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What is Facility Management?

Facility Management is the process that helps ensure the functionality, safety and efficiency of buildings and infrastructures. Discover its potential!

Facility Management is currently one of the fastest growing professional and operational disciplines worldwide. Its success is linked to the ability to make the buildings in which we live and work, including the surrounding infrastructure, much more efficient, functional, safe and comfortable.

However, managing maintenance tasks can be a very difficult activity that requires the support of specific software. So, if you need to tackle facility management activities, my advice is to start immediately trying out a facility management software that helps you manage the facilities correctly.

Proper structure management, in fact, helps to improve the quality of life of the occupants, to reduce safety risks and to obtain higher operational and economic performance.

In this article, we will explore the meaning of Facility Management, the main functions, potentials and advantages of this process.

What is Facility Management

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines Facility Management as an “organizational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business”.

Although the main objective of Facility Management is to support the management of a structure (including housing), the definition highlights the importance of this process as a business discipline, which has the purpose of coordinating the physical workspace with the human resources and activities that are carried out within a company.

Simply put, Facility Management is an integrated approach to the management of buildings, systems and resources belonging to a given organization, to ensure that the physical environment is able to meet the needs of users and support the core functions of the company itself.

Facility Management can also be integrated with Building Information Modeling in order to optimize asset maintenance processes and ensure a more efficient management of the life cycle of a work, in this case we are talking about BIM Facility Management.

What are the main functions of Facility Management

Whatever the area of application, Facility Management’s core functions include:

  • assets maintenance: as the name suggests, Facility Management consists essentially in the maintenance of the building, in particular with regard to equipment, systems (electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, etc.), green, cleaning and surveillance. Proper and frequent maintenance of the structures minimizes the occurrence of faults and ensures that the building and all its components remain in optimal condition and maintain their functionality over time. Maintenance management usually requires the use of CAFM (Computer Aided Facility Management) or CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) systems or software that helps the Facility Managers of a company to collect and store information, keep an up-to-date and accurate inventory of the various assets, optimize maintenance costs, comply with safety regulations, keep track of activities and ensure the efficiency of the various operations;
  • the organization of processes: one of the main purposes of facility management is the organization and structuring of business processes to ensure the improvement of efficiency and boost productivity. This function is very extensive and implies the use of several applications that can concern, for example, budget planning and control, work order monitoring, contract and supply management, standardization of company workflows, development of emergency plans and procedures, etc.;
  • the optimization of the work environment: one of the most important functions of Facility Management is to create work environments that are safe, comfortable and welcoming for all users. This objective is pursued through the adequate planning of spaces, the organization of workstations, the monitoring of environmental parameters, the management of workloads, etc. Facility Management also helps organizations to comply with the various regulations in matter of health and safety at work and general standards;
  • integration with technology: every area of Facility Management can benefit from integration with recent technological innovations. A significant example is the growing involvement of the Internet of Things (IoT) in facility management processes. With this technology, everyday objects and devices can send and receive data and interact across a global network.

Additional solutions that Facility Managers rely on include advanced maintenance technologies (such as predictive maintenance), platforms dedicated to the administration and optimization of work environment facilities (such as the IWMS, Integrated Workplace Management System) and building automation and control systems.

Facility-Management Functions

Facility-Management Functions

What is the role of a Facility Manager?

Whatever the structure to be managed (an office, a hospital, a factory, a shopping centre, a stadium, a museum, an airport, etc.), the Facility Manager is the person who has a very specific task: to ensure that the buildings and all their components work properly, that the various systems meet the intended purposes and that the staff are productive, safe and comfortable.

In addition to being responsible for the maintenance of resources, the Facility Manager also ensures the proper functioning of company operations and ensures effective coordination between the physical workspaces and the people who work within them on a daily basis.

The responsibilities of a Facility Manager may include, for example:

  • supervision of contracts for the provision of services (such as security, parking, cleaning, catering, technology, etc.);
  • management of the budget to be allocated to maintenance;
  • compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations and standards;
  • supervision of restructuring projects;
  • planning of spaces for the allocation of resources;
  • advice to businesses to increase energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness;
  • plant systems management;
  • coordination of the multidisciplinary teams responsible for cleaning, maintenance, safety, etc.

To better understand the activities carried out by a Facility Manager, it is important to know the different types of services related to facility management. Let’s find out what they are.

What are the two levels of facility management

Facility Management services are generally split into two main categories:

  1. Hard Facilities Management Services;
  2. Soft Facilities Management Services.

The former focus on the management of the physical components of the structures. As a result, most of them belong to the maintenance sector. Hard Services include, for example, all activities aimed at managing:

  • plumbing and drainage systems;
  • lighting and HVAC systems;
  • fire safety systems;
  • mechanical and electrical systems;
  • construction components of the building.

Soft Services, on the other hand, are related to maintaining a comfortable and safe workplace, so they focus on meeting the users’ needs. Common examples include:

  • cleaning and custody services;
  • waste disposal;
  • spatial planning;
  • landscape maintenance;
  • adoption of security measures;
  • refuelling of furniture and equipment;
  • maintenance of comfort standards;
  • management of information systems.
Hard & Soft Facility Management Services

Hard & Soft Facility Management Services

What are the advantages of Facility Management?

Facility Management is a process of paramount importance because it ensures that the built environment remains safe, comfortable, sustainable and efficient over time. In addition to making the environment operationally healthy, this process helps companies from different sectors to:

  • improve efficiency and productivity: facility management seeks optimal solutions to improve existing systems and make everything work as smoothly as possible. It helps employees to complete their daily tasks more easily;
  • ensure compliance with health and safety measures: with regular and scheduled maintenance, Facility Management ensures that the work environment is fully compliant with current regulations;
  • ensure a longer life of equipment: proper maintenance helps the equipment not only to operate with maximum efficiency, but also to last longer;
  • reduce employee stress: through the monitoring of environmental parameters and the proper management of equipment, Facility Management ensures that all occupants of the building are safe and in a state of well-being, improving their work performance and reducing stress;
  • promoting sustainability: beyond environmental comfort, Facility Management has a social responsibility to promote greener and more sustainable practices, for example by reducing waste and optimising energy efficiency;
  • cost savings: facility management can have a positive impact on company revenues by facilitating the creation of a productive work environment,

Facility Managers can fully enjoy these benefits only through the use of specific asset maintenance software that allows them to plan, track and monitor interventions, and simplify the entire management process. If you want to experience the benefits of such a system, rely on a professional facility management software that can support you in your work as a Facility Manager and help you manage any facility maintenance process.