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What is Facilities Management? Defining FM the Expert Guide

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Have you ever wondered what is Facilities Management? And why is Facilities Management so important? – Well you are in luck because our FM experts have written this post just for you, complete with a Facilities Management definition!

Defining Facilities Management

The ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). They define facilities management as:

The 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.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Facilities Management Definition

International cooperation in the preparation of these International Standards has identified common practices that can be applied across a wide variety of market sectors, organizational types, process activities and geographies. Their implementation will help to:
  1. improve quality, productivity and financial performance;
  2. enhance sustainability and reduce negative environmental impact;
  3. develop functional and motivating work environments;
  4. maintain regulatory compliance and provide safe workplaces;
  5. optimize life cycle performance and costs;
  6. improve resilience and relevance;
  7. project an organization’s identity and image more.

Facilities Management Glossary

In fact, they have compiled a really handy glossary of FM/Facilities Management terms.

RFM Group are ISO Certified

ISO certification is a seal of approval from a third party body that a company runs to one of the international standards developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO registration provides a symbol of quality and assurance when selecting a Facilities Management company.

Facilities Management Areas

Facilities management covers a wide range of services that includes:

  • Maintenance and operations such as cleaning and security
  • Energy management
  • Workspace and occupant management
  • Lease management,  administration and accounting
  • Project planning and management
  • Staff and user experience
  • Compliance
  • Emergency management and business continuity
  • Integrated FM and Property/real estate management


Two Types of Facilities Management: Hard FM and Soft FM

Facilities management are often further divided into two categories: Hard Facilities Management (Hard FM) and Soft Facilities Management (Soft FM).

Both sets of services are crucial in ensuring that buildings are managed effectively; in turn, they help to maximise business productivity and deliver employee and occupant satisfaction.

Hard FM

Hard facilities relate to the physical building and cannot be removed.  These services ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees is adhered to and most are required by law.  This typically includes:

  • Lighting
  • Plumbing
  • Heating
  • Air conditioning
  • Building maintenance
  • Fire safety systems

Soft FM

Soft services are the facilities and services that tend to make the workplace a better place to be in, whether making it safer and more secure, a more pleasant working environment or of growing importance, more efficient.  Examples of soft facilities management include:

  • Landscaping
  • Window cleaning
  • Cleaning
  • Security
  • Post management
  • Waste management
  • Catering
  • Car parkingWhy is Facilities Management Important?

FM Enables People to Work at Their Best

The secret of successful organisations is getting the best out of people, who are empowered and enabled to work efficiently. People produce their best work (and feel engaged) in buildings that are safe, welcoming and efficient. Facilities management affects everything that surrounds people in facilities and on the grounds. Where they shop, work, play, learn, and live should be comfortable, productive, and sustainable.

Effective facilities management contributes to an organisation’s bottom line. It impacts the short- and long-term value of property, buildings and equipment.

An effective facilities management company should support:

  • Health & Safety
  • Lease accounting
  • Workplace experience
  • Space optimization
  • Guiding capital projects
  • Energy management and maintenance

Why Are Buildings So Important

People mostly exist in buildings, in fact, we spend 87% of our time in buildings. So, it makes sense to invest in the facilities we inhabit. This will improve operations and in turn, make the lives of all users more comfortable and maximize efficiencies.

Facilities Management Technology

Technology has become central to the effective running of buildings. FM technology includes both software such as CAFM and systems. Immense amounts of data are generated by built environments through the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, wi-fi and SMART devices. The most effective solutions enable facilities management managers to utilise this data by combining analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) into an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS).

These technologies use data efficiently to make computer-aided facilities management possible — FM managers can analyze and learn from data, delivering real-time visibility, performing predictive facilities maintenance, and creating more productive, cost-efficient environments.

Functions of a Facilities Manager

Facilities managers have a wide range of important day-to-day responsibilities regardless of industry or sector. Effective managers need to both plan ahead and also be ready for unexpected events that occur every day.

Facilities Manager Responsibilities

An FM manager’s responsibilities often include:

  • property management
  • capital expenditure, projects and planning
  • occupancy and workspace management
  • lease administration and accounting
  • compliance

7 Key Areas to Improving Facilities Management and FM Managers

We’ve identified 7 key areas to improve the performance of FM managers as they carry out their responsibilities:

  1. Deliver operational efficiencies
  2. Create a productive environment
  3. Utilise technology
  4. Guarantee regulatory compliance
  5. Minimize risks to all users of the facilities
  6. Minimize energy consumption and energy costs
  7. Reduce the carbon footprint of the property portfolio.

The Future of Facilities Management – FM Trends

An expert facilities manager needs to have an eye on the future. There is no doubt that the workplace has changed. As companies and organisations return to their office the workplace needs to become a place where employees want to collaborate.

In the IBM Institute for Business Value 2021 CEO Study, “56% of CEOs emphasize the need to aggressively pursue operational agility and flexibility over the next two to three years”.

Business leaders need to devise a return-to-the-workplace strategy.

Hybrid and Agile Workspaces

“The workplace has gone hybrid. There is no way of putting the genie back in the bottle. Workplaces have moved on. The rigid ways of working are gone forever. If Organisations don’t realise that and fail to adapt, they will ultimately fail to retain talent and thus fail.” Was the sage advice from Ian Flanagan, RFM CEO recently at a group-wide presentation.

Hybrid and Agile workplaces are the opportunity to embrace the future and drive improved performance.

Workspaces in the post-pandemic world need to accommodate and adapt to changing needs, getting both the productivity of face-to-face working alongside the many benefits of remote working such as saving employees commuting time. There are both advantages and challenges of building a hybrid workspace model.

People should be at the centre of everything an FM Manager does. If a Facilities Manager is empowered to improve their facilities then they will give employees a better workplace experience. Covid-19 has redefined “A great place to work” and shifted employee expectations and technology requirements.

An improved employee experience can mean the difference between engaged, productive employees, and even more disruption.

The Best Facilities Management is Delivered by Expert Facilities Managers

Simply put, the Best Facilities Management is Delivered by Expert Facilities Managers. Facilities are central to effective performance but knowing where to start can be difficult. That’s why it is good to be able to turn to property experts who can manage and maintain your premises.

Speak to the Property Experts…

Whether you need advice on a new project or have an existing property or portfolio – We’re always happy to help. Please call 0113 202 9000 or email [email protected]

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