As the fast-paced Fourth Industrial Revolution dawns, the effective maintenance and management of a facility are becoming increasingly important. Buildings are getting smarter; technology is getting more sophisticated, which needs to be managed effectively to avoid business disruption and effectively leverage data insights. In fact, Navigant Research estimates that the smart building market will generate global revenue of USD$8.5 billion next year, up from $4.7 billion in 2016.
This is where having a dedicated facilities manager comes in. Facilities managers are responsible for ensuring everything to do with the physical infrastructure of the business is running as it should, as well as identifying areas for greater efficiency and cost-saving.
The importance of good facilities management
Effective facilities management is essential to the performance of any organization, no matter the size and scope. Good facilities management and maintenance can deliver greater adaptability, flexibility, and sustainability for your organization. It ensures efficient and smooth business operations that are not often interrupted by a diverse range of technical difficulties.
What does a facilities manager do?
The typical functions of a facility manager vary from company to company. In general, facilities managers are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of an organization’s buildings, ensuring that they meet legal requirements and health and safety standards.
Facility managers (FMs) operate across different business functions, working on both a strategic and operational level. Facility management professionals are tasked with providing, maintaining, and developing a number of different services such as:
- Property strategy
- Space management
- Communications infrastructure
- Building maintenance
- Testing and inspections
- Building administration
- Contract management
- EHS(environment, health, safety)
- Facility Maintenance planning
- Managing renovations and refurbishments
- Organizing facility condition assessments
Responsibilities of the facility manager
Generally speaking, the role of the facility manager is to ensure that the facility is operating as it should on a daily basis by completing daily inspections and conducting repairs and maintenance.
Here is a list of some of the things a facility manager is responsible for:
- sourcing and overseeing contracts and service providers for functions such as catering, cleaning, parking, security, and technology
- advising businesses on measures to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the facility
- supervising teams of staff across different divisions
- ensuring that basic facilities are well-maintained and conducting proactive maintenance
- dealing with emergencies as they arise
- managing budgets
- ensuring that facilities meet compliance standards and government regulations
- planning for the future by forecasting the facility’s upcoming needs and requirements
- overseeing any renovations, refurbishments, and building projects
- helping with office relocations
- ensuring employee and facility safety
- drafting maintenance reports
Core traits and skills of a successful facilities manager
Successful facilities managers rely on a number of different skills and competencies. They need to be able to maintain good relationships with a wide range of suppliers, employees, managers, contractors, executives, and other stakeholders.
The workload of a facility manager is complex and varied; they need to manage budgets, leverage technical knowledge, make quick decisions, and solve problems. They also benefit from the previous experience that will help them identify potential issues and resolve any issues as soon as possible.
The modern facility manager should also be able to understand and use technology like CMMS software to improve their work by enhancing productivity, reducing downtime, and streamlining their daily operations. For an in-depth look at CMMS, check out our What is a CMMS System and How Does it work guide.
Some of the qualities needed for expert facilities management include:
- competent writing and communication skills – including the ability to communicate technical information
- the ability to prioritize and multi-task
- time management skills
- teamwork, leadership, and motivational skills
- procurement and negotiation
- proactive thinking
- understanding of soft and hard service delivery
- passionate about delivering consistent excellence
What qualifications does a facilities manager need?
There are a number of different qualifications that can be applied to a facilities management role. Examples include:
- degree in facilities management
- higher national diploma
- foundation degree or a related qualification in management, engineering, or business studies
Although not always required, many employers prefer applicants with a professional facilities management certification, such as the competency-based Certified Facility Manager (CFM) credential from the International Facility Management Association.
Relevant experience in technical skills and management is also essential. Employees can also acquire a facilities management position by working their way up in a company with in-house training, additional certification, or an apprenticeship.
Does your business need a facility manager?
Many larger companies choose to employ a dedicated internal facilities manager. In smaller companies, however, a member (or members) of the staff are often allocated facility management duties beyond their usual scope of work. This can be disruptive to their core responsibilities, and also means that the management and maintenance of the facility may not be as effective as possible.
Outsourcing facility maintenance is a recommended option for companies without internal facilities maintenance expertise as it can prove both more effective and more cost-efficient. An outsourced provider can take on some of the responsibilities of a facility manager or perform the entire facilities maintenance function, helping you focus on your core business.
Shea Karssing is a writer for Smarter Business, one of the UK’s leading independent consultancies, helping businesses secure the most comprehensive savings solutions from utilities contract management and procurement to business loans and facilities maintenance.