The activities associated with maintaining an asset and managing its use can be referred to as Facilities Management.
The table below refers to key activities and the associated potential tasks, which may be undertaken by dedicated property management staff or absorbed by volunteers, depending on the project.
Table: Facilities Management
|Strategic facilities management||Developing policies to govern use of the building and to protect the safety of its users.
• Who may rent or use an asset and on what terms?
• How will staff, volunteers and users safety be considered and protected?
• What is the strategy for how the asset is invested in? Items such as toilet facilities, the boiler, security camera, windows, etc will not last forever and will need to be replaced periodically.
• Insurance and statutory compliances.
|Site maintenance and management||• Fire Health and Safety.
• Maintaining landscaping and planters.
• Health and Safety compliance.
|Building maintenance||• Repairs.
• Cyclical / preventative planned maintenance, e.g – heating and boiler, internal / external decoration, electrics, gas equipment and boiler, carpets and flooring, fixtures and fittings.
• Contingency fund.
|User / customer service||• Reception.
• User liaison.
|Contractor / Staff / Volunteer Management||• Negotiating contracts.
• Cleaning, e.g.- development of specifications and contractor / employee supervision. Cleaning is not just important for the look of the place, it is important for health and safety reasons.
Some of the tasks involved in Facilities Management are a matter of judgment as to what can be achieved at a given time and what would be good practice.Others are mandatory legal requirements, which all organisations will need to address, for example:
- Playing music, serving food and alcohol and performances all have specific licensing requirements.
- Providing activities and space for children and vulnerable adults involves addressing specific requirements, e.g.- The Children’s Act 1989.
- The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requires that employers and service providers do no discriminate against people with disabilities and require them to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to buildings where necessary.
- Insurance is not just required for the physical fabric of the asset and its contents, but also for employees, volunteers and the public.
- Adherence to the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations that are in force at the time are required.
- Some signage and its visibility is also a legal requirement e.g. Section 6 of the Health Act 2006 requires mandatory ‘No Smoking’ signs on premises; and clamping cannot be enforced and CCTV cannot be used without visible appropriate signage.
The maintenance of land and buildings is often a neglected activity. As inanimate objects, they tend to not be the focus of attention until things go wrong. Although land and buildings can take a while to deteriorate, they can quickly become unfit for use. Dirty, outdated and neglected spaces and facilities can soon become unfit for use. In such a condition they cease to be assets.
Although transferred assets are less likely to be allowed to run into disrepair when community pride is associated with them, some organisations tend to take a simplistic approach to managing these responsibilities, instead of a more strategic view of the whole life cycle of an asset and its use over time, for example:
- Flat roofs fail often and tend to be a drain on the maintenance budget.
- Boilers are not replaced as per their recommended life and are run to fail, thus increasing ongoing maintenance spend.
- Bulbs are replaced on an ad-hoc basis resulting in frequent high call out charges.
Of course, some kinds of assets will be more expensive to manage and maintain than others. For example the technical requirements of Victorian library building are likely to be less complex than those of a modern multi-purpose community centre. However, the maintenance and running costs for the Victorian building are likely to be much higher per square foot than any new build. Fortunately, there is plenty of experience to draw upon for running almost any kind of activity in any type of building.
The buildling calculator tool featured here can help organisations understand and budget for the whole life costs related to a buildling.