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Refers to the definition of facilities management (FM) given by International Facility Management Association (IFMA), facilities management is “a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.” It is a key function in managing the working environment, facilities resources and support services to support the core business in long run[1].

The core business means the central or main activities of an organization while the support services are those services which must be in place to support the functionality of the core business[2].

The facilities management professionals play a vital role in providing quality and high performance facilities[3].

Facilities manager is responsible to ensure all the facilities are performing effectively and efficiently.

The major challenges for facilities management professional are to maximize the utilization and production of the organization’s facilities at the minimal cost. Among the critical area that needs to be managed is energy usage in the organization[4].

FM is very complex. The high degree of sophistication requires a holistic professional approach. FM does not just cover operations and maintenance.

It also covers other non-technical aspects which are equally important to ensure proper functioning of the built environment.

IFMA adopt nine core competencies, namely, Operation and Maintenance; Real Estate; Human and Environmental Factors; Planning and Project management; Leadership and Management; Finance; Quality Assessment and Innovation; Communication and Technology.

The acquisition of each of these core competencies is the prerequisite to a professional FM.

In the real world of assets and facilities management, it is a lot of activities fall under the facility manager’s responsibility, causing frequent lapses into a reactive mode in order to respond to all the requests, orders, regulations, deadlines and demands of the organization. Facility managers know that the need to become more proactive and strategic is important, but finding the time to devote to strategic planning is often a struggle[5].

Thus it is crucial to prioritize what is important in order to gain maximum effectiveness. Therefore a Strategic Facility Planning (SFP) should be formulated as it can lead to better, more proactive delivery of services from a facility management organization to its stakeholders.

IFMA, in its “Project Management Benchmarks Survey 2002,” defines the strategic facility plan: “A strategic facility plan (SFP) is defined as a two-to-five year facilities plan encompassing an entire portfolio of owned and/or leased space that sets strategic facility goals based on the organization’s strategic (business) objectives. The strategic facilities goals, in turn, determine short-term tactical plans, including prioritization of, and funding for, annual facility related projects.”

The time taken to carry out SFP is well spent in that it helps to avoid mistakes, delays, disappointments and customer dissatisfaction. It can actually allow facility plan implementations to run more quickly and smoothly.

SFP facilitates the organization’s strategy by optimizing facilities to satisfy the strategic relationships between the organization, products/services and facilities.

The SFP includes three primary components: an understanding of the organization’s culture and core values and an analysis of how existing and new facilities assimilate the culture and core values within the physical space or support their change; an in-depth analysis of existing facilities – including location, capability, utilization and condition; and an achievable and affordable (approved) plan that translates the goals of the business plan into an appropriate facility response.

The satisfactory functioning of the built environment results in low lifecycle costs through reduced operations and maintenance costs, extends the lifespan of the facilities, improves the indoor environmental quality and provides sustainability of the assets.

Facilities management is significance to organisations of all kinds. It has become the focus for the important issues of best value and customer satisfaction within the management of supporting services[6].

To attain the full value of assets and facilities management there are lots of pieces to bring together – from knowing what all your assets are to understanding their condition, maintaining a desired level of service, and having a sustained planned for maintenance, replacement or upgrade[7].

The benefits of asset and facilities management are many and varied and include improvements to risk management, service management and financial efficiency.

Governance and accountability are also improved by the demonstration to stakeholders that services are being managed sustainably.

Well-managed services enable an organisation to function at its most efficient and effective level, offering added value improvements to the organisation’s core business.

Managing facilities efficiently and effectively requires good strategy is developed within the context of the organisation’s business plan and space strategy which should involve development of strategic objectives and a plan for the facilities management

In recent years, the range of services covered within the remit of facilities management has become more complex, as facilities management has moved into the core operational functions of client organisations.

It is necessary for facilities management service providers and their customers to acknowledge the role of facilities management in the organisation’s strategic operations.

Source:  Alley, Greg (2005) “Working towards sustainability in existing infrastructure through strategic facilities management,” Public Infrastructure Bulletin: Vol. 1: Iss. 5, Article 4. Available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/pib/vol1/iss5/4; Atkin, B. and Brooks, A. (2009) Total Facilities Management. Third edition, Oxford: Blackwell Science; Barrett, P.S. and Baldry, D. (2003) Facilities Management: Towards Best Practice. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell Science; Booty, F. (ed.) (2009) Facilities management handbook. 4th edition, Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann; Cryder, J. (2009, October). FM Issue: Life Cycle Cost Analysis. Toda’ys Facility Manager; Luker, M. & Williamson, T. (2006). Benefits realized through asset management practices at eastern municipal water district. Water Environment Foundation: Turning to Total Asset Management, the Star, 22 Aug 2009; Taking the Bull by the Horn in Assets and Facilities Management, utusan.com, 28 Oct 2009 and Facilities Management In Malaysia, Jurutera, May 2009


(this article written for 1BINA.my)

[1] Sarich Chotipanich. (2004). Positioning Facility Management. Facilities. 22(13/14): 364-372

[2] Sheau, T. L., Mohammed, A. H., Weng, W. C., & Alias, B. (2010). Facilities Management: Paths of Malaysia to Achieve Energy Sustainability. International Journal of Facility Management, 1(2)

[3] Zuriati Ashaari. (2005). Current Practice of Post Occupancy Evaluation in Facility Management Organization of Malaysia. University Technology Malaysia: Master of Science in Facility Management

[4] Sheau, T. L., Mohammed, A. H., Weng, W. C., & Alias, B. (2010). Facilities Management: Paths of Malaysia to Achieve Energy Sustainability. International Journal of Facility Management, 1(2)

[5] Strategic Facility Planning (2009): A White Paper on Strategic Facility Planning, International Facility Management Association

[6] Facilities Society – UK;

[7] Brown, W. E. Asset Management – Today and Tomorrow. Retrieved from http://www.wright-pierce.com/asset-management.aspx