The Facility Management discipline has become one of the fastest growing sectors over the past decade. Today, many organizations recognize the importance of FM to efficiently manage its properties portfolio and its associated services. FM activities are relevant to various levels and dimensions of the organization by joining primary business activities at several levels: strategic, tactical and operational. But what is the real extent of FM in an organization?
Facility Management is a multidisciplinary discipline that encompasses a wide range of activities and processes; managing a variety of support services in order to support and align all functions of the organization. We therefore identify the main processes, activities and functions which FM includes:
Real Estate Management: includes the management of the properties portfolio, which are either part of the property assets of the organization and which are on a lease contract. It is composed by, among others, issues such as the rent management, taxes, property management, registration and control of state property management and insurance policies, etc. It also includes operational functions such as management of basic building documentation and compliance with legislation, building permits, mandatory technical inspections, and other more strategic and market analysis or technical advice on acquisitions and sales, for example.
Space Management and Projects: includes management of spaces and work environments in order to provide a suitable and optimized use of interior space. It includes features such as space planning, allocation of workstations, furniture management, programming distribution changes and office moves, etc. Another function to perform in this process is the management and supervision of projects to be undertaken in the building (large-scale renovations, migration, fit-outs, etc.) as well as coordinating the management process necessary change in each of they.
Service Management: includes service/s management, dependent or not on the building, which serve to support the organization´s core business. This “management” includes the definition of services and their requirements (technical requisites), contracting services through tenders or any other chosen processes, contract negotiation and supplier approval, compliance monitoring against supplier’s contractual obligations, etc.
The service catalog to manage varies depending on the organization and may include services more related to the building (usually called hard services), focused on maintaining the building operational: maintenance of HVAC, electrical, gas, water supply, fire systems, supply management (water, gas, electricity, …), etc. But also auxiliary services (also called soft services) concerning not only the building but also mainly the users such as security, cleaning, catering, gardening, reception, amongst others. For all of them, Facility Management will implement incident management and the various requests from users (booking rooms, equipment and audiovisual, IT, fleet of vehicles).
The European standard 15221/4 lists the various services that are under the competence of the FM and classifies them into two large families: “space and infrastructure” (on the building) and “people and organization” (relative to the user and all auxiliary activities). It identifies as FM services (called standard products) more than 80 services.
Environmental Management: includes management of the organizational environment taking into account the specific procedures and company rules. It includes activities such as developing an environmental policy and other sustainable aspects such as energy or waste management. also they include those related to health and safety compliance as well as those regarding fire protection and evacuation plans.
Strategic Management and Support: includes strategic and supportive aspects done for the whole activity such as financial management and budgeting and monitoring, business continuity planning, information management and reporting, etc. In these transverse processes, we must not forget that continuous improvement is one of the keys of Facility Management, it is therefore necessary where innovation management and technology helps us make increasingly efficient our facilities. On the other hand, it will be essential to have accurate and readily available for decision making all updated information, specific software tools to help us manage all the information needed in FM.
In conclusion, all organizations require the work of a Facility Manager, or various, to develop its activity. It may happen that in some organizations, because of their business model, not all FM functions described herein are needed, or that the functions are distributed separately in different departments and they may not know that they really are “FM functions” but in the end these functions are needed to support the organizations normal activity so it´s best to recognize them as FM activities to get the best of them.
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