- Joe Bleasdale
Facilities Management: Goals, Roles and Responsibilities of a FM
This is the second part in our series on Facilities Management. To read the first part, detailing how to take a proactive approach to Facilities Management, can be found here.
Facilities Managers (FMs) operate across business functions. The number one priority of an FM is to keep everyone safe and alive.
Facility managers operate on two levels:
Strategic / Tactical
Helping clients, customers and end-users understand the potential impact of their decisions on the provision of space, services, cost and business risk.
Ensuring a corporate and cost-effective environment for the building occupants to function.
Facilities Managers accomplish this by being responsible for:
EHS (Environment, Health and Safety)
FMs in an organization are required to control and manage many work environment and safety related issues. Failure to do so may lead to unhealthy conditions, leading to illness and injury, which could result in unnecessary downtime and loss of profits, and in more extreme cases, prosecution and insurance claims. The confidence of customers and investors in the business may also be affected by adverse publicity from safety lapses.
The threat of fire is one of the largest risks to a business, due to its potential to kill and damage property. The FM department is responsible for putting in place maintenance, inspection and testing for all fire safety equipment and systems, keeping records and certificates of compliance.
Protection of employees and the business’ assets often comes under the control of the FM department, particularly through the maintenance of security hardware. However, manned guarding may be under the control of a separate department.
Maintenance, Testing and Inspection Schedules
These are required to ensure that the facility is operating safely and efficiently, to maximize the life of equipment and reduce the risk of failure. Statutory obligations must also be met by other departments. The work is planned, often using a computer-aided FM system.
This comprises all preventative, remedial and upgrade works required for the upkeep and improvement of buildings and their components. The most common examples of these works include:
Painting and decorating
Cleaning operations are often undertaken out of business hours, but provision may be made for the cleaning of toilets, replenishment of consumables (toilet rolls, soap etc.), litter picking and reactive response. Cleaning is scheduled as a series of periodic tasks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
The FM department has responsibilities for the day-to-day running of the building. These tasks may be outsourced or carried out by directly employed staff. This is a policy issue, but due to the immediacy of the response required in many of the activities involved, the FM will often require daily reports or an escalation procedure from said staff.
Some issues require more than periodic maintenance, for example, those that can stop or hamper the productivity of the business or that have safety implications. Many of these are managed by the FM “help desk” that staff can contact either by telephone or email. The response to help desk calls are prioritised, and are often as simple as repairs to air conditioning, heating, lights and vending machines, unjamming photocopiers and cleaning up coffee spills (this would come under “reactive response”).
Help desks may be used to book meeting rooms, car parking spaces and other business services, but this often depends on how the facilities department is organised. It may be split into two sections, often referred to as:
“Soft” services – reception, post room and office floor management
“Hard” services – mechanical, fire and electrical systems services
Business Continuity Planning
All organisations should have a continuity plan so that, in the event of a fire or other major failure that would result in heavy loss of productivity, the business can recover quickly. In large organisations, it may be that the staff move to another site that has been set up to model the existing operation. The FM department would be one of the key decision-makers should it be necessary to move the business to a recovery site.
Space Allocation and Changes
In many organisations, office layouts are subject to frequent changes. This process is referred to as “churn”, and the percentage of the staff moved during a year is known as the “churn rate”. These moves are normally planned by the FM department using CAD (Computer-Aided Design). In addition to meeting the needs of the business, compliance with statutory requirements relating to office layouts include:
The minimum amount of space to be provided per staff member
Fire safety arrangements
Welfare arrangements, e.g. toilets and drinking water
Consideration may also be given to the proximity of vending machines, catering or a place where staff can make a drink and take a break from their desk.
PKS' Facilities Managers never underestimate the importance of identifying and analysing problems, assessing risk and assisting your business in establishing a strategic, tactical and operational way forward, be it in the public or private sector, in London and the Home Counties.
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