facility management guide

The global facility management market is booming. A recent report by MarketsandMarkets put its value at more than €44 billion in 2023. By 2028, that’s expected to rise beyond €85 billion. Ireland represents a significant slice of that, with homegrown facility management accounting for around €2.6 billion.  
 
Despite businesses being more worried than ever about the bottom line, outsourcing facility management is becoming increasingly attractive for businesses. Below, we’ll explore the outsourcing model in more detail, along with whether there’s still a place for in-house services. Check out our facility management guide below.

What is facility management

Facility management (FM) serves a crucial role in the everyday running of a workplace. When they are delivered effectively, facility management services can yield significant efficiency and productivity gains. Any organisation can benefit from these services, from small businesses still establishing themselves to enterprise-level operations. Good facility management actively listens to the needs of the people who use a workspace while integrating technological solutions to deliver results. 
 
FM involves a fairly broad remit, with many different tasks the duty of a facility manager or facilities management team. These essential tasks are broadly split down the middle and categorised as either hard or soft facility management services.  

Hard FM 

When we refer to hard FM, we’re talking about those facility management services that relate to the building itself. “These building-specific tasks are essential for day-to-day operations but also ensure the welfare of those using the building,” said Ray Brosnan, Brosnan Property Solutions’ Managing Director. What’s more, they ensure that the latest health and safety regulations are being upheld. In many cases, there’s a legal obligation to provide them. Typical hard FM services include:  

  • HVAC systems 
  • Lighting, mechanical and electrical systems 
  • Fire safety systems 
  • Plumbing, gas and heating 
  • Health and Safety 
  • Structural maintenance 
  • Preventative maintenance 

Soft FM 

Unlike hard FM services, soft FM services aren’t generally required by law. However, they play an important role in shaping an efficient and productive workplace. Soft FM services focus on enhancing the functionality of a space, both for employees and visitors. Although it’s used less intensively than with hard FM services, technology can help streamline the delivery of soft facility management, especially in larger organisations. Commonly encountered soft FM services include:  

  • Waste management 
  • Space organisation and planning 
  • Security 
  • Pest control services 
  • Cleaning services 
  • Landscaping and grounds maintenance 
  • Catering services 

What is the point of FM solutions? 

Why is facility management important? Below, we’ll explore some of the biggest benefits of FM to business.  

Management Made Simple 

Keeping track of employees and site visitors is important for larger facilities. Thankfully, FM services like visitor logs, access control solutions, and security systems provide you with an easy way to monitor the whereabouts and activities of anyone on site.

Essential Everyday Maintenance 

You’ll need to rely on a combination of hard and soft FM services for facility upkeep. Individually, these services are manageable. Combined, they can prove difficult to process, especially if you’re relying on outside contractors. FM can simplify the induction process for these personnel, ensuring essential maintenance is delivered as efficiently as possible.  

Strict Adherence to Health and Safety 

No company can cut corners when it comes to adhering to safety standards and regulations. In Ireland, the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act lays out more than 175 of them. You’ll need to meet all of them to safeguard your employees, visitors, and the facility itself.  

Streamlined Solutions for Enhanced Efficiency 

There’s no room for a bottleneck in a busy operation. FM brings the power of automation to your business. Pre-registration and automated sign-in systems can streamline the induction of site visitors, bringing you significant efficiency gains.  

Adoption of IoT Technology 

A mere 26% of smaller enterprises in the European Union have adopted IoT technology. However, the IoT is essential if you want to create a truly connected workplace. Relying on different technologies to juggle FM only leads to confusion. With a unified platform, you centralise your FM workflows and resolve issues far more quickly.  

Who does FM impact? 

How It Impacts the Company 

No matter where you stand on the in-house vs outsourcing debate, the benefits of facility management can’t be dismissed. Without it, every single aspect of the business suffers. Essential assets aren’t maintained, while basic supply inventories aren’t restocked. 

In a worst-case scenario, second-rate FM can result in a complete shutdown of operations. The health and safety aspects of FM are also invaluable, protecting companies from having to settle eye-watering settlements and fines.  

How It Impacts the Employee 

Employees are generally more productive when they’re provided a comfortable space to work in. Without results-driven FM, it would be easy for employees to disengage from a company when faced with constant technical issues or unsafe working conditions. 

Even seemingly minor issues can have a major impact on employee well-being. If an employee depends on reliable network connectivity to hit their quotas, constant signal drop-offs and sign-in issues are going to be a major problem.  

How It Impacts the Customer 

Don’t forget about those customers who might be visiting your business. What kind of first impression are you making? A poorly maintained exterior will leave nothing but a bad impression on most visitors, while consistent equipment failures and subsequent downtime can derail order estimates and turnaround times. If issues like these become the standard rather than the exception, you’ll find that your credibility will start to suffer. Let it continue, and you jeopardise your reputation.  

What does a facility manager do? 

Managing Contracts 

If you generally prefer outsourcing facility management, you might not have a clear idea of the responsibilities of a typical facilities manager. This is understandable to an extent. After all, if a facilities manager takes a more preventative approach than a reactive one, their role will primarily remain a behind-the-scenes one. Nonetheless, it’s important to give facility managers and the jobs they perform the respect they deserve.  
 
No two working days in the life of a facility manager are ever the same. They need to be constantly prepared to respond to any potential issue while demonstrating a surprisingly broad skill set. Being a strong communicator with good organisation skills helps, but the best facility managers can also think analytically. While remits can vary between companies, many facility managers find themselves tasked with some of the duties outlined below. 

Every FM needs to deal with many different vendors daily. Being able to foster and maintain positive relationships is an essential skill for facility managers.  

Health and Safety 

As far as health and safety go, the buck stops with facility managers. As well as being versed in the latest regulations, facility managers need to be actively working toward ensuring workplaces are fully compliant.  

Inventory Control 

Often overlooked, inventory management is a key duty for any facility manager. A bird’s-eye view of inventory levels makes it easier to manage costs and plan for maintenance.  

Routine Maintenance and Testing 

If a company leases or owns a building outright, they’re responsible for all general maintenance. Or rather, the facility manager is. A key aspect of routine maintenance is the testing and inspection of safety systems and hardware assets to ensure you are fully compliant with the latest regulatory guidance.  
 
This is just some of what an FM may be faced with on any given day. There’s also maintaining a reliable communications infrastructure, overseeing space management, consulting on property strategy, and more.  

Should you hire in-house or outsource?

Across many industry sectors, outsourcing has become the new normal as far as FM is concerned. According to a recent report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company, more than half of FM in North America, Europe, and the Middle East is outsourced.  
 
Deciding which approach is right for you isn’t always easy. First, you’ll need to look at your requirements. What type of industry sector do you operate in? What kind of existing resources and skilled personnel do you have at your disposal? What’s more, you’ll need to take a look at your current maintenance budget and decide whether you can continue to manage FM in-house while still protecting the bottom line.  

In-House 

Although outsourced facility management now dominates the market, there’s still an appetite for in-house FM services. An in-house approach can work well for smaller companies, but there are several caveats to consider. 

First, while in-house teams may be able to bring a few specific skills to the table, they lack the multi-pronged solutions offered by a partnership with an external FM provider.  

It’s not just a lack of specialised skills that holds in-house FM back. Few in-house teams have access to the tools required to remedy a situation quickly, or the technologies that can help streamline everyday operations and enable workplace efficiency. 

Pros 
  • Stop Unnecessary Spending: You decide when assets need to be replaced when it makes financial sense to your business. 
  • Preventive Maintenance: You can plan to control costs and extend the lifespan of your assets. 
  • Complete Control: You maintain oversight of all FM processes and make the final call on everything. 
Cons 
  • Skills Shortage: Outsourcing may become the only option when you find you can’t recruit employees with sufficient experience. 
  • Extended Remits: Along with FM duties, a facility manager needs to take charge of training and professional development, not to mention vendor management and other duties. 
  • Bad Investments: It’s easy to overspend on assets you’ll only use once. 

Outsource 

There’s a reason why outsourcing has become the new go-to for companies looking for FM services. Outsourcing brings with it the benefits of increased availability, a broader range of skills, and industry-leading insights. As most FM providers will be catering to other clients, sometimes in your industry, you can also be confident that your FM provision stacks up well against your competitors.  

Pros 
  • Save Money: You enjoy round-the-clock access to FM services having to budget for 24-hour in-house teams. 
  • A Flexible Solution: Access the latest tech and industry insights from people with the right resources and connections. 
  • Reduced Liability: You say goodbye to liability when you outsource FM to another party. 
Cons 
  • Can Be Expensive: Outsourcing may seem pricey initially, but you can offset this by choosing a reliable provider offering a variety of essential services. 
  • Less Control: Long-serving facility managers can feel at odds with a third-party FM provider taking over some of their remit. 
  • Vendor Management: You’ll still need to keep tabs on inventory levels and communicate with vendors, even if you’re outsourcing. 

Hire Us As Your Facility Management Service Providers 

Has your facility management requirement outgrown your in-house team? It’s time to explore outsourcing. At Brosnan Property Solutions, we offer a complete facility management service. We’ll work with you to identify your immediate needs, goals, and objectives, before putting together a bespoke FM solution that perfectly aligns with your strategic direction. 
 
Ready to talk about your FM needs in more detail? Get in touch with the team today. 

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