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What On Earth is Facility Management?

For facility managers, managing their buildings is a duty, but managing them well is a talent. To some, this talent may not seem like much, but being a talented facility manager helps keep the world working safely and efficiently. Without facility management, many of today’s buildings would quickly fall into disrepair.

So, what are facility managers? What exactly do they do? This week, we’re taking a look at how facility managers keep our collective spaces safe, healthy and productive.

What is Facility Management?

According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), facility management is “a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.”

In other words, a facility management department ensures that an organization’s buildings, grounds, assets and equipment are safe to use and work as expected. Facility management also utilizes maintenance best practices to ensure that occupants of a building are satisfied with their surrounding and can easily accomplish their day-to-day goals.

Download Now - The Facility Manager's Pocket Field Guide

What is a facility manager?

First and foremost, facility managers keep us and our environments safe. They take a proactive approach towards building safety by providing functional equipment, employee training and avenues for communication and trust. They also implement security protocols to prevent violence and crime from occurring within and around their buildings.

Second, facility managers make things happen. They ensure that buildings, assets and machinery remain in suitable condition to meet the needs of people who rely on them. Thanks to facility managers, the lights stay on, bathrooms are clean, furniture is comfortable, indoor temperatures are maintained, and water is clean and safe to use. When systems in a facility work as expected, occupants are put at ease.

WHAT does a facility manager do?

Facility managers may work “behind the scenes,” but their hard work is seen and noticed every single day. In general, facility managers contribute to an organization’s success by maintaining and protecting property, buildings, equipment, inventory and other important elements of operation.

More specifically, facility managers may oversee some or all of the following subject matters for a business:

  • Asset maintenance and repair

  • Custodial and housekeeping services

  • Grounds maintenance and upkeep

  • Capital project management and budgeting

  • Energy management and improvement

  • Safety and security protocols

  • Risk management

  • Code compliance

  • Management of fleet vehicles

  • Occupancy and human factors

The scope of a facility manager is wide. Facilities managers go by many different titles and arrive in their profession through a variety of career paths. However, all are responsible for making sure that systems within the built environment work harmoniously. 

Why is facility management important?

Facility managers are highly critical members of an organization, and their role is a vital one. They contribute to the bottom line by reducing building costs, improving productivity, and in some cases, generating revenue. They use their leadership skills to plan ahead and contribute to the profitability of their businesses. They enable everyone within an organization to perform their jobs as efficiently as possible. And lastly, they lead the way in improving the built world.  

Facility managers are tasked with nurturing and elongating the future of buildings. In essence, facility managers and their teams can take a building made of concrete, wood, steel and glass and turn it into a living environment that leaves a lasting impact. It's this approach to caring for the environment that drives the facility management industry.

Learn more about Facility management

If you're new to the facilities management scene or are considering a career in the industry, it’s a good idea to explore various resources and get familiar with the lingo. If you’re not sure where to start, set yourself up for success by downloading the Facility Manager’s Pocket Field Guide to Common Acronyms, Terms and Equipment

Keep Reading: Click here to check out "Facilities Management Jobs and Career Paths: The Explorer's Guide"

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