Overview of facilities management

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"Facilities management is the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities" (BIFM 2010)

Becker 1990 says "facilities management is responsible for co-coordinating all efforts related to planning, designing and managing buildings and their systems, equipment and furniture to enhance the organisation's ability to compete successfully in a rapidly changing world."

Only in the last two decades or so has facilities management become a recognised and essential process within organisations. (Brown). To illustrate this, the US Department of Labour say that by 2016, facility management will grow by 12 percent with an added 29,000 jobs in the field. (Rasey M, 2010)

Facilities Management as a profession as well as a practice is continuing to develop to provide management services that meet specific short term and long term goals of corporate organisations. (Brown) Facilities Management, if correctly implemented, can deliver productive, humane and cost effective work environments. It enhances the skills of people within the facilities management sector, creates career opportunities, and enables new working styles which is important in this technologically driven world. (BIFM, 2010) All these benefits will enhance the organisation's image and brand name thus becoming more competitive in their market. This is vital for the success of any corporation.

Facilities management includes the integration of the planning and management of a wide range of services both 'hard' (e.g. building fabric) and 'soft' (e.g. catering, cleaning, security, mailroom, and health & safety) to achieve better quality and economies of scale. The definition continues to expand to include the management of an increasingly broad range of tangible assets, support services as well as people skills. (BIFM, 2010)

Facilities professionals must have the desire and ability to work well with people as well as be able to improve the day to day activities of the in-house staff. (Brown) Large corporations often require a structured way to deal with project budgets, planning, project delivery and internal coordination, capital purchasing programs, as well as building or site management issues. This is where facilities management is beneficial. The facilities manager will deal with these issues and translate corporate customer facility requirements into a cost effective, environmentally safe and aesthetically pleasing workplace. (Brown)

Facilities managers are involved in both strategic planning and day-to-day operations, particularly in relation to buildings and premises. Responsibilities and duties may vary depending on the type of corporation but the most likely responsibilities include:

  • contract management
  • procurement managment
  • maintenance of the grounds and buildings
  • general cleaning of the facility
  • catering and vending
  • health and safety
  • security
  • utilities and communications infrastructure
  • space management

Facilities managers are employed in all sectors and industries and the diversity of the work may be reflected in different job titles such as operations, estates, technical services, asset or property manager. Responsibilities are often broad, covering several departments, as well as central services that link to all the teams in the organisation. In addition to the above responsibilities, the more specific typical tasks of a facilities manager may include:

  • preparation of documents in order to put out tenders
  • supervising the contractor's work
  • investigating availability and suitability of options for new purchases
  • comparing costs of essential goods or services in order to attain maximum value for money
  • planning future development while taking strategic business objectives into account
  • coordinating and taking charge of any changes to guarantee minimum interference with core activities
  • communicate with tenants of commercial properties
  • coordinating and planning important services such as maintenance, reception, security, cleaning, catering, waste disposal and recycling
  • space management in terms of best utilisation of space and resources for new buildings, or re-organising the current premises in order to get maximum efficiency from a space perspective.
  • Ensuring that work done by staff or contractors has been completed in a satisfactory manner and following up on any problems
  • Taking responsibility and leading a team or teams of staff to cover various jobs
  • using performance management techniques to monitor and demonstrate achievement of agreed service levels and to lead on improvement
  • responding in the correct manner to any emergencies or issues as they arise

( Hemingway, A 2008)

The implication of effective facilities management will help identify potential problems with regards to maintenance and running costs before they result in a complete component breakdown. It provides a structure for the evaluation of the many relationships between the decisions and the satisfaction of the end users of the specific property. The sole aim of facilities management must not be just to optimise running costs of buildings but also to increase the efficiency and management of space and other related assets for people and processes so that the organisation's goals can be met through the combination of efficiency, cost and quality. (Baldry, D 2000)

REFERENCES

  • Becker, F (1990), The Total Workplace, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, NY., .
  • (British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) http://www.bifm.org.uk/bifm/about/facilities Accessed 22 March 2010
  • Rasey, M (2010) http://www.ehow.com/about_5066185_duties-facilities-manager.html Accessed 22 March 2010
  • Hemingway, A (2008) http://www.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/facilities_manager_job_description.jsp
  • Baldry, D 2000 Assessment of facilities management performance - what next? Journal of Facilities
  • Brown, R (YEAR) Facility Management

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