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What is facility management?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Definition of Facility Management

What is facility management?

Facilities management or facility management (FM) can be described as a profession; a separate business entity or organization; a department/function within an organization; a set of process or service. As a process, ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), a worldwide federation of national standards bodies describes facility management as a process that integrates multiple disciplines in order to have an influence on the efficiency and productivity of economies of societies, communities and organizations, as well as the manner in which individuals interact with the built environment. Its (Facility Management) functions affects the health, well-being and quality of life of much of the world’s societies and population through the services it manages and delivers (ISO 41001:2018). As a function, “Facility Management is an organizational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business” IFMA. As a department/function within an organization, FM involves the development, coordination, and management of all the non-core specialist services of an organisation together with the building and their systems, plant, IT equipment, and fittings with the overall aim of assisting any given organisation in achieving its strategic objectives (Moore and Finch, 2004). As a profession, facility management is a multi-disciplinary (Nutt, 1999), a wide range of skills and knowledge profession (Nazali et al., 2009), that focuses on integrated management of the workplace to enhance the performance of the organisation (Tay and Ooi, 2001) and very broad range of possible activities (Alexander, 1993; Chotipanich, 2004). Facility manager is that person that ensures the system of a building and its environment work seamlessly together through planning, evaluating, and maintaining building systems.

Functions of Facilities Management

According to Aderemi (2022) in his article “How Facility Management Optimize Work Productivity” he described six broad based field of study that are incorporated in professional facility management practice to include the principle of Science, Design and Engineering Technology, Human Resources, Business Administration, Financial Management, and Health and Safety in delivering optimal work productivity. Until recently, facilities management was considered more as an afterthought service and facilities managers would not get a seat at the top management strategic and decision-making meetings Osagie (2004). During this era, the role of facility manager was constricted to mainly cost saving, profit maximization and operation and sustenance of equipment lifecycle. Facility managers carry out very wide range of functions which can be categorized into strategic, management and operational facility management (Chotipanich, 2002).

Functions of Facility Manager At strategic level, the facility manager directs the facilities, services and practices to improve on income, productivity and sustainability. The management level seeks to achieve set goals in the areas of planning, forecasting, implementing, integrating, controlling and monitoring project management to achieve greater performance. The operational function of facility management centers on cost effective ways of running the day-to-day delivery of services, quality assurance and customer satisfaction.



Roles of Facility Managers in Facility Management


Facility management is a complex and multifaceted field that requires a wide range of skills and expertise. Facility managers play a crucial role in ensuring that the organization's facilities are well-maintained, efficient, and safe. In this section, we will discuss the roles of facility managers in facility management in more detail.


  1. Maintenance and Repair: Facility managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's facilities are well-maintained and functioning efficiently. This includes regular maintenance and repair of equipment, systems, and infrastructure. Facility managers must develop maintenance schedules based on the needs of the organization and the equipment and systems being used. They must also monitor equipment performance and ensure that repairs are carried out promptly to minimize downtime and maximize efficiency.

  2. Space Management: Facility managers are responsible for managing the organization's physical space. This includes space planning, allocation, and utilization. Facility managers must ensure that the organization's space is used efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of the organization. This involves developing space plans that take into account the organization's current and future needs, allocating space to different departments and functions, and ensuring that space is used effectively to maximize productivity.

  3. Security Management: Facility managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's facilities are secure. This includes developing security plans, implementing security measures, and monitoring security systems. Facility managers must also ensure that employees are trained in security procedures and that security breaches are dealt with promptly to minimize the risk of loss or damage to property or data.

  4. Environmental Management: Facility managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's facilities are environmentally friendly. This includes developing environmental policies, implementing environmental initiatives, and monitoring environmental performance. Facility managers must also ensure that employees are trained in environmental procedures to minimize the organization's impact on the environment.

  5. Health and Safety Management: Facility managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's facilities are safe and healthy for employees and visitors. This includes developing health and safety policies, implementing health and safety measures, and monitoring health and safety performance. Facility managers must also ensure that employees are trained in health and safety procedures to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries in the workplace.

  6. Budgeting and Financial Management: Facility managers are responsible for developing budgets for facility management activities and ensuring that resources are used efficiently. This includes managing costs, negotiating contracts, and monitoring expenses to ensure that the organization's resources are used effectively.

  7. Vendor Management: Facility managers are responsible for managing relationships with vendors, contractors, and suppliers. This includes selecting vendors, negotiating contracts, and monitoring vendor performance to ensure that the organization receives high-quality goods and services at a reasonable cost.

  8. Risk Management: Facility managers are responsible for identifying and managing risks associated with facility management activities. This includes developing risk management plans, implementing risk mitigation measures, and monitoring risk performance to minimize the risk of loss or damage to property or data.

  9. Compliance Management: Facility managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's facilities comply with relevant laws and regulations. This includes developing compliance policies, implementing compliance measures, and monitoring compliance performance to minimize the risk of legal or regulatory sanctions.


Responsibilities of Facility Managers in Facility Management.

  1. Budgeting and Financial Management: Facility managers are responsible for developing budgets for facility management activities and ensuring that resources are used efficiently. This includes managing costs, negotiating contracts, and monitoring expenses.

  2. Vendor Management: Facility managers are responsible for managing relationships with vendors, contractors, and suppliers. This includes selecting vendors, negotiating contracts, and monitoring vendor performance.

  3. Risk Management: Facility managers are responsible for identifying and managing risks associated with facility management activities. This includes developing risk management plans, implementing risk mitigation measures, and monitoring risk performance.

  4. Compliance Management: Facility managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's facilities comply with all relevant laws, regulations, and codes. This includes developing compliance policies, implementing compliance measures, and monitoring compliance performance. Facility managers must also ensure that employees are trained in compliance procedures.

  5. Emergency Management: Facility managers are responsible for developing emergency management plans and ensuring that employees are trained in emergency procedures. This includes developing evacuation plans, implementing emergency response measures, and monitoring emergency performance.

  6. Communication and Stakeholder Management: Facility managers are responsible for communicating with stakeholders, including employees, customers, and suppliers. This includes developing communication plans, managing stakeholder relationships, and monitoring stakeholder performance.

  7. Project Management: Facility managers are responsible for managing facility management projects, including new construction, renovation, and relocation projects. This includes developing project plans, managing project teams, and monitoring project performance.

  8. Technology Management: Facility managers are responsible for managing technology systems used in facility management activities. This includes developing technology plans, implementing technology systems, and monitoring technology performance.

  9. Sustainability Management: Facility managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's facilities are sustainable. This includes developing sustainability policies, implementing sustainability initiatives, and monitoring sustainability performance.

  10. Leadership and Team Management: Facility managers are responsible for leading facility management teams and ensuring that employees are trained and motivated to perform their roles effectively. This includes developing team goals, managing team performance, and providing coaching and feedback to employees. Some factors influencing the growth of facilities management in Nigeria Technology: The fast pace of technological revolution in the 21st century have occasioned the introduction of smart technologies, automation and IoT solutions in facilities management operations. Things are simply not done the same way again, hence organizations are striving to keep up with the advancements and constantly in search of innovative ways to stay ahead in business. Customer demands and preferences: In today’s world of so many options, customers are now faced with endless and multiple options of needs and wants. Since facilities management is about people and service, facility managers have inevitably enrolled in the pursuit of enhanced customer service delivery, smart and sophisticated solutions, effective and accessible communication everywhere you go, healthy, safety and efficient systems, and cost saving alternatives. Growth in infrastructural and real estate development: Nigeria’s real estate value at around USD5.3 billion. According to the GDP Report for Q1 2021 published by the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria's real estate sector grew by 1.77%, contributing a total of 5.28% to the real GDP of the country for the period under review. The growing demand for real estate development to cater for the increasing population and housing deficit promises a further increase in flow of investment in the facility management sector and real estate at large. Health, Safety and Environmental regulations: The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were introduced and agreed on at the united nation millennium summit in September 2000 with nearly 190 countries, including Nigeria as signatories to the agreement. This confers tremendous responsibility on the Nigeria’s government to contribute to green energy and healthier environment though policy and regulatory reforms on the Nigerian. These policies reforms and regulatory requirements are sometimes mandatory and therefore compels facility managers to keep vibrant and adaptive policies in order not to fall on the wrong side of the law. In 2020, the world witnessed a catastrophic pandemic that shock the entire planet. In the effort to combat this outbreak, facility managers in both public and private space were saddled with the core responsibility of safeguarding the lives of all facility users in all public places. This kind of experience have birthed sophistications in the deployment of facility management operations across board. Multi-disciplinary nature of facility management: Facility management as a varied career requires 11 core competencies according to IFMA, these eleven core competencies of facility managers are finance and business, operations and maintenance, leadership and strategy, project management, communications, performance and quality, facility information management and technology management, occupancy and human factors, real estate, risk management and sustainability. The British Institute of FM notes that Facility Management is the integration of multi-disciplinary activities within the built environment and the management of their impact upon people and the workplace. This multifaceted career dimension in facility management functions have impacted positively in its growth and development over the years. Relevant professions’ development and their professionals research inputs have expanded the overall understanding, delivery and performance of facility management function in private and public sector alike. Factors that hinder facility management development in the Nigeria’s public sector Whilst most of these factors are perennial in nature, some are due to absence of will power on the part of government to step up infrastructure maintenance and general lack of accountability for public funds.

  11. Inadequate budgetary allocation for infrastructure and facility maintenance

  12. Inadequate skilled professionals

  13. Poor maintenance culture which focusses more on breakdown/reactive maintenance rather than planned preventive maintenance and proactive planning

  14. Lack of FM policies and where they exist, they are not well implemented

  15. Wrong priorities and misappropriation of funds on the part of the Government

  16. Administrative and Bureaucratic bottlenecks in Government

  17. Poor infrastructure, Faulty Designs i.e. poor lighting and ventilation to building, and shoddy construction works with substandard building materials

  18. Epileptic public power supply on the grid

  19. Improper or wrong usage of facilities

  20. Public unrest and facility vandalism

The challenges of facilities management in the private sector The challenges faced by facility managers vary and they depend on size, scope, operational context or environment within which the facility manager operates. These challenges are either internal i.e. within the organization’s structure and culture, human resources, internal processes and budget or external i.e. market environment, competition, technology, and government regulations. Bako (2020) names finance as the greatest challenge facing the facility management companies in Nigeria, whilst other problems comprises of technology, sustainability, operational efficiency, bye-law compliance, stakeholder needs and manpower problems. Common facility management company challenges are erroneous customer performance reviews, inadequate funding by the client engaging the facility management company, unstable government policies or market forces, awkward takeover and acquisition… to read more, please check the article How facility management optimize wok productivity by Aderemi, 2022. Oladokun, 2011 added:

  1. Lack of recognition: The profession is still at its infancy in Nigeria and therefore not so many people are aware of its relevance and professional requirements in our day-to-day lives. Many still find the concept of paid services, service charge and SLA strange while some considers facility management function simple enough to be undertaken by any group of interested stakeholders, property caretakers, property agents or even an unskilled relative of the property owner.

  2. Education and training needs; Nazali et al. (2009) argued that effective FM encompasses multiple activities under various disciplines, combines resources and is vital to the success of any organisation. These broad-based skills set required to function effectively as facility manager inherently creates knowledge and skills gaps which compels continuous trainings and career development expenditure for the facility manager or facility management company.

  3. Career pathways: The average salary of facility manager in some companies or facility management organization is not very attractive except for some top multinationals whose pay structure is benchmarked by international office counterparts. This may be due to the measure of the negotiating power a facility manager or facility management company commands at the negotiation table. This modest pay offering may not motivate anyone who wishes to grow a promising and lucrative career endeavour in facility management.

  4. Performance benchmarking: From my years of observation, I noticed that many new entrants small FM companies don’t have a signed service level agreement (SLA) and where it exists, they either have erroneous definitions or not detailed enough to reflect proper scope, expectations and performance indicators and monitoring of the expected service delivery by both contracting parties. This lacuna has led to untimely, biased and wrong assessment of performance, engagement and dissolution of facility management contracts.

Still focusing on the private sector, (Osagie, 2004) in his own views, identifies the following problems: i. Conception of idea – this refers to the undecidedness of the facility owner to onboard a facility manager on the problem timely enough thereby leading to poor planning and late onboarding of the FM company or facility manager as the case may be. ii. Disharmony between the facility management company and the client on ideas and organization’s views iii. The problem of funding the cost of employing a facility manager iv. The difficulties in assembling skilled and experienced facility management team v. The failure to include facility management professionals in the design, planning and execution stages of the project. vi. Frequent change in the ownership or management of the organization may have an impact on the facility management policies and operations. vii. Inadequate training of facilities manager and high cost of doing same. The challenges of facility management for inhouse facilities manager Chinedu and Oladejo (2019) from their research, opined that some of the common challenges of facilities management include poor funding, bureaucracy, environmental factors, aging workforce/skills gap, safety/healthcare cost, regulatory compliance and difficulty in procuring materials. 1. Common Inhouse facility management challenges 2. No corporate commitment of leadership to support program 3. Lack of communication among cross-functional departments 4. Complex and disparate data sets present a significant road block 5. Insufficient resources with necessary skills and experience How to overcome the challenges of facility management Overcoming these challenges requires a degree of determination, collective efforts on the part of the practitioners and key stakeholders, accessible and affordable career training and development, regulatory framework and standardization. The objective of this article is to identify the problems facing the facility management practice in Nigeria and to anticipate that its content would be beneficial for facility management companies and facility managers in search of developing suitable solutions to the overriding challenges. It is believed that the expository content will generate solution-based conversations and overall development of facility management practice in Nigeria. REFERENCES: Alexander, K. (Ed) (1993) Facilities Management 1993, Salford: Centre for Facilities Management and Hastings Hilton Publishers Ltd An Examination of the Practice of Facilities Management in Nigeria. Department of Estate Management Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife - Nigeria by Timothy Tunde Oladokun 2011. Moore, M. and Finch, E. (2004) Facilities Management in South East Asia, Facilities, 22(9/10), pp.259-270. Analysis of Challenges of Facilities Management Practice in Selected Manufacturing Industries in Enugu State, Nigeria. Department of Estate Management Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. Ndive Paul Chinedu; Dr. Esther I. Oladejo. 2019 Assessment of Challenges Facing Facility Managers in the Nigerian Industry. Saminu Sani Bako 2020. Chotipanich, S. (2004) Positioning Facility Management, Facilities, 22 (13/14), pp.364-372. Problems Of Facilities Management In Corporate Organizations In Lagos State (A Case Study Of Some Selected Manufacturing Industries) By Oladejo, Esther Ifeanyichukwu (2009). Facilities Management in the Nigerian Public Sector by Samson A. Opaluwah 2010 What is Facility Management? By International Facility Management Association ISO 41001:2018 Facility management — Management systems Tay, L. and Ooi, J. T. (2001) Facilities management: a “Jack of all trades”? Facilities, 19(10), pp. 357-363. https://www.linkedin.com/company/rp-facilities-management/ #facilitymanager #facilitymanagement #facilitymanagerjob #facilitymanagertraining #facilitymanagementdevelpment #ifmanigeria #propertymanager


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