How Integrated Facilities Management Compares to Other In-House & Out-Tasking Strategies (And Is It the Best?)

Rising costs, siloed data, and overseeing multiple service contracts are just three reasons why property owners choose to consolidate their FM services under one provider, known as Integrated Facilities Management (IFM).

The deployment of an IFM system (or IWMS) can have several benefits, including:

  • Reduced contractor costs
  • Simplified processes for assigning FM tasks
  • Reduced complexity in managing services
  • Seamless data sharing and collaboration
  • Improved quality of FM services being delivered

Integrated FM is considered the superior option for handling FM tasks compared to other outsourcing and in-house options. Despite this, the FM outsourcing market is forecasted to hit $1 trillion by 2025.

The uptick in keeping FM tasks in-house and outsourcing services is largely due to the use of connected technologies (IoT) and CAFM Software, making facilities management a more manageable and streamlined process.

So why is it that facility managers opt for an integrated facilities management approach when other strategies are becoming less complex and cheaper? Well, there are several factors.

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What Exactly Is Integrated Facilities Management?

Integrated Facilities Management is an approach taken by facility managers and property owners to consolidate all building and site processes under one single, unified framework.

This is a strategic option to ensure all building management data, service delivery, functions, and data are managed through one provider.

This means that a property’s facility management tasks are now the responsibility of a sole provider, in contrast to internally managing multiple service tasks such as cleaning, catering, maintenance, and security.

IFM means that one provider will take control of a building’s:

  • Facility management services (both hard and soft FM services)
  • Space planning and management
  • On-site maintenance
  • Energy management plans
  • Sustainability targets

When shifting to an IFM approach and appointing a dedicated provider, several steps need to be considered, as Edward Taylor-Robinson, Head of Estates at National Museums Liverpool, explains:

“The first port of call when joining any company as an estates professional is to gather information on [the] estate, to understand the buildings; What do we have on file? What don’t we have on file? Understanding your gas, your electric, asbestos, fire strategies, [and] fire risk assessments. Where all your taps are, all that stuff, and gathering it and bringing it into one centralised location. So, knowledge management really, for me is key.”

6 Reasons Why Building Owners Opt to Consolidate Their FM Services

1. Fewer People In the Decision-Making Process

With one provider handling all service-led decisions, the process requires fewer bodies. Without the need to contact multiple suppliers and with no back-and-forth with contractors or service providers, decision-making is quicker, easier, and more efficient.

This also reduces delays to building maintenance and improves the amenities offered to occupants, increasing workplace well-being.

Video: Head of Workspace Solutions, Laura Wright, talks about the challenges faced when using various tools such as IWMS and spreadsheets as opposed to having an all-in-one CAFM solution.

2. One Single Source of Truth

Although services may still be outsourced to experts, for you – the facility manager – all details are accessible in one system, much like how a CAFM system works. But, instead of seeing multiple suppliers, you’ll have a comprehensive view of all services. That includes scheduling times, SLAs, costs, and more detailed information.

3. Standardised Quality of Service

With all facility management services covered by the same provider, expectations are met quickly. Providers understand what is required from them across all levels of tasks, from catering and cleaning to maintenance and landscaping.

As Tarniah Thompson, Head of FM and Sustainability at SHW, explains – while delivering FM services to the Crown Estate – a major factor in service quality is constant communication:

“There are four main pillars in facilities management, which are people, processes, buildings – or the portfolio – and technology. And once you’re communicating in each of those pillars, I think it builds for good facilities management culture.”

4. Access to Industry-Leading Technology

Although upfront costs are high when opting for integrated facilities management, you’ll save on the purchasing of and using the latest FM technology.

Typically, providers will have the latest industry-leading tech – in the form of IoT sensors, energy management trackers, and software applications – which can be applied to your property management processes. This also helps to lead the way for adopting a smart building ethos.

5. Fewer Property Management Risks to Track

Providers have the expertise and experience to better mitigate risks in the workplace. Common risks include health and safety, compliance, SLA agreements, and emergency preparedness.

6. Reduced Costs (In the Long Term)

Whether managing services in-house or outsourcing, facility managers are no strangers to rising costs. Ad-hoc contracts, emergency call-outs, varying hourly contractor rates, and purchasing the latest hardware; they all add up.

Working with an IFM provider or system typically works by paying one upfront payment – which will seem pricey at first. This is then followed by monthly payments that take into account all FM processes and risks.

How Does IFM Compare to Other FM Service Strategies?

While integrated facilities management offers a variety of top-level benefits, other strategic approaches replicate different levels of facility management. Most notably, two FM strategies remain popular among facility managers and property owners; in-house and out-tasked.

The latter being the most popular, with more than 50% of FM tasks being outsourced in regions including Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

How integrated facilities management compares with other strategies

Source: Six emerging trends in facilities management sourcing,

In-House FM: In-house facilities management is typically a good starting point for facility managers who operate on one or two floors in a building or manage small properties. Keeping FM services in-house enables more direct control over hiring contractors, payments, and scheduling.

Out-Tasked FM/Outsourcing FM: Choosing to outsource FM tasks works well for a variety of property sizes, from office floors to multi-site warehouses. Outsourcing hard and soft FM services allows facility managers to select particular service providers for various tasks while retaining control over hiring, costs, and timings.




  • Knowledge of requirements
  • Direct communication with service staff
  • Control costs, schedule, & hiring
  • Secure sensitive data
  • High operational costs
  • Lack of expertise
  • Lack of new technology
  • A large portion of time taken by admin
  • Hire experts who specialise in service areas
  • Provide good quality of services to occupants
  • SLAs help mitigate risks with service delivery & performance
  • Speed up delivery of hard & soft FM service
  • Less oversight of day-to-day operations
  • Dependent on the service quality of external providers
  • Communication issues with external teams
  • Unexpected costs
  • Sharing sensitive information
  • Standardised service quality
  • Utilise industry-leading technology
  • Free up admin time
  • Easier decision making
  • Greater cost and operational efficiency
  • Work to a single source of truth
  • The complex implementation of an IFM system
  • High up-front costs
  • Sharing sensitive data with providers
  • Dependant on the service quality of the provider

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Factors That Demonstrate Why IFM Isn’t For Everyone

As with all deployments of new systems and approaches, there are important factors to consider. In terms of an integrated facilities management approach, there are 4:

  • Budget: Although cost-effective in the long run, the high up-front costs will be a concern for property owners working with a small budget.
  • Property: The size and operational function of a property will determine the best approach to managing facility management services. For instance, a small office space or a floor within a residential building can be managed through in-house or out-tasked strategies and operate to a minimum budget.
  • Self-assurance: If a property manager is confident in their ability to manage multiple contractors and has the time to schedule, communicate, and finance a building’s FM tasks, then relinquishing control to a single provider may not be on their radar.
  • Access to Technology: With affordable software systems being made more readily available, building owners have the budget to implement them and hand over the reigns to facility managers. CAFM systems in particular have the features to work with IoT devices and provide FMs with unique building insights.


What is the difference between IFM and Total Facilities Management (TFM)?

IFM and TFM are two concepts that are often used interchangeably, but there are differences:

IFM is the approach taken to combine all facility management services under one provider. That typically includes all hard and soft FM services.

TFM combines all aspects of facilities management. This means on top of the typical FM services of maintenance, cleaning, catering, security, and space management, it also incorporates strategic planning, real-estate portfolio management, building design, and more. Total facility management is aimed at organisations that believe facilities to be an integral part of meeting goals and objectives.