The role of a facilities manager incorporates several different functions, from strategic planning and maintenance to managing third-party suppliers and supporting staff. But, despite the overwhelming amount of tasks required to keep a built environment operational, the importance of a facilities manager is often overlooked. Whether this is because building owners are happy managing premises on their own, or they’re simply unaware of the benefits that an effective facilities manager can offer.
What Does a Facilities Manager Do?
The role of a facilities manager can vary depending on the facility and the business. However, there are typical building processes that managers are expected to be responsible for. These range from strategic planning and management of day-to-day operations, to security and building maintenance. As well as ensuring the health and safety of occupants.
Typically, facility professionals are expected to lead the management of various services such as:
- Scheduling and planning regular maintenance and building repairs
- Handling legal or contractual matters (with occupants and third-party suppliers)
- Providing occupants with the right equipment and amenities
- Being compliant with health and safety regulations
- Making sure occupants are happy and safe through space management
- Ensuring the premises is kept secure
One major role of a facilities manager is to ensure occupants are happy and getting the most from their built environment – after all, the main objective is to keep a facility in the best working order possible to generate revenue. This can be achieved through effective workspace management such as the design of office layouts, ensuring shared spaces are clean, and providing the right furniture or equipment.
Workspace management is so essential that in a 2019 workplace survey, 73% of responders said well-managed office spaces were the driving force that helped them perform better at work.
As head of a building’s entire operations, a facility manager will work across a range of disciplines. These can be broken down into two categories; hard and soft services. Knowing the difference between hard and soft facilities management tasks, and which processes fall into which category, is essential to help identify the roles expected of a facilities manager.
What Are Hard FM Tasks?
Hard FM tasks refer to the management of a building’s physical space, such as:
- Property strategy, design, and planning
- On and off-site building management
- Implementing a predictive, reactive, or preventive maintenance approach
- Contract management
- Space management
- Maintenance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
- Lighting, plumbing, and electrical inspections
- Ensuring fire safety systems are in working order
- Providing emergency responses
What Are Soft FM Tasks?
Soft FM tasks refer to the management of services that a business depends on to provide a safe built environment, such as:
- Health and safety management
- Building Security
- Waste management services
- Budget management
- Supporting staff across departments
- Workspace management
- Cleaning and washing facilities
Why Is a Facility Manager So Important?
Without a facilities manager, most businesses would struggle to improve the efficiency of their properties. That includes the running of day-to-day operations, maintaining buildings, and retaining a productive workforce.
A facility manager will work on a strategic level across a range of services. That includes coordinating the demand and supply of facilities services. As well as handling matters relating to your property such as taking responsibility for on-site visitors and overseeing the health and safety of occupants.
In 2019, HSE reported that 1.4 million people were struggling with ill-health as a result of workplace-related incidents due to a building’s poor health and safety measures. In the same year, 4.7 million working days were also lost due to workplace injuries.
Source: Statista workplace survey, November 2019
Without the right person at the helm, issues and emergencies within the premises can lead to negative outcomes. This will impact the company as a whole and the occupants, the assets held, and the security of third-party visitors.
How to Find the Best Manager for a Built Environment
Facility managers take lead on managing a business’s property and buildings. They are responsible for a number of different services, including managing team members such as technicians and project managers. To perform well, they need to show a mix of experience, skill, knowledge and proactiveness.
When searching for the right person to handle the day-to-day operations of a building, keep in mind that the perfect facilities manager should have these four key qualities:
A good facilities manager should take a strategic approach to planning and management tasks. Through the contracts they arrange and KPI’s they set, facilities managers will deliver value to a business’s bottom line. While enhancing company culture, business reputation, and engagement with employees.
For staff to be productive, they need an appropriate space to work in. If there’s a problem with the building, someone has to fix it. It’s essential, then, that a facilities manager has great communication skills. To deliver results, they need to understand the problems that arise and factor these into their decision-making.
Having the right people skills is something that Jurrian Hommes considers one of the most important skills. The owner of the LinkedIn group ‘Integrated Facility Management‘, claims:
“It’s not just about the ‘desk’ job and all the processes. It’s about what your guests (and employees) experience every day when passing through your department.”
Continuous improvement should be at the forefront of a facility manager’s mind. As should knowledge of the latest trends, too. This can come from creating innovative approaches. As well as reviewing existing arrangements or contracts to find better cost-effective solutions. They should also be comfortable implementing new processes or using technology to enhance systems.
Throughout their role, a facilities manager will work with lots of data in the form of financial planning, legal and regulatory issues, contract terms, and building plans. They need to know how to manage this information and how to use it to improve operations. As well as how to protect and secure valuable third-party data.
Why Facility Owners Use Computer-Aided Tools
The use of computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) tools are essential for driving efficiency throughout a built environment. Take CAFM Software for instance; a cloud-based tool enables facilities managers to store and manage data in one centralized system to help support them and their teams.
Using tools such as CAFM software enables users to plan strategically and manage resources in the most cost-effective manner. Key benefits of Facilities Management software include:
Increasing Workplace Efficiency
Storing and accessing real-time data allows facility managers to review how they can best use the building’s resources. This speeds up the move management process and reduces any potential interruption in the workplace. It also enables them to be more effective when delegating tasks to teams or third-party suppliers.
A CAFM tool will feature the tools necessary to improve overall asset management, which can help reduce expenses. This is most effective through accurate inventory management and planned procurement. As well as effective maintenance planning to prolong asset life cycles. Reviewing and planning space management can also help reduce operational costs. Eventually helping to prevent needless capital investment.
Improving Strategic Processes
Whether proactive, preventative, or reactive, CAFM tools support the use of multiple maintenance strategies. With proactive maintenance helping to reduce maintenance bills by up to 70%, it’s worth considering how software could improve overall ROI.
Providing Agility and Accessibility
A cloud-based or SaaS facilities management tool allows users to manage data from remote locations using mobile devices. A cloud-based solution provides agility while protecting data when stakeholders need to access important data such as contact details, contract terms, or statistical analysis.
How CAFM Streamlines the Tasks of a Facility Manager
No matter the building or the type of business, the role of a facilities manager is important. From strategic planning to property maintenance, they’re employed by landlords to carry out the management of a building in the most efficient and cost-effective way. A typical facilities manager is responsible for various jobs such as:
- Scheduling maintenance and building repairs
- Handling legal and contractual matters
- Providing equipment and amenities
- Being compliant with health and safety regulations
- Optimizing space management
- Ensuring the premises is kept secure
With HSE reporting that 1.4 million people struggled with ill-health as a result of a building’s poor health and safety measures, facility managers are also essential for ensuring the safety and security of occupants.
By ditching a manual approach to facilities management and opting for a more computerized function, facility managers can streamline their tasks by utilizing the features of a CAFM. Three essential tools include equipment management, storing third-party data, and maintenance planning.
Equipment and Asset Management
A major benefit of digitizing a facility manager’s processes is being able to track equipment in real-time. This is made possible with asset management tools and asset tagging devices such as RFID and barcode. This helps personnel know where equipment is and when it can be accessed. As well as helping to reduce costs associated with replacing lost or stolen equipment.
Another advantage of incorporating asset tracking tools is highlighting and reducing a building’s energy consumption levels. With buildings contributing around 45% of UK CO2 emissions, property managers can install IoT devices in the form of energy tracking sensors to see where they’re losing the most energy. In 2018, energy expenses averaged $0.06 per square foot (PSF) for industrial buildings alone.
Organizing Third-Party Suppliers
Outsourcing jobs to third-party companies is an important task in the role of a facilities manager. The hiring of third-party services will most commonly be for custodial services, maintenance work, and catering services. To make sure that these outsourced jobs are performed correctly, a facilities manager needs to be in contact with each company, meaning contact details need to be shared and communication needs to be an easy process.
Instead of using notes, whiteboards, and spreadsheets to collect third-party data, a CAFM has the ability to store all information in a centralized dashboard that can be accessed at any time and anywhere. After all, the average business spreadsheet contains 90% of errors.
Preventive Maintenance Planning
With equipment downtime costing facilities between 5% and 20% of their productive capacity, an important process in any building is to incorporate a proactive maintenance plan. This enables facility managers to see when a piece of equipment is due for servicing or needs replacing before an incident occurs. Preventive maintenance scheduling is so effective that it has allowed companies to reduce their maintenance bills by up to 70%.
Without a proactive plan in place to carry out building maintenance, facility managers will act reactively. Although this approach can save money in the short term, the long-term costs can be disastrous. For instance, a leaking pipe that is left unchecked can cost businesses 1,000 litres of water an hour. Equating to £26,000 over a year.