed upon FM by senior management and the culture of the organization. According to Nutt (2000) describes the primary function of FM as being to resource management at a strategic and operational level of support which can be looked at as a series of levels (Alexander, 1996). The lower levels consist of the daily support operations such as maintaining the boilers which are required to keep the business functioning. On a strategic level tasks may include space planning and the managing of resources of a complex set of building projects. The facilities manager will develop plans in coordination with the corporate strategy (Alexander, 1996).According to Barrett and Baldry (2003) states that facilities manager interacts with core to determine what future changes may occur to business, as a way to catch up with the external influences, like competitor. The facilities manager stands a better chance to scan for possible developments within the facilities management arena and also strategic policy frame work that gives context with regards to decision making within the facilities department.


 The FM profession has come of age and mainly FM is not about facilities services, it is about management. Its practitioners require skill and knowledge. The sector definition continues to expand to include the management of an increasingly broad range of tangible assets, support services and people skills. Alexander (1994) suggested FM should be positioned as a cross disciplinary activity and enable the application of generic management skills across professional boundaries that require the development of new roles and profiles.FM need to enhance strategy in three emerging management roles in FM organizations such as managing customers, managing service and managing assets. There is a essential need for facilities to be strategically planned and aligned to business needs (Kaya, et al., 2004), along with the scope of FM needing to be administered carefully in order to allow FM to deliver the highest value to the business unit (Goyle, et al., 2007).Through setting up organisational improvement structures and procedures will help FM organisations to implement performance improvements and to make authentic commitment to performance management in the profession (Amaratunga and Baldry ,2002).Benchmarking is essential to overall management system, Atkin and Brook (2005) states that benchmarking is a instrument to enhance continual improvement and provides management with technique for decision making about policies and procedures with regards to how services will be procured. According to McDougall and hinks (2000) benchmarking is basically a cost reduction method to FM.


The day to day managing of building is basic to Facilities professionals (Booty,2006).FM encompasses workplace, facility, support services, property, corporate real estate, and infrastructure. In general, support services concerning FM range from building operational services, to construction management, and real-estate activities (chotipanich 2004).In the built environment FM encompasses a vast array of activities. In the workplace these can include the supply of gas and electricity, the ever increasing focus on environmental measuring and reporting, waste management, furniture, catering, cleaning lighting, noise management. This is also a focus on space planning, access, safety and security, maintenance and repair (Booty, 2006). Its practitioners are concerned with managing the multi-disciplinary activities in order to maximise their impact on the workplace, and on people and giving its customers value for money (Goyal, 2007).


Other definitions have further expanded the scope of FM to include the whole life cycle of a property from initial design to building, financing and operating. Although the definitions thus far appear to be diverse Tay & Ooi (2001) realise that there is a common theme that links together to give FM an identity. This is summed up as follows:

The definitions presented all illustrate that the issues facing FM are related to the workplace.

FM applies to all organisations and places of work since it is related to the uses of space.

FM plays a supporting role in enhancing the performance of an organisation.

A multi-faceted approach is necessary when applying FM practices.

As a result of these findings Tay and Ooi (2001) give the following definition of FM as: "The integrated management of the workplace to enhance the performance of the organisation"

FM have placed more attention on cost and flexibility, concentrating on core competences

and outsourcing non-core activities. However, the relevance of these activities for the organization's performance requires an accurate analysis of what it is outsourced and how (Walker et al,2001;Kakabadse and kakabadse,2005).Also there has been recent research cooperation among some of the FM organisation. The generational perceptions of value, use, importance of the workplace and other trends that engulfed the profession has lead to new facility manager profile. Facility manager now moves from a narrow technical focus where the language is "FM speak" to the expanded viewpoint of a business leader helps the organisation take a strategic view of its facilities and their impact on productivity (Cotts, 2010). On a strategic level tasks may include space planning and the managing of resources of a complex set of building projects. The facility manager will develop plans in coordination with the corporate strategy (Alexander, 1996).The use of managing agent and managing contractor to delivery efficient services. This approach involves bringing in an external organisation to manage the facilities of an organisation. Also in this arrangement there is one contract between the client organisation and the appointed contractor. Subcontractors will be under contract to the managing contractor so the client organisations only have a single point of contact with the contractor on all areas pertaining to the service provisions. In this approach organisations are able to pass the full responsibility for managing their facilities to a single organisation for a fixed price. Many subcontractor are often used by the main contractor in this approach, and they often have built good relations between themselves built over years, this allows the total facilities management contractor to offer a more complete and competitive solution to an organisations needs than the other approaches. In terms of risk, the organisation is greatly protected but the value for money is often not as good as the managing agent approach. (Atkin, et al., 2000)



FM profession develops stronger day by day with more Corporate Boards and Senior Management Teams in public sector organizations realizing how powerful the FM tool is, which applies to achieving utmost productivity and profit and so it is essential to communicate and share Corporate Operating Plans with the Facilities Manager. There is a communal responsibility on the Facilities Manager to generate a Facilities Management Strategy that is approving to the Corporate Operating Plan. While Surveyors will talk about the creation of a property strategy, Facilities Managers are in a far better place, because of their knowledge of the business operations within the organization and the way each links to and affects others, to draw up inclusive operational strategies that use all resources - staff, accommodation and property, equipment, floor plans and production flows.

The prologue of a great deal bigger contracts through the use of Private Finance Initiative projects as those currently being created in the public sector and global contract arrangements as are being negotiated by the big multinational organizations have changed the face of traditional facilities management approaches. Even though there are a small number of success stories there are also some frightening lessons to be learned from these approaches. In addition, not all outsourced arrangements are successful and to make sure we have them succeed in the future facilities management must become more professional. To ensure the future of Facilities Management, a number of steps must be taken:

To ensure there is a well-structured career path that will develop professionals with all the right skill sets.

To make absolutely sure that all providers are properly qualified to deliver FM services through employing qualified facilities professionals, use honest pricing that reflects true costs and savings in comprehensive contract agreements and operate their contracts without extra charges.

All organizations adopt a committed approach to facilities by running their operations with a properly constructed strategy, a professional in-house facilities management team and through the use of performance specifications for all services whether in-house or contract.

To ensure that we achieve effective and comprehensive transfer of knowledge. An example that can be used to illustrate the importance of this factor is that of the organization operating facilities.

More Private Finance Initiatives and bigger contract structures are inevitable even though not necessarily conducive to better services or improved productivity unless there are dramatic improvements to specifying, selection and management processes. Major expansions of the main providers of FM services are continuing and this will eventually create a vacuity in the marketplace with lesser small to medium sized providers bring obtainable and could be a drawback for the small to medium sized employers who are seeking to outsource in the future. Hopefully there is a significant opportunity for those aspiring to become small FM providers to start up successful businesses provided they are ready to be 'Best in Class', the industry certainly does not need poor performers at present.

Price, Steven M. (1997) as well as other analysts has suggested that evolving business realities in the realms of process improvement, cost containment, speed-to-market accelerations, quality control, and workplace arrangements and concepts will all have a big impact on future notions of facility management. He went further and argued that "the challenge for facilities planning will be to integrate knowledge workers into a dynamic business environment of global competition, technological developments, and changing values." In recent years, a finely tuned consciousness of the facilities Management sector has been marked, driven by a number of factors such as:

Interest in outsourcing as a 'hot' management topic

Heavy media coverage of PFI/PPP initiatives and

Increasing attention being paid to the sector by the financial community

However, successful organizations in future will approach Facilities Management as an integral part of their strategic plan. Those organizations that treat Facilities Management as a 'commodity overhead' will be at a momentous strategic disadvantage. More so with the expansion of the British Institute of Facilities Management, the strong developmental processes taking place in the training and education fields and the improved emphasis on FM in boardrooms there will be a rosy future for the industry and those employed within it.