Opinion

Understanding Facilities Management

Over the last few months of writing and sharing knowledge in the FM space, many people have asked questions on various issues requiring answers. I have therefore felt the need to compliment it with shedding some light on understanding Facilities Management.

The practice of facilities management emerged out of necessity during the recession of the 1980s. It was driven by the need to support and allow organizations to reduce operating costs, increase productivity, enhance competitiveness and preserve bottom line. FM has over time evolved to adapt to various changes as a result of business completion, increased demand from end-users and advancement in technology. Today, the FM industry had developed as an approach to operate, maintain, and manage facilities and services to support the core business operations. Different stakeholders have described the role of FM in several ways notably corporate services, operations support services, workplace services and asset maintenance management.

There are a lot of people including facilities practitioners who are still not well acquainted with the concept of Facilities Management and its methodologies. The main function of FM is to manage non-core business operations of any private or public sector organization so as to enable such an organization to focus on its core business therefore it is imperative that FM objectives should be aligned with an organization’s objectives and goals. The practice of FM focuses mainly on maintenance operations, workplace safety and health, asset management and administrative services. As a result, how this plays out differs from organization to organization even among organizations operating in the same sector. Furthermore, the scope has widened, driven by business trends, advancement in technology and end-users’ ever changing needs. This has increased the demand for facilities management practitioners despite the lack of standards and what is the minimum acceptable level of service delivery.

A recent research reported that the global building stack will grow by 24% by 2023 mainly due to urbanization. Due to this increasing construction of built environment and the need to comply with the expanding regulatory requirements such as energy and water conservation in buildings, the demand for professional FM services has increased as corporate and individual clients seek to get maximum returns from their assets. In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment there is a strong demand for competent facilities managers/practitioners to support organizations in keeping pace with changes and in enhancing their effectiveness and efficiency. Another factor for the strong demand is the increase in awareness of corporate social responsibility,especially with multinational organizations in need of facilities managers/practitioners to help them fulfill this obligation which include protecting the environment and promoting sustainability.

Today, facilities management is more than just maintenance functions. It is now being recognized as a potentially significant economic factor that adds value when facilities and support services are well managed. The value of facilities management is gaining recognition from public and private sector organizations in many sectors of the economy that wish to safeguard not only their revenue but also their profits.

In conclusion, facilities managers/practitioners should throughout the facilities life cycle adopt the principle of ‘first in, last out’ when conceptualizing the facilities based on the needs of their clients, to disposing the facilities.

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