Twelve Questions about Facilities Management

1. What is Facilities Management? It is the management of all of those non-core activities that every organisation needs in order to function efficiently and effectively in their day to day operations

2. When did Facilities Management start? It emerged as a recognised discipline in the early 1980’s in recognition of the value (cost and efficiency) offered through the coordinated management of all support activities and the importance that they have in support of the core organisational activities.

3. Is there a certificate to be a Facilities Manager? Yes, there are several vocational and higher educational qualifications that can be gained from professional associations such as British Institute of Facilities Management and the International Facilities Management Association as well as Universities across the world. The AURD has put in its agenda for establishing the Real Estate Academy a section focussed upon Facilities Management as part of the AURD role to raise the awareness and develop our local resources to meet the international standards.

4. What does it Cost? Less than you think! Within Key Facilities Management at least, it always saves our clients money and improves standards partially through our strategy to train and develop indigenous resources as opposed to bringing in ex-pats. In reality all such support activities are being managed anyway:  either efficiently and effectively – or not;  focussed upon the client organisation – or not  supporting all the relevant stakeholder groups – or not

5. What is the Benefit? Facilities Management’s core business is the client’s non-core business! When considering why you might utilise legal or financial expert’s i.e. statutory knowledge, competency, and experience – why would you not do the same in the management, operation and maintenance of those activities in what is the largest overhead cost; the greatest influence upon customer service; and the custodian of 80% of the whole life cost of any development or asset? The headache of those non-core activities is transferred to those who are geared to deal with it. When outsourced there is only one party to deal with.

Those within the facilities management business are working for their core business activity and as a result can have a meaningful career path – with the associated motivation that it brings. True facilities management will introduce innovation to improve standards, improve the client’s primary activities and protect the associated investments. Facilities consulting involved at the beginning of the design process will add considerable value through design input and influence; such input generates cost savings throughout the life of the project

6. What does it Include? The scope of facilities Management is wide and varied such activities will include security, cleaning, maintenance, catering, landscaping, hygiene etc….. Key Facilities Management has a ‘Schedule of Requirements’ (SOR) that defines our classified facilities management products list and against which we benchmark. The services the client requires and may ask for as well as the standards to which they are desired to be delivered are defined within this list.

7. How to Select a Provider? First of all be clear regarding what you want i.e. a Real Estate Agency; A Facilities Services provider (security, cleaning, HVAC); or a Facilities Management company! Once chosen make sure that there is an understanding regarding what Facilities Management truly is, what services and standards are required. Careful consideration at this stage will greatly influence the ultimate costs. Consideration should also be given to how you purchase such services i.e. prescriptive versus descriptive and input versus output.

8. What is the Difference between Facilities Services and Facilities Management? Facilities Services organisations are those that are specialist providers for different services that are required to support every organisation. They include companies that provide activities such as cleaning, security, plumbing, electrics, HVAC, pest control, hygiene, decoration etc. A Facilities Management organisation is a professional management business that understands the requirements to manage, operate and maintain all the support services in the most efficient and effective manner at optimum cost. Facilities Services providers are technical specialists in the service that they provide and aim to achieve maximum price from the client organisation to ensure maximum profit for their service. Facilities Managers are management specialists and aim to achieve minimum cost to the client organisation and ensure optimum value for money.

9. What’s the Difference between Property Management and Facilities Management? Property Management is all about lease arrangements, rentals and on occasion’s service contract management i.e. the management of the various facilities services provider contracts. Facilities Management is all about meeting the organisations’ needs and initially assisting in identifying what those needs really are! It will focus upon the informed procurement and deployment of assets; the effective enabling, communicating and management of people; and creating real value for money through minimising costs and maximising standards. The former is driven by their traditional standards and approach to service provision whilst the latter is driven by the organisational needs!

10. Can I do it myself? Yes! Facilities Management need not be an outsourced service. With the right knowledge, training and development any organisation is able to be just as effective through the management via an inhouse team as much as an outsourced one. Key Facilities Management has, through its consulting activities, advised as many organisations to develop and create an in-house organisation as it has to outsource to a specialist Facilities Management provider. There are a number of factors that would be considered before the ‘right’ decision can be made, such as the type of organisation; its culture; its structure; its scale and its core business activity. Key Facilities Management undertakes consulting activities to assist organisations achieve this as well as will take on the responsibility to deliver all such services on an ongoing basis; we operate as an effective extension of the client organisation’s management team. Key Facilities Management also assists clients in the design and planning phases of a project where design improvements are achieved in order to minimise occupancy costs as well as determine operating budgets that are realistic and reflect the standards and services promised by the sales brochures!

11. Can technology help and make a valid contribution? Absolutely! Technology in today’s business environment has much to offer but only when deployed in a strategic and tactical manner that will deliver on its potential. Just think about the technology we all use today on our computers, we all know that we only use 20% of what it can deliver but it is not our core business to develop our knowledge beyond that. The same applies to technology to manage and operate the Facilities Management related activities; the difference is that it is the business of the Facilities Management Company to know when and how to deploy it to gain maximum advantage. the right technology and products can provide savings of over 70% in the consumption of energy; 80% in the consumption of resources; 95% in the elimination of harmful bacteria; and utilisation of techniques available via technologies to ensure environmental standards and whole life costs are operated at optimum levels consistently.

12. What costs can I save through effective Facilities Management? You can save costs through:  Professional procurement  Service delivery performance measurement  Competent and experienced personal  Training and development  Performance led design input  Awareness of sustainable products and materials  Whole life forecasting techniques  Energy efficient design  Technologies that will manage, operate and maintain  Asset selection, procurement and deployment

Most organisations do not realise that the second highest cost to them, apart usually from salaries, consists of those occupancy costs that come under the management and control of Facilities Management. Therefore, is it not common sense and logic to manage those costs professionally? In times of recession, every saving made through effective management of the overhead is a direct contribution to the bottom line. How much equivalent sales effort would be required to make the same contribution? In other circumstances the cost savings are made through ‘getting it right first time’. Not having to fix it after it was finished; have it properly designed on paper and before it has been built; having thought about how it would operate and be maintained before it was installed and now has to be changed; having considered technology ‘one off’ cost as opposed to associated and ongoing resource requirement to keep it operational for the next ten years! Need any more! Occupancy and owners legislation requires proper constitutional rules and regulations to be established at the outset, when done correctly and at the right time the true Facilities Management Company will create, apply and manage the whole process reducing the need for any additional third party involvement whilst ensuring that the developer as well as the stakeholders are duly protected.


Key Facilities Management is proud to be a founding member and supporter of the AURD and its members. We hope that the above brief synopsis is helpful. More information can be found on our web site as well as links to other sources of information.

Stan Mitchell CEO