Last edited 16 Aug 2016

Facilities management

In 2006, European countries agreed to define facilities management (FM) as the ‘integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities’. Ref EN15221-1: 2006 Facility Management – Part 1: Terms and definitions.

FM is concerned with the management of facilities in the built environment at both a strategic and a day-to day level to deliver operational objectives and to maintain a safe and efficient environment.

Whilst there has always been a need for facilities management, it has emerged, developed and grown as a profession in recent years, partly as a result of the increasing rate of change required in the built environment, but also due the trend for outsourcing services, and the introduction of procurement routes that include operation and maintenance in integrated supply contracts.

Facilities management services can be provided by:

  • In-house facilities management departments.
  • FM contractors, sometimes offering a fixed price and so taking the risk of facilities management from the client.
  • Managing agents.
  • Multi-service companies providing full or partial services.
  • Special purpose vehicles delivering design, build and operate, or design, build, finance and operate contracts such as the private finance initiative (PFI).

However it is provided, it is vital that facilities management is seen as an integral part of the strategic thinking and day-to-day operation of businesses, and not as an add on. Even where facilities management is out-sourced, FM contractors must be embedded in the client organisation with their service provision aligned to the client’s strategic objectives.

Facilities management is an interdisciplinary activity that can include:

The recent emergence of building information modelling (BIM) requires FM input during inception to ensure that the information generated during the design and construction phases is appropriate for operational needs and asset management (that is the development of the project information model into an appropriate asset information model that can be used to assist facilities management).

Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software can be used to help manage property portfolios and ensure that they are operated optimally.

Training and qualification programmes exist for facilities managers, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) was established in 1993 to promote excellence in facilities management and to provide qualifications and training.

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