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Facilities Management Introduction

Building blocks

BIFM has formally adopted the definition of FM provided by CEN the European Committee for Standardisation and ratified by BSI British Standards:

“Facilities management is the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities”. 

Facilities management encompasses multi-disciplinary activities within the built environment and the management of their impact upon people and the workplace.

Effective facilities management, combining resources and activities, is vital to the success of any organisation. At a corporate level, it contributes to the delivery of strategic and operational objectives. On a day-to day level, effective facilities management provides a safe and efficient working environment, which is essential to the performance of any business – whatever its size and scope.

 
Within this fast growing professional discipline, facilities managers have extensive responsibilities for providing, maintaining and developing myriad services. These range from property strategy, space management and communications infrastructure to building maintenance, administration and contract management.
 
What does a facilities manager do? Read our member profiles

Below is a snippet of ’One Day in FM’ from the 2014 Guide to Careers in FM:


The foundation for facilities management

 
Some key points in the development of facilities management include:
  • Cost-cutting initiatives of the 1970s and 1980s under which organisations began to outsource ‘non-core’ services
  • Integration of the planning and management of a wide range of services both ‘hard’ (e.g. building fabric) and ‘soft’ (e.g. catering, cleaning, security, mailroom, and health & safety) to achieve better quality and economies of scale
  • Formation of the BIFM in 1993, followed by the development of specialised training and a qualification
  • Step-change with the Private Finance Initiative (now Public Private Partnerships), becoming an integral part of large-scale projects to manage, replace, and upgrade the country’s infrastructure and public service facilities. This new approach was swiftly followed in the private sector and abroad.

Facilities management today

 
The FM sector is now large and complex, comprising a mix of in-house departments, specialist contractors, large multi-service companies, and consortia delivering the full range of design, build, finance and management. Estimates vary; market research suggests that, in the UK alone, the sector is worth between £40bn and £95bn per annum.
 
The facilities management profession has come of age. Its practitioners require skill and knowledge. The sector definition continues to expand to include the management of an increasingly broad range of tangible assets, support services and people skills.

Looking to the future

 
In recent years, a heightened awareness of the FM sector has been evident, driven by a number of factors including:
  • Interest in outsourcing as a ‘hot’ management topic
  • Heavy media coverage of PFI/PPP initiatives and
  • Increasing attention being paid to the sector by the financial community
Facilities management is a vital strategic discipline because it ‘translates’ the high-level, strategic change required by senior decision makers into day-to-day reality for people in their work or living space.
 
Excellent facilities management can, amongst other things:
  • Deliver effective management of an organisation’s assets
  • Enhance the skills of people within the FM sector and provide identifiable and meaningful career options
  • Enable new working styles and processes – vital in this technology-driven age
  • Enhance and project an organisation’s identity and image
  • Help the integration processes associated with change, post-merger or acquisition
  • Deliver business continuity and workforce protection in an era of heightened security threats
Successful organisations in future will approach FM as an integral part of their strategic plan. Those organisations that treat FM as a ‘commodity overhead’ will be at a significant strategic disadvantage.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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