Facilities management (FM) is something many businesses should be taking seriously. FM can be broken down into two main categories: hard FM services and soft facility management services. 

Hard services guarantee that your physical assets remain in optimal condition while delivering essential building maintenance and ensuring things like plumbing systems remain free of problems. 

Meanwhile, soft FM encompasses a much wider range of services. It can include everything from car parking and catering to cleaning services and pest control. Most businesses adopt a combination of both classes of services. While they can seem like an unnecessary expense, hard and soft FM services can save you money in the long run.  
 
Are you thinking about outsourcing hard and soft FM services? Even if you have an in-house FM manager, they’re probably struggling to cope with an ever-expanding remit. Even an experienced FM manager will find it hard to cope with changing trends such as the shift to sustainability and new ways of thinking about energy management. 

At Brosnan Property Solutions, we’ve been supporting businesses with all their FM requirements for more than 20 years. Need some help deciding on which hard and soft services you should be investing in? Read on for everything you need to know.  

What is Facility Management? 

Facility management best practices include the day-to-day maintenance of buildings while ensuring the health and safety of those using those premises. They can include everything from boiler service and plumbing repair to landscape gardeners and handyman services. All services can be split into Soft FM and Hard FM.  
 
Why is facility management important? In most cases, FM happens in the background, causing little or no disruption to your everyday operations. 

  • FM makes financial sense if you’re looking to reduce operational costs and protect your business against downtime. 
  • FM brings many cost-saving benefits, from ensuring you’re using energy efficiently to making the most from your site. 
  • It also ensures you’re constantly in line with regulatory compliance, providing employees with a safe and stimulating environment to work in.  

What Are Hard Facility Management Services? 

Hard FM services are largely focused on maintaining buildings. Roof repairs, support from plumbers, and electrician services all fall into this category of facility management services. As well as property maintenance, hard FM services can include the maintenance of HVAC, lighting and fire safety systems.  
 
As hard FM services are tied to the building itself, they’re often required by law. They’re fundamental aspects of health and safety legislation, ensuring the physical safety and well-being of your employees.  

What Are Soft FM Services? 

Soft FM is a fairly broad category. In a general sense, soft FM includes any services required to keep your premises safe and secure. They also make your premises more comfortable for employees and visitors. “Many soft FM services aren’t required by law, meaning a lot of businesses trim them to save on outgoings. However, this is one area of FM where you don’t want to cut corners,” Ray Brosnan, the Managing Director of Brosnan Property Solutions, commented.  
 
Soft FM services can include everything from recycling and waste disposal to general housekeeping. While hard FM services address the structural integrity of your buildings, soft FM services focus on general maintenance. This can include gardening work or the upkeep of parking spaces. This category of FM also takes stock of your existing space and caters to the management of things like furniture and everyday assets in a clerical setting. It can also include the management of information systems, along with mail archiving and document storage.  

How To Manage Your Hard and Soft FM Services 

Managing a combination of soft and hard FM services might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. You have a few different ways of approaching this. You can use different providers to handle each type of service or seek out a contractor who can handle both. Alternatively, you can use an in-house facility manager. This individual will be responsible for hiring contractors or outsourcing FM services to external providers.  
 
The majority of companies use facilities management software to support FM remits. The best software allows facility managers to plan and schedule work, as well as submit job requisitions and action projects. Furthermore, it makes monitoring and reporting incredibly straightforward.  
 
Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software also makes sense if you’re looking to speed up your FM processes. It significantly improves property maintenance schedules. “No matter whether the focus is preventative, predictive or reactive maintenance tasks, CAFM software makes it easy to action jobs and keep a close eye on what’s happening,” Ray Brosnan said. The software also provides a convenient way of designating smaller tasks for individual technicians. The best software provides access to a full slate of supporting documents, including warranty and service details. Furthermore, technicians can upload photos of work carried out for later reference.  
 
If your business relies on expensive and complex machinery to function, CAFM software serves as an invaluable asset register. You’ll be able to keep track of the location and working status of all your assets. Additionally, this register will provide a comprehensive overview of the history of each machine and piece of equipment. How does this help you protect the bottom line? It spotlights the operational life of your assets, making it clear whether it’s best to invest in repairs to extend service or replace an asset entirely.  
 
CAFM software also lets you take charge of space management. You might be using a limited space inefficiently. Just a few minor changes might be all that’s required to amplify capacity. Alternatively, you can make welcome changes to seating and workspace arrangements that will bolster productivity.  
 
Finally, CAFM software and IoT technology can help you keep track of energy consumption. You’ll be able to determine where you’re overspending on things like lighting and heating, making changes accordingly. Have you had to rely on the Temporary Business Energy Support S.cheme (TBESS) to help cover rising energy costs? Being able to track your energy consumption is one of the simplest ways you curb spending. What’s more, you’re doing your bit for the environment, ensuring your business can boast about its green credentials.  

Should I Outsource These Services Instead? 

Thinking about outsourcing facility management? The good news is that you can outsource both soft and hard FM services. Many businesses choose to outsource hard FM services. The reason for this is simple. Many hard FM processes are complex, requiring extensive experience and a working knowledge of advanced systems. 

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to adopt a hybrid model. If your business relies on machinery that runs around the clock, having on-site technicians supported by an external FM provider is a good idea.  
 
Many businesses choose to cut corners when it comes to soft services. Some choose to employ in-house cleaners and support teams to provide soft services, while others ignore them altogether. However, every organisation should be thinking seriously about delivering a full suite of FM services.  
 
Outsourcing brings many benefits. In many cases, the cost-savings are significant, freeing up time and resources for other tasks. For smaller businesses with limited in-house experience, outsourcing FM also means that demanding property maintenance requirements can be kept on top of. This ensures every business is providing a safe and secure workplace for their employees and visitors.  

Looking for a Hard and Soft FM Service Provider? 

Thinking about outsourcing FM to a provider with extensive experience in hard and soft services? You’ve come to the right place. At Brosnan Property Solutions, we’ve been leading the way in FM for more than two decades. Whether you’re looking for hard services to handle physical assets or want to talk about soft services to ensure your facility is as well-managed as possible, we can help.  
 
Need to discuss your FM requirements in more detail? Use the online contact form to send us a query or call us on 0818 333770. 

More
articles