The Important Role of a Facility Manager & Why Your Building Needs One

The role of a facility 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 facility manager is often overlooked. Whether this is because property owners are happy managing premises on their own, or they’re simply unaware of the benefits that a good manager can offer.

However, having a facility manager at the helm of your property can have multiple benefits. Especially if they have access to tools such as Facilities Management Software.

In this guide:

What Does a Facility Manager Do?

The role of a facility manager can vary depending on the property 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, they’re expected to lead the management of services such as:

  • Scheduling and planning 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 property and its surroundings are kept secure

A major role of a facility manager is to ensure occupants are happy and getting the most from their built environment – after all, the main objective is to keep a building in the best possible working order to help generate more revenue.

This can be achieved through effective space management such as the design of office layouts, ensuring shared spaces are clean, and providing the right furniture and equipment. 73% of workers claimed well-managed office spaces were the driving force that helped them perform better at work.

Why Your Buildings Need a Facility Manager

Without a facility manager, most operations will struggle to improve the efficiency of their property. That includes the running of day-to-day operations, maintaining buildings, and retaining a productive workforce.

A manager will work on a strategic level across a range of services. That includes coordinating the demand and supply of hard and soft 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.

A building manager will oversee the health and safety of your occupants
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.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Facility Manager?

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 facility management services. Knowing the difference between hard and soft FM tasks is essential to help identify the roles expected of a manager.

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

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
  • Catering

4 Key Skills a Facility Manager Should Have

Facility managers take the lead when managing a business’s property. They are responsible for several services, including managing 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 leader should have these four key qualities:

1. Strategically-Minded

A good manager should take a strategic approach to the planning and management of tasks. Through the contracts they arrange and KPIs they set, facility managers will deliver value to a business’s bottom line. While enhancing company culture, business reputation, and engagement with employees.

2. People-Focused

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.”

3. A Problem-Solver

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.

4. Analytically-Minded

Throughout their role, a facility 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.

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