FM or Facilities Management is often regarded as the unseen service. I am talking more about the Essential Services and Building Maintenance in this regard as opposed to Staffing. However this is integral in the smooth operation of your Apartment Complex or Development environment. Often ‘unseen’ becomes an excuse to ‘ignore’.
Normally FM covers all the ‘life’ systems in a building such as fire fighting, ventilation, emergency lighting and exits. However this can extend to such activities as cleaning, staffing and support services.
Many FM companies specialise and may deal just with say, Essential Safety Measures or a specific area of SEM, and other companies may cover all the bases.
The danger of an unseen service is that often it does not get the budget allocation or recognition it deserves which manifests itself when development systems start to regularly breakdown or become unreliable. No water to upper level apartments, due to overlooked pump servicing or air conditioning not working on 40°C days, comes to mind as examples. Even the legionella outbreak caused by poor servicing of cooling towers.
Two words come to mind – ‘Preventive Maintenance’. That’s where you actually save money by spending a little now. Otherwise when there is a failure the costs can cripple an Owners Corporation or Development. Trust me, I have seen it.
Most FM is performed for ‘Compliance’, which means if we don’t ensure we comply with our safety and life systems requirements we would find ourselves being fined or in court, which is enough incentive in itself I would think.
For discussion here is, external and internal Facilities Management. Are we allowed to take responsibility for our own buildings or developments Essential Safety Measures? Should we get an external audit? Are our staff sufficiently qualified to do this? Will this affect our Insurance?