Facility Management research activities effectively measure a particular market or sector’s maturity.
Any area of study requires three main elements in order to be considered a discipline. The first is that it has some official studies that guarantee a solid basis of knowledge. The second is that it’s researched, which guarantees growth and adaptation in a changing environment. And the third refers to the need to share progress through the publication of trends and news.
Facility Management is not an exception and, as we’re well aware, there’s a university degree course in many countries that covers the first aspect. There are also different research centres where the profession and its development are studied. And finally, different means of publication can be used to keep up to date with progress and the future. In this publication we want to focus on the research part and how important it is for the development and recognition of the work carried out in this sector.
Areas of research
When we talk about research, we think of a laboratory full of test tubes, with staff in white coats testing mice. Not at all what is done in most research centres and even less so in Facility Management centres. The truth is that they look more like offices where people work and interact constantly. Technology is one of the areas which is studied, not in order to develop new systems but to find a way to apply what others have discovered . Lately, there have been attempts in Facilility Management to apply the use of drones, robots, artificial intelligence or blockchain, all of which are currently very popular in our sector. For some time, work has been carried out on the Internet of things or how to apply it to city facilities and intelligent building management. Each centre specialises in different aspects, depending on their work.
At FMHOUSE, every year we define lines of work based on European projects or collaboration work with other universities. We have analysed employee productivity, customer perception, new externalisation models or the use of new types of furniture in workplaces. We also have permanent areas of study, such as market maturity, global trends or European and international standards.
The role of standardisation
The development of Facility Management standards can be considered a form of research. The overarching goal is to continue regulating markets with the agreement of experts and the approval of participating countries. The topics and areas of study proposed are voted on. Dissemination is another contribution, since the standards are translated and published in languages other than the three official ones, which are English, French and Russian. It’s good to know that all the time and effort we devote to standards helps people understand what Facility Management is outside our comfort zone.