2 August 2021
By Chris Jakovljevic
What is Facilities Management?
More regularly that is ideal, the upkeep and operation of a building are underestimated, with users scarcely noticing that the structure is managed, that is until something goes wrong. In an ideal world, maintenance and building management undertakings are at their best when nobody is aware that either is being done. This doesn’t imply that the works undertaken are not significant or a challenge. On the contrary, any commercial or residential property, regardless of size, has a number of areas that benefit from effective facility management, all undertaken with the intent of minimising ongoing issues..
All things considered, facility management is an essential aspect of any commercial and residential building. When safety, security, and regular maintenance of a building and equipment are done regularly, safety for all increases, while repair costs and injuries can be minimised.
Why is Facilities Management Important?
IBM defines Facilities management (FM) as “the tools and services that support the functionality, safety, and sustainability of buildings, grounds, infrastructure, and real estate”. It has become and industry in its own right as organisations have recognised that well managed and maintained buildings help businesses to operate more effectively, improves processes and ultimately save money in the long run. FM teams are made up of dedicated professionals involved in the day-to-day management, maintenance and repair of an organisation’s site. In addition, they arrange strategic activities that assist the client’s business in cutting down overhead costs, increasing productivity, and improving processes.
But Facilities Management does not have to be undertaken by a dedicated firm, the functions of an FM company can and often are, assumed by other professionals such as Building Managers, Strata Managers, Strata Committees and other similar roles. What each of these roles is willing to undertake may differ, and similarly, the needs of different buildings will differ, but generally speaking facilities management will include:
Ensuring that the premises and tenants are safe
Commercial and residential spaces are guided by a significant number of codes and regulations that must be followed – for example, fire safety maintenance or lift maintenance. Generally speaking, a decent facility management program ensures that a building is maintained at a level that keeps occupants and workers protected and happy.
Maintaining top efficiency in property systems
The importance of facilities management services stretches beyond ensuring the day-to-day; it needs to be a necessity, a plan for the future and ensure that there are systems and checks in place for ongoing, future-based maintenance and upkeep.
Minimising the cost of running a space
When done correctly, Facilities management plans for and thus makes budgetary allowances for maintenance. Whether being undertaken by a team, a committee or one person, the process of planning for something means that costs are planned for, and as importantly, maintenance is undertaken to ensure there are no costs with replacement or repair.
As a result, overlap and redundancy of services can be eliminated, and your bottom line will mirror this new efficiency.
Identifying and shortlisting a number of relevant contractors, suppliers and maintenance companies
It is very unlikely you will find a partner who can fulfill all your maintenance requirements, but developing a shortlist of companies who can meet different requirements and who can step into the breach when needed, or who will undertake maintenance and regular service checks is vital. Finding these partners is an essential part of developing your overarching plan.
Working with residents to keep them appraised
The building – in this instance – may be your primary focus, but the truth is, if you do not consider the residents (be they residential tenants, or commercial occupants) and what may or may not affect them, you are not doing half the job.
Communicating with, keeping them up to date and involving them as required keeps them happy, can reduce risk and goes a long way towards getting things approved faster.
Scheduled Maintenance Program
Any maintenance, repair and upkeep work performed inside a set timeframe is classified as scheduled maintenance. It may occur at repetitive intervals or as the result of a work request or failure of some part of a building or equipment. Ideally this program will detail when given maintenance tasks are to be completed and by whom.
Scheduled maintenance frequently occurs at repeating intervals, such as conducting a performance inspection at the onset of each year or changing an air filter every prescribed period. Commercial facility maintenance may also be scheduled to satisfy a work order. When an issue is found, a maintenance scheduler works with a maintenance planner to resolve the problem. A period is then scheduled to conduct necessary repairs.
Benefits of scheduled maintenance
Aside from limiting downtime, scheduled maintenance supports a variety of other different needs.
- Life expectancy of assets is increased as breakdowns are prevented
- Lower ongoing management costs as maintenance costs are generally much less than the costs of repair or failure
- Breeds a culture of proactive efficiency as the staff carry out needed tasks
- Minimised liability since the assets are kept in safe working condition
Scheduled maintenance tasks, for example, routine inspections, help identify and detect minor problems before they develop into system failures. By following a regular, all-around planned maintenance schedule, maintenance technicians can detect issues early. This forestalls protracted unscheduled downtimes and permits repair work to be conducted at optimal times.
Take for example an issue we see all too often. Rooftop surfaces are not inspected regularly. On flat roofs – common in the most apartment and commercial buildings – drains can become blocked, birds can pick at junction points and seals destroying the integrity and as a result, heavy rains can cause preventable damage. The thing is, as the water penetrates where it should not, other issues arise such as water reacting with reinforcing steel, thus causing concrete spalling commonly called concrete cancer. This then creates a myriad of other issues – most of which may have been prevented if routine checks had been carried out and issues corrected as and when they were necessary.
Our key takeaway for you is this: Make the time – or allocate someone else to – to undertake routine checks and plan for regular maintenance. This allows you to identify issues sooner and in doing so, mitigate ongoing costs, problems, and inconveniences that would otherwise affect the building and the occupants of it.CONTACT US
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