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Facility management (or facilities management or FM) is an interdisciplinary business function that coordinates space, infrastructure, people and organization. It is often associated with the administration of office blocks, arenas, schools, sporting complexes, convention centers, shopping complexes, hospitals, hotels, manufacturing and shipping. Facilities management currently represents about 5% of global GDP. Its relationship to the human resources, real estate and information technology functions of an enterprise has increased.
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 the core competencies of facility management as:
- emergency preparedness and business continuity
- environmental stewardship and sustainability
- finance and business
- human factors
- leadership and strategy
- operations and maintenance
- project management
- real estate and property management
The European standards for facilities management defines facilities management 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 European standard EN15221-1, the scope of FM is 'Space & Infrastructure' (such as planning, design, workplace, construction, lease, occupancy, maintenance, furniture and cleaning) and 'People & Organization' (such as catering, ICT, HR, accounting, marketing, hospitality).
The International Organization for Standardization, has published international standards facilities management.
Facility management is supported with training and professional qualifications often co-ordinated by FM institutes or associations, and a limited number of formal degree programs exist at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Role of the facilities manager
Facilities managers (FMs) operate across business functions.
The number one priority of an FM is keeping people alive and safe.
Facility managers have to operate at two levels:
- Strategically-tactically: helping clients, customers and end-users understand the potential impact of their decisions on the provision of space, services, cost and business risk.
- Operationally: ensuring corporate and regulatory compliance and 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:
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 affected by adverse publicity from safety lapses.
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.
Protection of employees and the business often comes under the control of the facilities management department, in particular the maintenance of security 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. Statutory obligations must also 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 (such as toilet rolls, soap) plus litter picking and reactive response. Cleaning is scheduled as a series of periodic (daily, weekly, monthly) tasks.
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, or vending machine problems.
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. Facilities may be split into two sections, often referred to as "soft" services such as reception and post room, and "hard" services, such as the mechanical, fire and electrical services.
The facilities management team will seek to periodically re-tender their contracts, or at least benchmark them to ensure they are value for money. Retendering or benchmarking requires an up-to-date list of equipment or assets. 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.
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, and the percentage of the staff moved during a year is known as the churn rate. 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
- temperature control
- 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.
- Activity relationship chart
- Physical plant
- Building information modeling
- Computerized maintenance management system
- Property maintenance
- Property management
- "ISO - ISO Standards - ISO/TC 267 - Facilities management". www.iso.org. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
- Mudrak, T., Wagenberg, A.V. and Wubben, E. (2004), "Assessing the innovative ability of FM teams: a review", Facilities, Vol. 22 Nos 11/12, pp. 290–5.