What Is Facility Management?

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facility management as “a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.” From this definition, we understand facility management to be the coordination of a facility’s operations meant to make the organization as a whole more effective at what it does.

Put another way, think of your facility – the building itself and everything inside, both people and objects – as its own living being. Facilities management is responsible for making sure everything works harmoniously together, and the facility manager is responsible for keeping the facility alive.

The term ‘facility’ refers to any range of establishments that serve a greater purpose such as providing goods and services. In the most traditional sense, this refers to factories and offices, but the term facilities also includes schools, jails, sports complexes, hospitals, hotels and retail establishments.

Each of these facilities is a complex organization of people, teams, departments, spaces, equipment, technology and more. Facilities management is the coordination of everything within the facility so operations run smoothly. Considering the large scope, facility management can be quite a daunting task. However, facility management software simplifies an otherwise very complex process. Facility managers use facility management software to identify and schedule tasks, keep records, make facilities decisions and more.

The Scope of Facility Management

In a general sense, facilities management can be viewed as the management of anything within the facility operations, but we can use insight from the International Facility Management Association to narrow this down. In 2009, the IFMA identified eleven core competencies of facility management that include the following

  • Communication
  • Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity
  • Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
  • Finance and Business
  • Human Factors
  • Leadership and Strategy
  • Operations and Maintenance
  • Project Management
  • Quality
  • Real Estate and Property Management
  • Technology

What Does a Facility Manager Do?

Going beyond the scope of building maintenance management, you may wonder what a facilities manager does in practice.  Here are a few important responsibilities of a facility manager.

  • Effectively allocate space and oversee facility layout.
  • Ensure compliance with government regulations which may include anything from access for people with disabilities, to dealing with hazardous materials, to maintaining safe working conditions.
  • Develop a business continuity plan so that a business can recover quickly if there is a fire or other failure.

Many of these tasks are coordinated through the use of facility management software. For example, facility management software can help keep track of spaces and assets and keep records for reporting needs as well as ensure the facility is up to the latest BOMA standards. It is often a thankless job, however, because when everything is running smoothly as it should, no one realizes everything that is happening behind the scenes.

The Goals of Facility Management

The facilities manager has a range of duties with several organizational goals in mind. These include:

  • Making sure operations run efficiently
  • Ensuring the safety of workers
  • Meeting building codes and government regulations
  • Saving money
  • Boosting productivity
  • Creating an environment that is pleasing to clients and customers

Facilities managers use facility management software because it can help track and reach these goals.

Facility management is a complex coordination of everything that is happening within a facility. Luckily, facility management is made much more manageable and effective through the use of facility management software.