Msc In Facility Management Construction Essay

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Nowadays, FM is regarded as a profession in many companies and organization. Looking after the physical assets or properties is not the only role/duty of modern FM, but also dealing with finance, human resources, in addition to services maintenance, domestic services, utilities supplies, security, safety and health and contract management - all of the non-core activities of the organization in order to ensure their organization's core business running smoothly and effectively.

The formal definitions of "Facility Management" can be found from various FM professional bodies:-

Facility management is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, process, place and technology. (IFMA) [1] 

Facility management is the integration of multidisciplinary activities within the built environment and the management of their impact upon people and the workplace. (BIFM) [2] 

A business practice that optimizes people, process, assets, and the work environment to support the delivery of an organization's business objectives. (FMAA) [3] 

We notice that some key words consistently appear when these associations talking about facility management:-

multiple disciplines/activities

work environment or built environment

people, processes and technology

Globally, the FM profession continues to mature and evolve. Facility managers today are expected to understand organization's core business and contribute to the bottom line - not only by reducing the costs of facility operation and maintenance, but also by improving the productivity, revenue generating capacity and image of their organizations.

Evolution of FM practice

2.1 break and fix

Before 1980s, no professional FM institution was established at that time, the so-called FM guys looked after the physical workplace and building system in a manner of "break and fix". Simply speaking, they fixed the facility when it broke down. And they gradually evolved to something that trying to fix it before it breaks. However, there was no systematic planning for those repair or replacement work. This is the earliest stage of facility management.

2.2 FM regard as a discipline

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) was organized in the early 1980s. At that moment, FM was officially recognized as a discipline and it was simply the management of buildings and services. Typically FM was split into hard and soft services. The hard service relate to the actual fabric and building systems such as MVAC, vertical transportation, fire services system, plumbing and drainage, M&E plant maintenance, decoration and refurbishment, and minor project management. And soft service includes cleaning, security, waste disposal, pest control, gardening etc. Hard services ensure that a building's hardware is operating efficiently, reliably, safely and legally. And soft services ensure that the software, including staff and the workplace, function efficiently and effectively.

All of above are considered as the more traditional PM services. Beside those typical FM services, additional management of soft service was implemented in order to support and improve the effectiveness of organization's primary activities. The additional soft service management includes space management, move management, utility management, business risk management, catering management, vehicle fleet management etc.

2.3 Focusing on core business

Traditionally FM service delivered by in-house facility manager, or even a multi-disciplined team for large organization. Since 1980s, the trend has been for organization to concentrate on their core business and hence consider outsourcing support services, and of course including FM services. The degree of outsource vary in different organizations. One common FM model is having organization's own dedicated FM team and outsourcing some specialist services, say for example lift maintenance service. Another common FM model is outsourcing all FM service to a FM company as a managing agent to manage service on behalf of the organization. The outsourcing trend was lead by the US and Europe. And now become more common in Asia, especially in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Key business drivers of facility management

FM keeps developing as a profession, and there are several factors influencing the evolution of FM: sustainability, globalization, economic recession, regulations and legislations update, technological innovation and management's expectation.

3.1 Sustainability

Sustainability is one of the key drivers to influence FM development. Since the 2000s, energy crisis has been increased the cost and tax of energy. Most organizations try to lower the carbon footprint, green house emissions as well as the energy cost. It escalates the demand of high performance buildings, renewable energy sources and benchmark for achieving environmental friendly.

3.2 Globalization

Since the 1990s, more companies and enterprises has been longed for leading the market by expanding their business to overseas, resulting a great demand of global infrastructure development. In the 1980s, the facility managers only managed one building in one city. Nowadays, it is common that the Facility Managers manage a portfolio of multiple buildings in countries throughout the world.

3.3 Economic recession

In 1990-93, 1998, 2001-2002, 2008-2009, the world was shaken by the deepest recession since the Great Depression. Many industries and professions, including FM, were forced to become innovative and flexible to survive in business. Under the economic pressure, companies have been acknowledged FM as a profession that capable to reduce facilities operational costs and increase the productivity at the same time.

3.4 Regulations and legislations update

A wide range of regulations and legislations relevant to FM. The laws update all the time to fulfill the values and moral beliefs of people change. Health and Safety law, Fire safety regulation, Disability Discrimination legislation, Sustainable and Secure Buildings Act, any kinds of legal requirements update stimulating a new FM plan. An excellent FM should compliance with new regulations and legislations.

3.5 Technological innovation

"Technology will continue to significantly impact and influence how facility manager do their jobs" [4] . In the 1980s-1990s, the technology was mainly focus on communication, information and data share, such as telephones, desktop computers, and internet. Since the 2000s, the technology has been expanded to building operation, such as BIM, OSCRE, IWMS, CMMS, BEM, etc. These products and systems are applied to enhance the building performance, management quality and service standard.

3.6 Management's and employee's expectations

Under the economic contraction, the expectations of FM strategic contribution to improve the entire enterprises keep increasing. Facility managers are evaluated on financial performance and accountable to management for bottom-line impact. And also, there is a general increase in employee's expectations in terms of workplace or environment which drives facility managers to maintain the services in a higher and higher standard.

Implication on current FM practice

The world has been shaken by the recession since late 2000s, all corporate try to cut down their cost. When it is known that real estate is typically accounting for a corporate second largest expense after salary, diminishing real estate costs is regarded as a productive way to save a significant amount of money. Current practice applies on real estate and FM includes optimize the real estate portfolio, implement advanced workplace concepts, restructure FM service delivery model and emerging technology.

4.1 Optimize the real estate portfolio

First of all, FM should optimize the real estate portfolio by reviewing the demand and supply of space. Improve the space utilization by consolidating into key facilities or fewer buildings. Dispose surplus (underperforming or underutilized) space and cut down the vacancy by lease or sub-letting. Relocate operations or facilities to somewhere space is cheaper in order to diminish the occupancy cost. Also, carry out lease audits and evaluate tax assessments, although budget disincentives and legislation often favor costly short-term leasing instead of long-term ownership.

4.2 Implement advanced workplace concepts

Secondly, FM should implement advanced workplace concepts. During optimize the workplace portfolio, the facility managers recognize the capture demand for space more accurately. Then, it is the time to adjust portfolio to match the demand. Maximize facilities ROI by varying the use of space requires, such as capital reinvesting to alter or modernize space, space abandoning or space reassigning to other purposes. For example, more companies tend shifting to mobile workforce, so more employees work outside from the office. Take the opportunity to diminish on space that is not being occupancy frequency, refurbish or reconfigure the space. Increase the amount of shared and teaming space to match the team work base; enlarge the flexibility in workplace to compliance with new working styles. An effective workplace could improve the employee recruitment, retention, and productivity, as well as reduce the energy cost.

4.3 Restructure FM service delivery model

Restructure FM service delivery model by determining its optimal model and which commodity services are worthiest to outsource. According to the "Opportunity Emerges from Crisis: Global Corporate Real Estate Survey 2011" [5] , 24% of respondents deliver services in-house today, but this is predicted to decrease to 19% by 2004; 67% of respondents currently deliver through a hybrid model which combines in-house and outsource, and tend to be rising to 70% by 2014; 9% respondents currently fully outsourcing, and tend to be rising to 11%. From the "Rethinking Facilities Management" [6] survey report launched by BIFM on 2004, the top five in-house services provided by the FM respondents were procurement (94.3%), HR services (93%), finance (89.7%), property estate management (87.4%) and business strategy (80%). At the same time, the top five outsourced services were catering (76.4%), cleaning (68.1%), waste and recycling (63%), security (60.8%) and hospitality (56.9%). From these two surveys, the FM services delivery through a hybrid model tends to focus on tactical, non-core components. For the strategic elements is being retained in-house.

4.4 Emerging technology

Nowadays, technology is one of the tools to help facility managers to work out real estate management. Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) is one of the popular systems to apply in real estate. IWMS integrates five key components contains real estate management, project management, facilities and space management, maintenance management and environment sustainability. It is useful for integrated real estate and FM. For monitoring the building life cycle sector, Building information modeling (BIM) can be apply to demonstrate the entire building life cycle, involving the processes of construction and facility operation. For deeply focusing on maintenance purpose, Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a software package maintains a computer database of information about an organization's maintenance operations. For energy management, Building Management System (BMS) [7] controls and monitors the both mechanical and electrical equipment within building. It includes ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems. All of these technologies are critical components to integrated real estate and FM.

Development of FM in Hong Kong and Asian countries

FM has been introduced in Hong Kong since 1990s by the local International Facility Management Association. The development of FM in Hong Kong has been developed along three lines - practice, research and education. FM in Hong Kong is first developed as a single-line discipline. Most of the functions and tasks were routinely undertaken by building surveying professions. And FM market at that time was divided by the property and construction professions. The first batch of local-trained FM professions emerged in late 1990s, which graduated from the first formal FM academic programme which launched by local institution, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1996.

Japan is one of the earliest Asian countries which established FM as part of company's organization in the region. Some large-scale private sectors, such as NTT and Sony started to set up FM department in their organization which aiming to optimize the facility cost. In Korea, a Ministry of Industry and Trade survey, which carried out in 1995 found that only 2.7 per cent of those surveyed were familiar with the concepts of FM. Though this figure is low, a number of the international companies, such as Samsung, Hewlett Packard and IBM Korea had appointed international FM consultants. The introduction of FM has started in Korea but appears to be developing at a slower pace than some of its competitors in the region.

Key factors inhibit the development of FM in East Asia

The survey of "Challenges and Opportunities for the FM sector in China" [8] which launched on 2008 showed that the keys challenges of FM in China included 47% for lack of expertise and training, 43% for lack of strategic direction and guidance, 35% for balancing facilities budget, 31% for lack of support and commitment from top management, 21% for demanding of flexible workplace, 21% for costumer expectation, 16% for environmental sustainability and 12% integrating changing technology.

"Research on Theory and Application of Facility Management in China" [9] which launched on 2007 showed that 60% of property and facility management division expressed lack of guidance and requirements to FM. Under the same survey, 10% of property and facility management division was proficiency in FM, familiar with FM 33% and new to FM 57%. Moreover, the Ministry of Industry and Trade survey [10] found that only 2.7% of respondents were familiar with the concepts of FM in Korea.

Hong Kong and East Asia's FM market is less mature than UK. The key factors that inhibit the development of FM in Hong Kong and East Asia are included managerially and technically.

6.1 Business environment

Asian countries have been embraced global competition since 1990s. Foreign investment expands their business in Asian countries. However, there is often a general requirement for foreign companies to operate together with local partners. The general business culture of Asians is to act in close networks with the idea of the family as a strong protective social entity, which can in some instance make foreign participation extremely difficult. This barrier the entry of foreign companies, as well as introducing their well-developed FM models to local.

6.2 Technical knowledge and expertise

FM industry is still developing in Asia. Though Hong Kong and Singapore is the leading countries in FM industry in Asia, they are still lagging behind when comparing with the US and UK. Foreign FM experts and consultant keep exploring FM in large Asian cities by introducing FM strategies and educating and training local FM teams. FM is now increasing emphasis in Asia, however, there is still a long way for western experts to educate a large proportion of population.

6.3 Government guidelines and requirements

In the past decade, FM in Asia is growing due to the general increase in the expectation of the Asian employees in terms of work environment. The facility managers are working hard to improve the level of FM services, such as energy conservation and salvage recycling, up to the standard equivalent to the regions which FM is well-developed such as the US and UK. Due to the absence of increasing legislative regulations and guidelines in some Asian countries, it is hard to standardize the practice and implement by facility managers.

6.4 Availability of specialists

One major trend of FM is to outsource the most of, or even all the non-core service for cost saving, as well as providing better services by respective professionals and experts. However, the availability of specialist subcontractors and suppliers is a key requirement of the process. Given the relatively immature status of the overall market at present, initial experiences are likely to be similar to the advent of FM in the western world, with too few FM contractors and the lack of competition leading to initial complacency.

Conclusion

FM is an emerging profession with cross functional and multi-discipline, and it keeps growing and developing. The scope of FM responsibilities and practice interact with rapid pace of people, process, place, finance, resources, environment and technology. FM is recognized as a kind of strategic management can add value to the business. Real estate management includes real estate portfolio, workplace concepts, service delivery model are the big topics for FM to enhance the workplace productivity and gain profit. Since the FM information keep updating, adequate training, education and personnel development is essential to invest FM career.

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