The day one argument: getting FM in early

Getting facility management companies involved from the asset’s design stage will lead to less headaches in the long run - for both you and the FM team.

Alexander Pieri
Alexander Pieri

One of the first tech focused business articles that I produced early in my career was on a roundtable discussion on the benefits of data centres and cloud-based data storage.

The session proved quite illuminating, raising a number of good points on what was at the time, a fairly novel technology. Accessibility, reduced storage space and improved data recovery, were just a handful of compelling arguments put forth by the panel.

A key point that I found particularly interesting was in regards to the conversion of data stored on outdated technology. For companies that stored their data on magnetic storage tapes and compact disks, the move forward was hardly a stressful one. For those who remained on a paper-based filing system however, the leap into the digital age became a daunting endeavour.

Imagine how time consuming and costly it can be for companies to update records that stretch back almost 30 to 40 years. Comparatively speaking, organisations that invest in a solid IT foundation from inception, may have high startup costs but will likely spend less in the long-run.

A similar issue can be found now in the region’s FM industry - should FM companies get involved in a building’s design, even before the first brick is set?

The answer in Europe is already a clear ‘yes’, but the trend hasn’t quite caught on yet in the Middle East, despite the compelling arguments.

Perhaps the reason stems from the friction often encountered between designer and FM provider, whose viewpoints are traditionally far apart. One is typically concerned with aesthetics, the other durability.

But what can FM providers bring to the discussion table? Well, primarily, inputs on how to make an asset last longer, as well reducing its environmental impact. But it should be more than that. Input from the FM side should also highlight key design requirements that would aid providers in executing and delivering a top-notch service.

This could entail the allocation of space for cleaning teams to store equipment and supplies. It might include the installation of kitchens, to support FM companies with a catering, or who outsource that function. It could also include allocating space for access points into the building’s water supply system, in order to install filtered water dispensers.

To realise the concept of smart buildings, an area where nations are pushing for its implementation, it becomes critical to update back-end infrastructure systems. This will mean going digital, going into cloud and embracing ‘Big Data’.

Simply put, the sooner FM comes into the picture, the more effective its service capabilities will be.

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