What is Facility Management?

In practically any activity sector of the economy (with the exception of solely virtual business) there are a wide variety of activities and operations related with facilities, workspace and services associated to facilites. When considered under a global point of view, they become the object of the so called Facility Management.

‘An integrated approach to operating, maintaining, improving and adapting the buildings and infrastructure of an organization in order to create an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organization’ (Adapted from Barrett and Baldry, 2003)

The British Institute of Facilities Management - BIFM- offers the following definition:

‘The practice of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of the organisation. It integrates the principles of business administration, architecture and the behavioural and engineering sciences’ 

Regarding to the benefits of a global approach implementation of the FM activities (following IFMA Spain):

  • Clear and transparent communication between demand and service providers, designating individuals that act as single point of contact for all the defined services under a Faciliy Management Service Agreement.
  • The synergic development of different services improving performance and reducing costs for the organization.
  • Simple and manageable concept of external and internal responsibilities related to facilities services, based on strategic decisions that support well-defined procedures for the external and internal resources.
  • Drastic reduction of internal versus external service providers conflicts.
  • Integration and coordination of all the supporting services.
  • Transparent and objective knowledge of Service Levels and Service Costs that can be clearly communicated to the users. 
  • Improving sustainability through the analysis of the facilities lifecycle.
  • Efficiency and processes improvement for all the FM activities.

An alternate -but not contradictory- approach coming from the United Kingdom Facilities Society, emphasizes the relationship between FM (not a Core activity for enterprises) and the Core Business  that receives value from FM in terms of

  • Increasing customer satisfaction
  • Improving market image and corporate culture
  • Defending the economic value of assets
  • Facilities investment protection and eventual adaptation to future uses
  • Competitive advantages to the Core Business through the added value optimization
  • Converting costing factors in added value

In some verticals, these general principles become absolutely linked to the business and its profitability.

So, in HTT sectors (Hospitality, Travel and Tourism) the Quality of Service is the business object and depends on FM activities. This fact reinforces the need of reaching the excellence and improving efficiencies.

Imagine the consequences for a Hospital, a Hotel, an Airport, an HVAC stop, or an electricity black out or all the elevators out of service, to perceive the real and direct impact of FM in such businesses.