Facilities Management is a practice that has been with us for centuries. However, it isn’t until the 1970s that the industry took prominence when businesses began to outsource everyday maintenance services such as plumbing, electrics, decorating, cleaning, and much more to reduce their overall operational costs. Fast-forward to today, and you’ll find more than 20,000 professionals spread across 100+ countries offering these crucial and money-saving services. So, what exactly do facilities management and building maintenance involve?
What is facilities management?
Facilities management involves a group of individuals charged with the task of keeping a given facility functional, efficient, safe, and profitable. For the facility to run uninterrupted, they provide the necessary support for workers, the environment, and equipment. Overall, facility management can be described as the oil that enables a facility to run smoothly both in the short and long term.
What is building maintenance?
Building maintenance involves strategies that aim to maintain the smooth and safe operation of a building. This is achieved by maintaining the premises, tools, and equipment in the building that make it function. Building maintenance can sometimes differ from facility management goals, and will primarily focus on ensuring everything runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
Who are the facility maintenance workers?
Typically, facility maintenance workers can be categorised into two categories: facility managers and facility maintenance technicians. Facility managers oversee all maintenance work to ensure expected performance, including cleaning and safety services. Whilst maintenance technicians perform a variety of hands-on tasks, including building repairs, and corrective and preventive maintenance.
Facility management and building maintenance services
Many activities fall under facility management and maintenance that are meant to keep the facility running efficiently and are generally agreed under a facilities contract in which the expectations and tasks will vary by business and property. These generally include but are not limited, to the following:
Environment, health, and safety
Facility management and maintenance are charged with the responsibility of identifying, evaluating, and managing safety and environmental-related challenges. They use operating procedures and business or property-specific safety standards to minimise injuries and damages due to facility conditions, which can sometimes lead to court proceedings.
Facility management and maintenance also involve preventative services that prevent the occurrence of fire hazards. These pose significant risks to the welfare of workers, assets, and the business as a whole. Fire safety can be integrated into facility maintenance software, allowing the facilities manager to assign maintenance tasks to technicians while keeping records of inspection reports and any actions that are required.
Facility managers use facility maintenance software to streamline preventive maintenance services. For example, constant inspections are completed to maximise asset life cycles and utility, eliminate the risk of downtime, as well as abide by statutory obligations. Some modern facility management teams employ a Computerised Maintenance Management System to track or schedule repetitive services. Systems should be serviced regularly and the required certifications passed at the necessary times.
Cleaning and sanitation
Cleanliness and hygiene play a vital role in the safe operation of a facility, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic. These services help to prevent the spread of germs and biological infections and encompass everything from sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, mopping, sanitising toilets, and wiping down commonly used surfaces. Sanitation can be done daily, weekly, or monthly depending on the needs of the given facility.
Facilities management is also responsible for maintaining the daily functionality of a building. This means the facility manager is always on standby to address building and safety issues if and when they arise. It may include reacting to requests such as replacing a light bulb, handling noise pollution complaints, unjamming photocopiers, fixing complex machinery, and any other thing that may downplay worker productivity.
Most facilities are subject to changes as dictated by company growth, structure, business strategies, or even human resource decisions. Sometimes, the facility may need to host a conference or event and space will be required. To make sure the event goes smoothly, it can be the facility manager’s responsibility to create the needed space from the available space. The manager can also oversee complying with regulations about office layout that may dictate fire safety, temperature control, and proper ventilation.
Business continuity planning
Business facilities must have continuity plans in place that detail plans to take in the unfortunate event of any accidents, fires or safety events. Should there be a need to re-establish the organisation, it is often the facility management team’s responsibility to move operations to a temporary location as the business recovers.
What types of buildings require facility management?
Facility management is a critical activity for most organisations and some common examples that will benefit from this include;
There are strict guidelines put in place by authorities to maintain safety and sanitation in hospitals. This calls for quality maintenance of such facilities to meet the required expectations, which makes the services of a facility manager critical.
Commercial buildings like warehouses are fitted with HVAC units and boilers that require constant service to run efficiently. Proper maintenance of these appliances contributes a long way to minimising the occurrence of incidents and keeping the interior environment conducive to optimal worker productivity. A facility manager will ensure everything runs smoothly.
Large educational facilities usually house significant capital assets like research equipment in their labs, IT equipment, and much more. Facility managers are often responsible for keeping these assets in good and safe working conditions and managing their life cycle which often reduces the need for them to be replaced earlier than required. They will also cater to emergencies like power cuts, flood and leak repairs, and fire hazard responses.
What are the qualities of a good facility manager and facilities management company?
A competent facility manager and company should have the following characteristics:
Quick thinkers who can make decisions on the go to address challenges as soon as they occur. They should be able to handle stressful situations and not buckle under pressure.
Successful facility managers have qualifications that surpass those outlined in their job description. Their competence is evident through relevant, relatable, and transferable skills, giving them a broad spectrum of skills to handle ever-evolving challenges.
Facility managers should be able to manage people to deliver the services expected of them. They should have excellent people skills, listen to complaints, and dialogue with staff to bring out their most desirable qualities.
Facility managers should understand the diversity in the facility and interact with all staff and vendors on level ground. They should strive to create a safety culture in the company that embraces people with all skill sets and backgrounds.
A skilled facility manager and facilities management company are good listeners and have effective communication skills that help to create an environment of collaboration. This helps to create unity and improve operations around the facility. They should be able to work effectively and as a team with the business, they are working with.
Facilities Management and Building Maintenance Services Conclusion
Facility management and building maintenance play a vital role in any organisational setup. They support workers, managers, and business owners, both directly and indirectly, by establishing processes that maintain the safety and operational effectiveness of a facility. When you combine these functions, they paint a clear picture of the critical function that facility managers serve. In essence, facility management and maintenance help to provide the company with a stable foundation for its success.
If you are looking for an experienced and reliable facilities management company for all of your business facilities management needs contact BPS today at 029 20 484114.