FAQ: What Is Facility Management? (Plus Duties and Jobs)

This article provides a practical explanation of facility management. After reading, you’ll understand the basics of this powerful management tool.

‘Facility’ is something that is tangible and that is built or installed to serve a certain purpose. A facility supports an organisation, such as buildings, IT-infrastructure and services, lighting, furniture, and grounds maintenance.

Facility Management (FM) focuses on how these facilities are being managed. It can be defined as a management discipline that ensures effective and efficient support services for different organisations. It is a function within an organisation that integrates people, process, place and technology within the existing environment and focuses on improving the productivity of the organisation and the quality of people’s life.

Facility managers are the ones who are responsible for maintaining the assets and systems of an organisation and making sure that they all function in a harmonious way.

WHAT IS FACILITIES MANAGEMENT? The only definition of facilities management you’ll ever need

Why is facilities management important?

Here are some reasons that facilities management is a key part of an organizations success:

What is facilities management?

Facility management, also called facilities management or FM, is a key function of an organization that ensures a business operating locations are safe and comfortable for the employees and customers who use them. These professionals might work in a variety of settings, including commercial locations, universities, residential complexes, hospitals and other locations. Depending on its size, an organization might have a single facility manager or a team of employees who manage different aspects of their locations. For example, a large company might have a facility manager who oversees coordinators, inventory assistants or maintenance workers.

Facility management has two distinct areas, which are hard facility management and soft facility management. Hard facility management refers to the physical buildings and critical systems like lighting, electrical and fire safety. Performing hard facility management often means following laws and regulations for building requirements, HVAC services and fire prevention procedures. Soft facility management focuses on elements that make a location more comfortable or visually appealing, like landscaping services and interior decorating. An organization might decide which areas of soft facility management are vital for a business offices and retail locations depending on the facilities purposes.

What are some common responsibilities in facilities management?

Here are some common responsibilities in facilities management:

System maintenance

Facilities management teams monitor an office or other facilitys key systems, including the electrical, HVAC, fire safety and plumbing systems. They may also respond to maintenance requests from colleagues or customers who might notice an issue with one of these systems before the facilities management team does. In some organizations, facilities management teams include electricians, plumbers or other maintenance professionals who can fix a broken pipe or air conditioning unit. In others, the facilities manager might contact an external firm for repairs, using the organizations facilities budget to pay for the bill.

Fire and building inspections

As local and state authorities perform regular inspections on an organizations buildings, the facilities management team might assist the inspectors or meet with them after the procedure to discuss the results. They might also perform monthly tests on a facilitys fire alarm and carbon monoxide detection systems to ensure legal compliance. An organizations facilities manager might also research local and state regulations that apply to different types of facilities to schedule and prepare for inspections. For example, a building with an elevator might require an additional yearly inspection to ensure that it functions within legal regulations.

Landscaping

Facilities with exterior space might require landscaping services to ensure theyre safe and visually appealing. These tasks might include mowing, planting, weeding, and pruning foliage. Depending on the size of the facilitys outdoor space and the types of landscaping tasks it requires, an organizations facility management team might perform the tasks themselves or hire independent contractors to take care of the space. Often, a facility manager decides what kind of landscaping to perform on a facilitys exterior depending on its purpose. For example, a retail office space might have more elaborate gardening and landscaping needs than a manufacturing plant.

Custodial and pest control services

Usually, facilities management teams ensure that an organizations facilities are clean and free of pests. In some organizations, like schools or hospitals, a facilities manager might direct an internal custodial team. Other organizations might hire external firms to provide custodial services outside of regular business hours. In those cases, a facilities manager or other professional might research custodial firms, choose one and monitor the quality of service. Facilities management teams typically contract with pest control companies, who provide varying services depending on the facilitys needs.

Monitoring office supplies

Depending on the structure of the organization, facilities managers might work with office managers, receptionists or coordinators to ensure that employees who work in a certain facility have the supplies to be successful in their work. They might place bulk orders for paper towels, pens, markers and other key office supplies using their facilitys budget. If an organization has multiple locations, the facilities management team might travel to the different offices to deliver supplies. Facilities management teams might also purchase snacks for office workers to share or handle catering for company events at the facility.

Security

While some organizations have internal security teams, many rely on their facilities management professionals to keep their offices and retail spaces secure during and after business hours. Facilities management teams can determine a buildings security needs, which might depend on its location, the number of entrances and the value of merchandise or equipment within the facility. Understanding the facilitys needs can help them choose security options like locks, motion detectors and alarms. They might also contract with an independent security firm that can monitor facilities electronically and contact the facilities manager in case of a security breach.

Waste management

Another area of facilities management involves how and where a business disposes of its waste materials. Depending on the waste disposal regulations in their area, facilities managers might purchase dumpsters, request recycling services or establish rules for office workers regarding what they can put in communal trashcans. In industries like health care and scientific research, facilities managers might have advanced certifications that allow them to develop waste disposal procedures for hazardous materials. Facilities management teams might also lead projects to reduce waste or implement sustainable practices by switching to recycled materials for office supplies and encouraging employee recycling.

Facility improvements and expansion

When an organizations leaders decide to improve their offices, manufacturing plants or retail spaces, they often ask the facilities team to advise them on structural improvements that might increase the facilities value. A facilities manager might research new roofing or insulation options, which can make a facility more energy-efficient and save the organization money in operating costs. Implementing sustainable energy sources, like solar panels, can also boost a facilitys earning potential. If a company plans to expand to new markets, the facilities manager might inspect potential locations and provide the board of directors with a list of recommendations.

What kinds of jobs are there in facilities management?

Here are some jobs you might pursue in facilities management:

How can you get a career in facilities management?

Heres how you can build a career in facilities management:

1. Consider a degree

If you plan to become a facilities manager, specialist or director, earning a degree in a field related to facilities management can help you develop the skills and knowledge for that role. There are also many two-year and four-year degrees that can give you specific skills in maintenance work, which can help you become a maintenance or custodial manager. Here are some degrees you might pursue:

2. Gain professional experience

After earning an associate or bachelors degree, you might begin working in an entry-level or associate position in facility management. You might become an assistant facilities manager, maintenance coordinator or inventory assistant. These positions can help you explore the different parts of facilities management and give you the opportunity to learn from experienced workers in the field. While youre gaining professional work experience, you can also decide on your career goals, which can help you determine any further education or certifications to pursue.

3. Learn about facilities management core competencies

There are 11 core competencies of facilities management, which cover the key functions that a professional in this field might perform. While not all facilities management employees have all 11 competencies, managers, directors and other leaders typically have experience in most of these areas. For example, a maintenance coordinator might not engage in risk management, but this might be a key part of a facilities managers responsibilities. Developing knowledge in these areas can show potential employers that youre a good fit for a more senior position. Here are the 11 core competencies:

4. Earn a certification

Certifications can be useful as you apply to more senior positions in facilities management, as they can give you an advantage in the hiring process. You can take these exams on your own or take part in a review course with IFMA or an external vendor. These courses can help you develop knowledge and skills in maintenance, operations, procurement and other aspects of facilities management.

5. Consider joining a professional organization

Membership in a professional organization can help you find jobs in your field and give you the opportunity to meet other facilities management professionals. These organizations often provide professional development or mentoring opportunities, which can help you decide on which certification to earn or what area of specialty to pursue. You might join IFMA or a professional organization with a specific focus, like the Association of Energy Engineers or the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

FAQ

What is Facility Management in simple words?

How much does a Facilities Manager make at NASA in the United States? Average NASA Facilities Manager yearly pay in the United States is approximately $64,752, which meets the national average.

What is the role of facility management?

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Facilities Management…
  • Pro: Increased Efficiency. Leveraging an FM solutions provider can help you boost productivity and increase overall program efficiencies. …
  • Pro: Cost Savings. …
  • Pro: Risk Reduction. …
  • Con: Lack of Direct Control. …
  • Con: Employee Dissatisfaction.

What are the 3 main tasks of facilities management?

Here are some common goals a facilities manager may have:
  • Centralize maintenance management. …
  • Automate work order requests. …
  • Meet compliance standards. …
  • Increase productivity. …
  • Create inventory log. …
  • Establish preventative maintenance. …
  • Lower maintenance costs. …
  • Improve energy use.

What are the facility management services?

The definition and scope of facilities management can be boiled down to organising the people, places and processes within a building environment, with the overriding goal to create the most welcoming environment for employees and boost the productivity and efficiency of the business as a whole.

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