What is facility management?

Facility management refers to the coordination, operation, and maintenance of a wide range of physical assets within an organisation to ensure their effective and efficient use.
What is facility management?
Written by
Darren Stewart
Published on
June 26, 2023

Facility management refers to the coordination, operation, and maintenance of a wide range of physical assets within an organisation to ensure their effective and efficient use. It encompasses the management of buildings, infrastructure, equipment, and services that support the core operations of a business.

The United Kingdom Facility Management (FM) Market size is expected to grow from USD 68.16 billion in 2023 to USD 73.97 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 1.65% during the forecast period (2023-2028).

Mordor Intelligence Research & Advisory. (2023, June). Facility Management Market in the UK Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2023 - 2028). Mordor Intelligence. Retrieved June 26, 2023, from https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/united-kingdom-facility-management-market

What is the goal of facility management?

The primary goal of facility management is to create and maintain a safe, functional, and productive environment for the organisation and its occupants. 

What are facilities managers responsible for?

Facility managers are responsible for overseeing various aspects of facility operations, including:

1. Maintenance and Repairs: Planning and executing maintenance activities to keep the facilities in good working condition. This includes preventive maintenance, reactive repairs, and managing service contracts with external vendors.

2. Space Planning and Allocation: Optimising the use of space within the facilities to accommodate the organisation's needs. This involves designing layouts, allocating workspace to employees or departments, and managing office moves or reconfigurations.

3. Safety and Security: Implementing measures to ensure the safety and security of occupants, assets, and information. This includes conducting risk assessments, developing emergency response plans, monitoring security systems, and managing access control.

4. Energy and Environmental Management: Implementing strategies to minimise energy consumption and environmental impact. This involves monitoring energy usage, identifying opportunities for energy efficiency improvements, and implementing sustainable practices, such as waste management and recycling programs.

5. Asset Management: Managing the lifecycle of physical assets, including procurement, inventory management, and disposal. This includes assessing asset performance, planning for replacements or upgrades, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

6. Vendor Management: Overseeing relationships with external service providers, contractors, and suppliers. This includes procurement of services, contract negotiation and management, and performance monitoring.

7. Financial Management: Budgeting and cost control related to facility operations. This involves preparing and managing budgets, tracking expenses, and identifying opportunities for cost savings.

Facility management is a multidisciplinary field that requires a combination of technical knowledge, organisational skills, and the ability to collaborate with various stakeholders. By effectively managing facilities, organisations can create a conducive working environment, improve operational efficiency, and enhance the overall experience of occupants and visitors.

What are the core principles of Facilities Management

The core principles of facilities management revolve around ensuring the efficient and effective operation of physical assets and the overall support of an organisation. These principles can vary slightly depending on the context and specific needs of an organisation, but generally include the following:

1. Strategic Alignment: Facility management should align with the strategic goals and objectives of the organisation. Facilities should be designed, operated, and maintained in a way that supports the overall mission and vision of the organisation. This requires understanding the business needs and incorporating them into facility planning and management decisions.

2. Customer Focus: Facilities exist to support the people and activities within an organisation. Therefore, customer satisfaction is a central principle of facility management. Understanding the needs and expectations of occupants, employees, and other stakeholders is crucial for providing a safe, comfortable, and productive environment.

3. Lifecycle Approach: Facility management takes a long-term perspective and considers the entire lifecycle of physical assets. This includes planning, acquisition, operation, maintenance, and disposal. By considering the entire lifecycle, facility managers can optimise asset performance, reduce costs, and make informed decisions regarding repairs, replacements, and upgrades.

4. Integration and Collaboration: Facilities management involves collaboration with various internal and external stakeholders, such as employees, suppliers, contractors, and regulatory authorities. Effective communication, coordination, and cooperation across different departments and disciplines are essential for successful facility management.

5. Continuous Improvement: Facility management is a dynamic process that requires ongoing evaluation and improvement. Regular monitoring, performance measurement, and feedback mechanisms help identify areas for improvement and enable proactive decision-making. Facility managers should continuously seek innovative solutions, embrace new technologies, and adapt to changing needs and industry best practices.

6. Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility: Facility management should incorporate sustainable practices to minimise environmental impact. This includes energy-efficient operations, waste management, water conservation, and promoting environmentally friendly initiatives. Sustainable facility management contributes to cost savings, regulatory compliance, and corporate social responsibility.

7. Risk Management: Identifying and managing risks related to facility operations is a critical principle of facility management. This includes assessing potential risks, implementing preventive measures, developing emergency response plans, and ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations. Facility managers should prioritise occupant safety and minimise the potential for accidents, disruptions, or downtime.

By adhering to these core principles, facility managers can effectively meet the needs of their organisation, optimise resource utilisation, and create a sustainable and productive environment for occupants and stakeholders.

Outsourcing Facilities Management

Facility management can be outsourced to external service providers. Many organisations choose to outsource facility management functions to specialised companies or professionals who have expertise in managing and maintaining facilities. 

This outsourcing arrangement allows the organisation to focus on its core business activities while leveraging the specialised knowledge and resources of the service provider. Here are some well-known companies that provide facilities management services:

1. CBRE Group, Inc.

2. JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle)

3. Cushman & Wakefield

4. Sodexo

5. ISS Facility Services

6. Aramark

7. Compass Group

8. G4S plc

9. ABM Industries Inc.

10. Johnson Controls

11. Mitie Group PLC

12. Colliers International

These companies have a global presence and offer a wide range of facility management services, including maintenance and repairs, space planning, energy management, security, cleaning, catering, and more. It's important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and there are many other reputable facility management service providers available in the market. 

When selecting a service provider, it's recommended to evaluate their expertise, track record, client references, and the specific services they offer to ensure they align with your organisation's needs.

In-house vs Outsource Facility Management

The decision to have in-house facility management or to outsource it depends on various factors and considerations specific to each organisation. Here are some key points to consider when comparing in-house facility management with outsourcing:

In-House Facility Management

Having your facility management in-house essentially means more control and internal alignment, but the main points are below:

1. Control and Direct Oversight: Having an in-house facility management team provides direct control and oversight over facility operations. The organisation can have full visibility and immediate decision-making authority over maintenance, repairs, and other facility-related activities.

2. Alignment with Organisational Culture: In-house facility management allows for better integration and alignment with the organisation's culture, values, and strategic objectives. The team can be specifically trained to understand the organisation's unique requirements and cater to its specific needs.

3. Tailored Solutions: In-house facility management enables customization and tailoring of processes and services to suit the organisation's specific requirements. The team can adapt quickly to changing needs and can have a deeper understanding of the organisation's unique challenges and opportunities.

4. Control over Costs: With in-house facility management, the organisation has more control over the costs associated with facility operations. It can directly manage and allocate the budget for maintenance, repairs, and other facility-related expenses.

Outsourcing Facility Management

1. Specialised Expertise: Facility management service providers bring specialised expertise and experience to the table. They have a dedicated focus on facility management and often possess industry best practices, knowledge of the latest technologies, and access to specialised resources.

2. Cost Savings and Efficiency: Outsourcing facility management can result in cost savings for the organisation. Service providers may have economies of scale, allowing them to provide services more efficiently and cost-effectively. Additionally, outsourcing eliminates the need for the organisation to invest in hiring and training in-house facility management staff.

3. Access to Innovation: Facility management service providers often have access to advanced technologies, tools, and industry trends. They can bring innovation to facility operations, implementing new systems and processes to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and occupant experience.

4. Focus on Core Competencies: Outsourcing facility management allows the organisation to focus on its core business activities and strategic priorities. It frees up internal resources, allowing them to be allocated to areas that directly contribute to the organisation's primary objectives.

5. Scalability and Flexibility: Outsourcing offers scalability and flexibility in facility management services. The organisation can adjust the level of support and resources based on its changing needs. It allows for agility in expanding or reducing services as the organisation evolves.

Ultimately, the choice between in-house facility management and outsourcing depends on factors such as the organisation's size, complexity of facilities, available resources, budget, strategic priorities, and the need for specialised expertise. 

Some organisations may opt for a hybrid approach, combining in-house management for certain critical functions while outsourcing others. A thorough analysis of these factors and careful consideration of the organisation's specific requirements can help in making an informed decision.

In-house facility management for smaller organisations

In-house facility management can be advantageous for smaller organisations for several reasons:

1. Cost Control: Smaller organisations may have more limited budgets and resources. With in-house facility management, they have direct control over costs and can allocate their budget more efficiently. They can make informed decisions on spending, prioritise essential maintenance tasks, and have a better understanding of the direct impact on their finances.

2. Flexibility and Customization: Smaller organisations often have unique needs and requirements that may benefit from a more customised approach. With in-house facility management, they have the flexibility to tailor services to their specific needs, adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and implement solutions that are directly aligned with their organisational goals.

3. Close Collaboration: Smaller organisations typically have a more closely-knit work environment. In-house facility management enables direct collaboration and communication between facility management staff and other departments. This close collaboration can enhance the overall coordination, efficiency, and effectiveness of facility operations.

4. Quick Response and Decision-Making: In-house facility management allows for faster response times to facility-related issues and emergencies. Since the staff is directly on-site, they can quickly address maintenance or repair needs, minimising potential disruptions. Additionally, immediate decision-making authority empowers in-house facility managers to make critical decisions promptly without needing to go through external approval processes.

5. Alignment with Organisational Culture: Smaller organisations often have a distinct culture and set of values. In-house facility management allows for better alignment with the organisation's culture, ensuring that facility operations are consistent with the overall vision, mission, and values of the organisation.

However, it's important to note that smaller organisations may face resource constraints when it comes to hiring and training in-house facility management staff. They might lack the specialised expertise and resources that larger organisations or professional service providers can offer. In such cases, they may consider selectively outsourcing specific facility management functions or seeking external consultation to augment their capabilities.

9 Free Facility Management Software Tools

Here is a list of some free facility management software that you can consider:

1. FaultFixers(Free Trial): FaultFixers offers a free trial of its simple but powerful maintenance management platform.

2. Fiix (Free Plan): Fiix offers a free plan that includes basic features for maintenance management, work orders, asset tracking, and reporting. (Paid plans with advanced features are also available.)

3. eMaint CMMS (Free Trial): eMaint CMMS offers a free trial of its computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) software. The trial allows you to explore its features for work orders, asset management, preventive maintenance, and reporting.

4. Hippo CMMS (Free Plan): Hippo CMMS provides a free plan for small teams, which includes basic functionalities such as work order management, preventive maintenance, asset tracking, and reporting.

5. UpKeep (Free Plan): UpKeep offers a free plan that supports work order management, asset tracking, inventory management, and basic reporting. (Paid plans with additional features are available.)

6. Limble CMMS (Free Plan): Limble CMMS offers a free plan with limited features, including work orders, asset tracking, and basic reporting.

7. MaintainX (Free Plan): MaintainX provides a free plan for small teams, offering features like work orders, inspections, maintenance requests, and team messaging.

8. ManagerPlus (Free Trial): ManagerPlus offers a free trial of its maintenance management software, providing access to features like work orders, asset management, scheduling, and reporting.

9. Infraspeak (Free Trial): Infraspeak offers a free trial of its facility management software, which includes functionalities such as maintenance management, asset tracking, inventory control, and reporting.

It's worth noting that while these software options have free plans or trial versions, they may have limitations in terms of the number of users, assets, or features available. Make sure to thoroughly evaluate each software's features, compatibility with your organisation's needs, and potential upgrade options or pricing plans beyond the free offerings.

Download Our Preventative Maintenance Excel Template
Want a template to work from? Download our Excel Maintenance Template
Read about our privacy policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get Started Today

Try our Maintenance Management Software for Free

Try our digital maintenance management software for free. Set up your facilities, import your asset information and invite your team members for free.