facility management

Role of a Facilities Manager

The facilities management market is horizontally oriented. Over the past few years, with quite a few brands and businesses emerged to the international scene, the connection of FM with real estate, HR, IT and other related functions has become stronger. This directly affects the responsibilities and roles a facilities manager has to perform.

There’s no doubt that the first priority of any facilities manager would be to ensure the safety of all the people working in the facility. What else does he do? This post talks about the roles of a facilities manager and general activities to accomplish his objectives. So, let’s get started.

Facilities manager operates at two levels:

Strategic-tactical Level

In this case, it is the responsibility of a facilities manager to inform clients, customers and other end-users about the potential impact of management’s decisions on service, cost, provision of space and business risks. 

If top-management decides to restrict access to certain areas of the premises, or it prohibits the use of alcohol or cigars within the premises, it is the responsibility of facilities manager to inform and alert all employees of such decisions.

Operational Level

At operational level, facilities manager has to perform a significant role in maintaining the premises according to federal, provincial, or state rules and regulations. All aspect of the building must operate properly and create safe, cost effective and optimal environment for all occupants of the building.

What activities are important to perform at operational level?

Here are top 5 activities managed by facilities managers

1.    Occupational Safety
Facilities managers has to manage and control numerous tasks to ensure occupant safety. He needs to ensure that the facility does not cause any injury and no one leaves because of it. Otherwise the building owner might face prosecution and claims. Unsafe premises always shake the confidence of investors.

2.    Fire Protection
One of the common threats faced by buildings is fire. It carries the highest risk for businesses and the lives of other people. The facilities management department has to ensure everything works in order. They conduct periodic inspections, maintenance and testing of fire safety systems installed in the building. 

3.    Physical Security
In property management, physical security is of utmost importance. Organizations are responsible for the health and safety of every employee, and facilities managers ensure maximum security from external and internal elements. 

4.    Repair and Maintenance
Facilities managers has to run repair and maintenance of fixtures and fittings, along with the periodic maintenance of systems, furniture and other equipment used by building occupants. He is also responsible to maximize the life and use of the equipment already installed in the premises.

5.    Commercial Cleaning
Employees need to stay healthy and fit to give their hundred percent on work. This is why, the building needs to be properly cleaned. Complete cleaning of the premises is necessary not only for the people working inside it, but also for the better functioning of the equipments. In general, cleaning takes place out of working hours, but a facilities manager may decide to implement it during working hours.

Depending upon the nature of work, equipment installed and the purpose of business, a facilities manager can schedule periodic cleaning tasks on daily, weekly or monthly basis. 

To find out more about Property Management company in Singapore or Facilities Management, contact Abacus Property Management today!

 

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

For any organization, a healthy internal environment is vital, and to achieve this, organizations need to invest in maintaining good air quality across every department. As a business owner, you’d agree to the fact that indoor environment leads to better productivity, and requires consistent efforts to maintain and sustain it. 


Another reality is, you cannot do it on your own due to variety of business management activities. It is better to let the facilities management professionals handle this task. Otherwise, due to improper management of the premises, you have to deal with several different issues in future, such as:


•    Complaints regarding sick building syndrome
•    Tenant health complaints (nausea, allergic reactions, chronic fatigue, respiratory problems)
•    Lost worker productivity, and many more

Elements of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

There are three basic elements responsible for good air quality. Each has been described below:


1. Acceptable Indoor Temperature and Relative Humidity
A facilities manager (see responsibilities) knows that IAQ is largely affected by temperature and humidity. You will always get complaints pertaining with thermal comfort, and it directly affects air quality. Indoor temperature and relative humidity affect the internal contaminant levels of the company. If the relative humidity is above 60%, there are chances of bacterial and fungal growth.  


2. Controlled Airborne Contaminants
Organizations do face serious indoor air pollution issues and common contaminants include, smoke, dust, Carbon dioxide and odors. Then there are biological contaminants, such as bacteria and mold. The indoor air of your company may contain some or all of the following:
•    Tobacco smoke
•    Offensive smell from people, equipment and solvents
•    Gaseous emission from furniture, fabric and adhesives


If there’s a construction going just outside your office, or your own office is being refurnished, make sure every member of your office staff wears breathing mask. The reason is, materials used for construction and furnishing release gases that may produce dangerous pollutants. 


3. Adequate Air Ventilation
Distribution of air is very important for controlling the indoor air quality. Ventilation helps dilute polluted air indoors with the fresh air from the outdoors. Most property management professionals agree that you can reduce major IAQ issues with adequate air ventilation. If HVAC systems installed in your office building are improperly balanced, no matter how good the ventilation is, there will be stagnant areas in the building. To tackle this issue, you need proper air filtration.

Tips To Improve IAQ
Here are some tips offered by facilities management companies:
1. Internal temperature and humidity should be well maintained, so that you can maintain thermal comfort and prevent bacteria and fungi growth
2. Keep all the systems clean and dry. In this way, you can reduce extra humidity and get away with biological contaminants. 
3. Keep all the ducts and slope drain pans clean to avoid pollutants
4. HVAC systems should be properly balanced so that there shouldn’t be any stagnant areas inside the building. 
5. Use sprays and air fresheners during low traffic hours to keep the indoor space clean and fresh.
You can always consult a professional and experienced property management company in Singapore to maintain IAQ of your premises and office building.

 

Responsibilities of Facilities Manager

By definition, facility managers are tasked with activities to manage all services and processes in order to support core business operations. In short, they are responsible for making working environment stress-free and smooth for all employees.

Duties of facilities managers may vary depending upon the nature of a business, but their main focus is to build and improve efficiency and reduce operating cost through best business practices. 

So, you can imagine how vast this field is. The range of responsibilities is diversified based entirely on the business infrastructure and its size. Due to their relation with core business objective, facilities managers have to play their part in long-term and short-term planning related to building and premises.  They have some or all of the following areas of responsibilities:

  • Property management
  • Building maintenance
  • Procurement
  • Health and safety
  • Cleaning
  • Catering and vending
  • Space management
  • Security
  • Utilities, accessories and equipment management

The scope of facilities management is quite wide, expanded across all businesses. Facility managers have been hired in all business sectors and industries. Variety of job descriptions can be seen in their job titles, such as:

  • Operation managers
  • Estate manager
  • Asset or Property manager
  • Manager technical services  

Tasks
Besides central service that links all teams across the company, responsibilities of facilities manager cover several other departments as well. For small-to-medium organizations, duties of facility managers may include hands-on and practical tasks.  This is why, in many industries facilities management professionals have been hired directly by the companies, and they have one or more sites to take care. 

Some companies see the importance of facility management and they will hire facility managers to provide services while some companies engage third-party contractors. Some companies, instead of hiring, outsource their facility management department, handing over all tasks to specialists. In such situations, facilities managers may offer some or all of the following tasks:

  1. Preparation of documents, such as tenders for contractors
  2. Work supervision and coordination with contractors
  3. Project management
  4. Investigation regarding facilities for new premises, their availability, and suitability
  5. Calculation and comparison of cost of good and/or services to extract maximum value for money
  6. Implementation and management of change and keeping disruptions as minimum as possible.
  7. Future planning for business in accordance with business objectives.
  8. Directing, planning and coordinating important central services, including security, maintenance, reception, mailing, cleaning, catering, archiving, recycling and waste disposal.
  9. Assurance of health and safety throughout the premises and production units and compliance with federal and provincial rules.
  10. Staff protection
  11. Resource and space planning for new buildings and ensuring best allocation and utilization
  12. Re-organization of existing premises 
  13. Checking and ensuring contractors and staff have accomplished the desired work according to the requirements. Following up with them to correct deficiencies.
  14.  Leading and coordinating different sets of individuals (employees of contractors) to encompass different areas of responsibility.
  15. Effective use of performance management tools and techniques to achieve agreed service level, and improve upon it in future.
  16. Tackling emergency situations and urgent issues efficiently and effectively and preparing for consequences.

7 Major Reasons Why Organizations Need Facility Managers

 

Have considered hiring a facilities management professional to optimize the value of your company? If you haven't thought about it, it may be time to consider. This might be the best way you can control unnecessary expenses on equipment and accessories. In fact, you may enjoy substantial savings if you let the professionals handle your company's premises.

The reason why professional facility management services are demanded is due to stiff competition which is getting tougher with the passage of time. It's obvious, you have to think differently when your competitors have similar selling and marketing strategies like you have. 

In any organization, facilities represent the major part of assets and expenses, but they don't get the same level of attention as other things do. If you hire someone who understands the significance, cost, and profitable opportunities of your facilities, you can get the best value for your investment.

Here are 7 major reasons why you should hire a professional with property management expertise or a property management company:

1.    As mentioned before, your business relies heavily on your assets and facilities occupy most of it. You need to spend a handsome amount on your facilities, just to keep your business running. A facility manager has the skills and expertise to reduce expenses incurred on maintenance and installations. Moreover, he knows how to maximize the value of equipment and fixtures. 

2.    The environment of your organization makes an impact on your overall productivity. Your employees, operations, management, and system are affected by it. Here, the job of a facility manager is to ensure work-oriented environment. Happy employees, efficient systems and smooth flow of operation will definitely improve the overall productivity of your organization.

3.    Above points indicate that you need a strategy; the main plan as well as alternative plans, to manage your property. A professional facility manager will give the best advice for facility accommodation. He’ll develop the leasing guidance keeping in view your business objectives and provide strategic direction to meet those objectives. 

4.    Sustainability has been the real point of concern for modern-day businesses. Other than your clients and the industry, the internal organizational environment is also affected by this particular factor. In order to sustain as a successful business, you need stewardship and that can only be possible if you let the professional manage your facility. 

5.    A leasing facility has some legislative and environmental restrictions, complicated enough to put you in trouble, if not understood clearly. You can only avoid this risk if you hire experienced facilities management service.

6.    Maintaining a facility isn’t a one-person job. There are plenty of individuals with different sets of skills to run it smoothly. Therefore, the job of the facility manager becomes quite complex, because he has to utilize different resources in combination. He hires individuals or services on a contract, utilizes company-owned resources and ensures maximum value of your facility.

7.    Businesses focused on meeting their objectives tend to reduce the extra burden of managing support staff (tea boys, transport staff, maintenance staff, cleaning staff, IT and more). A professional facility management service takes off this burden and helps businesses concentrate on core operations. At the same time, the facility manager has a responsibility to provide necessary support required by the organisation. 

5 Major Skills Facility Managers Should Possess

Moving into the 21st century, the world has changed a fair bit. The new era of modern technology has given skilled workforce with many platforms and professions to show their talent and make this world a better place. Many small businesses have transformed into global entities with advanced management skills.

To help these businesses maximise their efficiency and productivity, a new field of facility management has emerged and it's importance is slowly increasing. Today, it's been gradually considered compulsory for every business and offers a great opportunity for talented individuals to become successful managers.

However, the field is no short of challenges as you have to deal with different clients with different demands. So, as a facility manager, you need to have some skills to become successful. 

Here are 5 most essential skills a facility manager should have:

Good Interpersonal Skills
It is one of the basic requirements, as you have to be constantly on your toes to deal with your clients and employees. You have to have the ability to connect with people, inspire them, and achieve your business objective. There's no need to make too much of effort, this skill can be acquired with some hard work. Here are few things to remember, though:

•    Show respect to everyone
•    Don't be judgmental
•    Pay attention to the way you communicate and the means you use
•    Inspire others 

Cross-Networking
An organization is divided into different divisions and each division has its own responsibilities. At times, these departments overlap and may create confusion. Facility Management is one field in which such overlaps are quite common. So, you need to design a smart network tying administration, HR and IT departments with every other department. If your internal network is strong and smooth, there will much be lesser miscommunication internally.

Sustainability
In the corporate world, sustainability has become a new trend. There's also the trend in facility or property management sector. A good sustainable workspace, a building may be, is resourceful for anyone. As a facility manager, it will be your responsibility to maintain and preserve the place. An efficient workforce combined with smart scheduling and management will help you achieve this goal.

Reliance on Technology
IT is a field of software engineers, network administrators, and programmers, and it has become vital for today's business world. Facilities management relies heavily on IT. As a facility manager, you should have an eye over modern tools and equipment. Tools like asset management, monitoring, maintenance, reservation systems have become quite common these days. You need to understand how modern technology can enhance the entire organization. 

Project Management
Project management skills is considered a pre-requisite required of every facility manager. There may be a project manager and you have to work alongside him. Your role, however, will be the key to the entire setup. Here are some important responsibilities that you have to perform as a project manager:

•    Set goals and directions
•    Motivate your subordinates
•    Consistently monitor performance
•    Measure results in real time and removal of errors and problem solving

Importance of Facility Management For Your Business

Have you been experiencing issues like poor facilities management, ineffective system, inefficient infrastructure, under performance and substandard productivity? If these are your issues, you should consider looking for an experienced facilities management service provider to help with the optimization of your company’s performance. If you’re a business owner, this post will help you understand identify how facility management can help you achieve your business goals.

What Facility Management Is:

Facility Management (FM) is described as
A profession that covers several different disciplines to make sure that the workplace environment remains functional. It does so by integrating the following:
•    Human resource, 
•    Process, 
•    Technology and
•    Place

The following diagram shows some important services provided by facility managers.

diagram-of-facilities-management-compressor.png

Moving into the 21st century, we’ve seen significant changes and improvements in many industries. The advent of technology has impacted many businesses and industries, and changed the way they operate. 

The focus of businesses has broadened and included many aspects other than revenues and profits. Now, it’s more about balancing customers’ needs and the business needs, and achieving the best value of money through effective management of people and place. 

The term has become quite crucial for workplaces as businesses are now investing more on maintaining their facilities and ensuring smooth and consistent performance. The span and scope of property management services is wider as they deal with commercial scale properties that requite highly technical and skilled staff to manage complex operations. For 24/7 workplaces, facility management is even more vital. Some common services are mentioned as follows:

Soft services
Some of these services are common in home and offices. Soft services require limited or no expertise as they are more, sort of routine activities. These are:
•    House keeping
•    Pest control
•    Garden & lawn
•    Waste management
•    Mail room service
•    Vendor management
•    Staffing solutions
•    Security services
•    Hospitality services, etc.

Hard services
While these property management services are quite important in maintaining large infrastructures, some of these services are also important for homes and small businesses. They require certain level of knowledge and technical expertise. 
•    Electro-mechanical services
•    Engineering services
•    Energy and safety
•    Plumbing services, etc.

FM Competencies
On the basis of the global survey of over 62 countries in 2009, there are 11 major competencies of facility management. These are:
1.    Communication: the means and methods to communicate within and outside the workplace, and their maintenance.
2.    Human factors: the basic factor responsible for maintaining and managing facilities. 
3.    Quality: facility managers directly influence the workplace quality. These outsourced managers ensure smooth operations and availability of resources for the occupants. 
4.    Technology: facilities with up-to-date equipment and personnel have higher value
5.    Project management: businesses outsource certain in-house projects, such as 24/7 customer support. 
6.    Leadership and strategy: facility management services offer professionals to help plan successful business strategies.
7.    Finance and business: small-to-medium businesses are more interested in seeking advice for budget and investment planning.
8.    Operations and maintenance: equipment maintenance and repairs is another basic responsibility of facility management services
9.    Environmental sustainability and stewardship: how to create, maintain and sustain internal organization environment.
10.   Real estate management: managing supplies and other administrative tasks. 
11.    Business continuity and emergency preparedness: how to deal with extreme situations; robbery, terrorism and natural disasters.