Facility management

Facility management is an interdisciplinary field primarily devoted to the maintenance and care of commercial or institutional buildings, such as hospitals, clinics, hotels, resorts, schools, office complexes, sports arenas or convention centers. Duties may include the care of air conditioning, electric power, plumbing and lighting systems; cleaning; decoration; groundskeeping and security. Some or all of these duties can be assisted by computer programs. These duties can be thought of as non-core or support services, because they are not the primary business (taken in the broadest sense of the word) of the owner organization.

It is the role of the facility management function (whether it is a separate department or small team) to coordinate and oversee the safe, secure, and environmentally-sound operations and maintenance of these assets in a cost effective manner aimed at long-term preservation of the asset value, and also other janitorial duties such as making sure the environment is properly cleaned and sanitized for its tenants. In those cases where the operation of the facility directly involves the occupants and/or customers of the owner organization, the satisfactory delivery of facility-related services to these people will be an important consideration too; hence, the term "end-user satisfaction" is often used both as a goal and a measure of performance.

The term facility management is similar to property management although not exactly the same. While both manage the day to day operations of a facility the property such as cleaning, maintenance and security, similar to Janitors, one must not confuse it with such a title. The property manager has an expanded role which includes leasing and marketing activities whereas the facility manager role focuses on existing tenants who usually are owner occupants. An important feature of facility management is that it takes account of human needs of its tenants in the use of buildings and other constructed facilities. These softer factors complement the harder factors associated with the maintenance and care of engineering services installations.

According to Atkin and Brooks[, an important concept in the facility management field is that of outsourcing, where the owner enters into an arrangement with external organizations to provide one or more services in preference to their being provided through internal arrangements. The reasons for this action can vary, including lack of in-house resources, lack of expertise and pressure to reduce costs. Unfortunately, confusion can exist because of the close association that facility management has with outsourcing. The two concepts are not synonymous; rather, outsourcing is one means for providing facility-related services to the owner organization.

Facility management is performed during the operational phase of a building’s life cycle, which normally extends over many decades. As such, it will represent a continuous process of service provision to support the owner’s core business and one where improvement will be sought on a continuous basis. It is essential that decision-making in the preceding design and construction phases is therefore properly informed about operational requirements if the facility is to provide optimal support to the owner’s business. In this connection, facility management can be seen as an integral part of a coordinated and controlled process of design, engineering, construction and operations. Where a facility is provided on a turnkey basis, for example design-build-finance-operate (DBFO), the consortium responsible for the delivery of the physical asset and then operating the core service will need to understand implicitly the day-to-day demands in managing that facility. Under such arrangements – typically public-private partnerships (PPP) – owner-operators must fully integrate operational thinking into early design decision-making.

A major challenge facing facility owners is reducing demand for energy for economic reasons, but also because energy consumption goes hand-in-hand with carbon emissions. Reducing energy during the operational phase of a facility's life similarly reduces carbon emissions. When considering that 30-40% of a country's total carbon emissions is attributable to buildings and other constructed facilities, it is clear that operations and, hence, facility management have a significant role to play.

Article Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facility_management


Benefits of Facilities Management

By Jane Freeman

In today's tough economy, businesses are doing everything they can to be cost-effective. However, they often cut facilities management, thinking it is too expensive. Facilities management is actually a great savings for your company. Here are the benefits of having a top-notch facilities management system.

1. Cost Savings: Buildings and land are usually the second largest expenditure of any business (second only to labor). By effectively implementing sound facilities management practices, a business can save millions annually. These measures include keeping all building systems and equipment up to date and running efficiently, and maintaining security. This will save the company money in the long run by reducing utility costs, eliminating expensive emergency service calls and lawsuits.

2. Customer satisfaction: While many people would not admit it, they are far more likely to visit (and revisit) a company that takes pride in its appearance. By keeping the site well maintained, a company shows that it pays attention to detail and will go the extra mile.

3. Occupant retention: It is far easier to keep an occupant than to find a new one. By paying attention to occupant and visitor concerns about such things as room temperatures, building owners and managers show they want to keep them satisfied.

4. Code compliance: As we all know, today's society is more litigious than ever and government standards are always changing. An effective facilities management system, by documenting operations, can serve as evidence that your company is striving to provide a safe environment. This documentation can be very important if a lawsuit were to arise.

5. "Green" image: Not only is eco-friendly facilities management important for conserving natural resources and reducing pollution, today it can be a major selling point. While it will likely be the main drawing card for attracting customers, pointing out that your company strives to maintain "green" operations in its building and grounds will impress potential customers.

6. Personnel retention: Everyone is more productive when they work in a safe, comfortable environment. By using effective facilities management, you can control labor costs because your staff will be working at its best. You will be better able to attract and retain the best employees.

7. Safety: No one wants to be in a workplace under constant threats, whether it be from accidents, thefts or violence. Establish and maintain effective and up-to-date facilities management. You'll sleep better at night knowing your staff, occupants and visitors are as safe as possible. That peace of mind is worth any perceived additional cost.

8. Health-care costs: As you know, businesses lose millions each year in sick time and health care costs. Effective facilities management may prevent sick building syndrome, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and a host of other ills. This may save health care costs and employee downtime.

9. Resale value: If and when the time comes to sell your facility, you will likely get a far better price if you can show you have well-maintained buildings and grounds. You may also be able to sell quickly because you won't have to go through a frantic process to "stage" the property - it will already be ready to show.

These nine benefits will show you that, as the saying goes, "Facilities doesn't cost, it pays." Invest in your facilities management programs and start reaping the benefits.

Jane is a student who has been looking at facilities management companies for here final year Thesis. She is hoping for a career in Air Conditioning Maintenance when she graduates.

Article Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Benefits-of-Facilities-Management&id=4022806