Facility Management

Facility management is an interdisciplinary field primarily devoted to the maintenance and care of commercial or institutional buildings, such as hospitals, clinics, hotels, resorts,schools, office complexes, sports arenas or convention centers. Duties may include the care of air conditioning, electric power, plumbing and lighting systems; cleaning; decoration; groundskeeping and security. Some or all of these duties can be assisted by computer programs. These duties can be thought of as non-core or support services, because they are not the primary business (taken in the broadest sense of the word) of the owner organization.

It is the role of the facility management function (whether it is a separate department or small team) to coordinate and oversee the safe, secure, and environmentally-sound operations and maintenance of these assets in a cost effective manner aimed at long-term preservation of the asset value, and also other janitorial duties such as making sure the environment is properly cleaned and sanitized for its tenants. In those cases where the operation of the facility directly involves the occupants and/or customers of the owner organization, the satisfactory delivery of facility-related services to these people will be an important consideration too; hence, the term “end-user satisfaction” is often used both as a goal and a measure of performance.

The term facility management is similar to property management although not exactly the same. While both manage the day to day operations of a facility the property such as cleaning, maintenance and security, similar to Janitors, one must not confuse it with such a title. The property manager has an expanded role which includes leasing and marketing activities whereas the facility manager role focuses on existing tenants who usually are owner occupants. An important feature of facility management is that it takes account of human needs of its tenants in the use of buildings and other constructed facilities. These softer factors complement the harder factors associated with the maintenance and care of engineering services installations.

According to Atkin and Brooks, an important concept in the facility management field is that of outsourcing, where the owner enters into an arrangement with external organizations to provide one or more services in preference to their being provided through internal arrangements. The reasons for this action can vary, including lack of in-house resources, lack of expertise and pressure to reduce costs. Unfortunately, confusion can exist because of the close association that facility management has with outsourcing. The two concepts are not synonymous; rather, outsourcing is one means for providing facility-related services to the owner organization.

Facility management is performed during the operational phase of a building’s life cycle, which normally extends over many decades. As such, it will represent a continuous process of service provision to support the owner’s core business and one where improvement will be sought on a continuous basis. It is essential that decision-making in the preceding design and construction phases is therefore properly informed about operational requirements if the facility is to provide optimal support to the owner’s business. In this connection, facility management can be seen as an integral part of a coordinated and controlled process of design, engineering, construction and operations. Where a facility is provided on a turnkey basis, for example design-build-finance-operate (DBFO), the consortium responsible for the delivery of the physical asset and then operating the core service will need to understand implicitly the day-to-day demands in managing that facility. Under such arrangements – typically public-private partnerships (PPP) – owner-operators must fully integrate operational thinking into early design decision-making.

A major challenge facing facility owners is reducing demand for energy for economic reasons, but also because energy consumption goes hand-in-hand with carbon emissions. Reducing energy during the operational phase of a facility’s life similarly reduces carbon emissions. When considering that 30-40% of a country’s total carbon emissions is attributable to buildings and other constructed facilities, it is clear that operations and, hence, facility management have a significant role to play.


The discipline of facility management and the role of facility managers in particular are evolving to the extent that many managers have to operate at two levels: strategic-tactical and operational. In the former case, owners need to be informed about the potential impact of their decisions on the provision of space and services. In the latter, it is the role of a facility manager to ensure proper operation of all aspects of a building to create an optimal environment for the occupants to function. This is accomplished by managing some of the following activities.

Environmental Health and Safety

Waste Removal

OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety)Regulations (could be a different organization depending on type of building i.e. hospital)

HAZMAT (Hazardous Material) compliance

Building Cleanliness: This sub-discipline of facility management includes routine cleaning (restrooms, common areas) as well as more specific emphasis on dust control and hygiene maintenance.

Dust control is an increasing concern and is crucial for providing a “safer and healthier environment for employees and customers.” Indeed, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases notes that dust mites are a common cause of perennial allergic rhinitis, an affliction that affects roughly 60 million people in the United States. The Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) attributes 70% of dust inside the workplace to the outdoors. According to the TRSAA, floor mats placed inside building entrances capture up to 70% of dust debris. Specialty mops are an integral component of addressing dust control.

Workplace cleanliness can be addressed by both employer and employee, though only in the former is the concept formally considered facility management. The latter concerns the introduction of hand sanitizers, for instance, to reduce the spread of germs.

Managing a Network – A Brief Overview

At the time when Ethernet was invented by Bob Metcalfe, computer chips were being produced by Intel. These chips provided almost unlimited capability of processing and transmission for servers and networks. At the same time, software, developed by Microsoft, were gulping down all available processing power. Network management is the key task in maintaining a balance between the hardware capability and software consumption.

Managing network varies with the application. There is no unique way that is applicable to every environment. However, there are some common elements which are applicable to almost all network applications. The definition of network management says “It is a process to maximise the reliability and utilisation of network components in order to optimise network availability and responsiveness”. There are six key decisions that are required to be made, which influence the strategy of a high-level network management process. There are six questions that need to be answered, and once answered; they will be used to formulate the definition of the scope of responsibility and functional areas of the network management environment. These six key questions are:

– What will be managed by this process?

– Who will manage it?

– How much authority will be given?

– What types of tools and support will be provided?

– To what extent will other processes be integrated with this process?

– What levels of service and quality will be expected?

The question comes up, what will be managed by this process? The answer is, it is the network. But this answer is found to be too vague. It does not answer as to who is responsible for which aspects of the network. This becomes essential in large complex environments, where networks, spanning the world, would vary in terms of topology, platform, protocols, security, and suppliers.

There could be some infrastructures that are made responsible for both classified and unclassified networks, having a wide variety of security requirements, supplier involvements, and government regulations. This should be an early decision, as far as network management is concerned. It is imperative to decide which elements of the management task would be managed by which department. For instance, the responsibility to manage encryption could be given to a government agency, and the in-house security department of the organisation could be made responsible to manage network security, while the help desk facility is managed by the computer operations department, who would be administering network password and other allied tasks.

There are other decisions to make. Each of the network environments vary in terms of its priorities, directions, costs, and schedule. Major networking infrastructure hardly remains static, as far as its importance is concerned, popularity, and funding. There are constant changes that require the network management team to modify the management process. In this kind of a situation, early decisions need to be taken, and it is very much required that these decisions, regarding the management changes or amendments done, over the previous planning strategies, are communicated to all concerned parties.

Once the decision is taken on what will be managed, the next thing that comes up is who is going to manage. This is a decision which will determine the departments responsible for the respective management tasks, such as, design, implementation, and ongoing management of the process. Once the department is located, a person would have to be identified who will be assigned with the tasks. This person would be having the overall responsibility of the project assigned to him. The person identified will own the network management process, having the capability of a team leader, with skills to manage people. He should obviously be having network management skills, network resources, and skills to manage projects. As far as people management is concerned, the person responsible would need to involve himself working with developers on application profiles, transaction mix and arrival patterns, and planned increases in workloads, working close and effectively with users about desktop requirements, connectivity, and security.

The owner of the network management process should be well versed in network operating systems, utility programs, support software, and key hardware components, such as routers switchers, hubs, and repeaters. The person responsible should be target oriented, and have excellent skill in planning. It is desirable that the owner should have in-depth knowledge of infrastructure software and hardware and the ability to analyze metrics.

There are certain measures which provide the information about how effective the network management is performing. The effectiveness of the network could be seen from its service matrix, such as, network availability, network response times, and elapsed time to log on. The process efficiency could be measured by the network’s process matrix, such as, outages caused by network design, maintenance, carriers testing, nonstandard devices, lack of training, and negligence.

Network management is completely a team work, with people who should be ideally being having the necessary certification in network management. There are several of these certification courses being offered, and one could get to enhance his skill in the field of specialty that he is in.