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Next challenges for Facility Managers

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

According to the Building Owners & Management Association (BOMA), the most common challenges that building owners face include:

  • Increasing costs

  • Deferred maintenance issues

  • Increasing complexity of building systems

  • Aging infrastructures

  • Occupant comfort issues

Costs Break Down

Most building’s expenses break down into a similar distribution – largely fixed costs, followed by utility bills, repairs and maintenance expenses (R/M). On average, building owners spend 22% of their operating costs on energy and water. Corporate facilities typically spend slightly more on utilities ($2.70/sqf/year), while general multi-tenant buildings spend less ($2.25/sqf/year).

Many operators, when assessing only the value of energy bill reductions, will choose not to invest in energy retrofits. For building owners/users it is worrying that O&M costs have been growing! Accordingly to BOMA, energy and maintenance already count for more than 53% of these costs.

Buildings Energy Efficiency Gaps

A report from the British governmental innovation agency, INNOVATE UK, concluded that modern non-domestic buildings use 3.5 times energy than the designed and rarely they reach the expected performance level. Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) do not reliable predict actual energy use in buildings – and there is very little correlation between EPC’s and Display Energy Certificates (DEC), which record the actual energy use.

The graph below compares 17 buildings with both certificates. The present study also demonstrates that "EPCs are good at indicating the potential energy performance of a building – but they cannot account for changes in its design, operation and occupant behaviour".

The Facility Manager Role

Facilities Managers (FMs) are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of an organization’s buildings, ensuring that they meet legal requirements and health and safety standards. FMs operate across different business functions, working on both a strategic and operational level. Generally speaking, the role of the facility manager is to ensure that the facility is operating as it should on a daily basis by completing daily inspections and conducting proactive and reactive maintenance.

Today’s facility managers are so much more than mechanical engineers and electricians, they have become an increasingly valuable human asset for their role in business growth. Developments in technology, increasingly smart buildings and the use of tablets and smartphones in day-to- day work have resulted in a mountain of data to analyze.

The ability to correlate understand, and effectively react to data in real time is the next big challenge in Building Automation. The modern Facility Manager must fulfill their customer needs and innovate their practices to remain impactful in the facility management industry.

It’s not only about the amount of information to be processed, it´s also the time to process large data sets and act according to the best practices. Modern Facility Managers must change from a reactive role and be prepared to face daily changing challenges. Facility Managers must evolve from passive managers to proactive strategic business partners, by focusing on value creation (not just cost savings) and developing sustainable solutions, that leverage technology and empower service deliveries from data analysis.

In conclusion, Facility Managers must be focused on deliver personalized services.

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