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According to Atkin & Brooks (2007) as recently as forty years ago there was only a brief mention of facilities management but it has grown to such an extent that it has emerged as a service sector in its own right, with codes, standards and technical vocabulary. The need to evolve and develop in order to survive is one of the many challenges facing FM professionals at present. The industry has experienced significant changes in the last number of years and as business demands for service and efficiency standards become more sophisticated, the pressures on facilities managers increase and diversify (Fielder, 2009).
The late 1980s and early 1990s were dominated by the back to core business strategy, whose repercussions on FM took the form of decentralization and the integration of internal facility services, the contracting out of services and the growth in autonomous suppliers of all manner of facility services (Zwart, 1995). Most buildings represent huge investments and have to accommodate a number of activities both core and non-core. "Core" activities will vary from company to company but it is agreed that companies should concentrate on their core business activities without the distraction of providing non-core activities as shown below (Atkin & Brooks, 2007).
Developing a strategy for facilities management is a process that can lead to better, more proactive delivery of services from a facility management organization to its stakeholders. The time taken to develop a strategy is well spent in that it helps to avoid mistakes, delays, disappointments and customer dissatisfaction (IFMA, Strategic Facility Planning: A White Paper, 2009). An effective strategy can help to move an organization from where it is today to where it wants to be in the future.
As the design, construction and usage of facilities are becoming more complex, the use of technology has brought about flexibility, change, improvements and this is evident in FM through changing user needs, building technologies, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) and Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) (IFMA, 2007). Technology has integrated dispersed businesses and helped to reduce administration and transaction costs through the use of automation.
PFI contracts are seen by the UK government to offer a safer way to provide long term services, typically 20-30 years, through the use of private funding and expertise without adding to the public sector borrowing requirement (Construction Industry Council, 1998). The worlds population continues to grow at a rapid rate, having doubled since 1960 and more than tripled since 1927. According to Leisinger (2006) the world population is expected to reach 9.2 billion by 2050 with most of the growth in the developing countries of Asia and India who already struggle to allocate resources. FM is becoming a global industry and through the use of technologies and building automation, organizations can operate in a number of countries efficiently and competently.
As buildings account for such high energy usage and CO2 emissions there will be an increased need to refurbish old buildings to improve efficiency and future buildings will require an entire lifecycle approach as opposed to the previous concern solely with construction costs (Wyatt, Sobotka, & Rogalska, 2000). Facility managers need to develop timely and cost effective facility responses and options for the clients and users or else face the risk of losing work.
Starkov pays particular interest to emerging technologies and building automation which in future will enable more efficient control of buildings throughout their entire lifecycle. There is faster more reliable access to information on the internet and building control systems. Cholakis has witnessed a more long term strategy in FM in relation to planning and management systems which can assist greatly in optimizing the use of resources for facility managers which is in agreement with (IFMA, 2007).
Starkov describes how every business is typically the same and if you can show a good return on investment (ROI) from a number of similar projects then the client will implement the new services / products. As described by Lester (2007), clients will seek the largest profits for the smallest possible investment which means that very few companies are willing to try new experimental products/services without a known ROI.
Cholakis draws attention to the need to be aware of client's requirements and linking facility management to their strategy which is supported by IFMA (2007) and IFMA, Strategic Facility Planning: A White Paper, (2009). He also feels that technology is resulting in improved services at a cheaper cost for the client but that there needs to be a balance between investing in new technology if it will be replaced before a ROI is achieved.
Technology has also allowed the globalization of FM organizations as they can now manage a facility in a distant country through fast and reliable internet access. These opportunities have resulted from the rapid growth experienced in the Asian and Indian markets that require the knowledge and expertise of experienced FM organizations to support them. The use of PFI contracts has changed the way facilities are viewed from being a financial asset to a business service. This has resulted in a wider and more varied market for FM companies but a greater strain as clients from each sector expects a first class quality service.