What is Facilities Management Support Services?
By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
Facilities are complex, comprising many moving parts and pieces. There are structural systems like HVAC, plumbing, and electricity, as well as systems such as access control and emergency alerting. Landscaping and exterior upkeep are important, as are janitorial and interior workplace management. All these aspects and more add up to the cumulative concept of facilities. It’s impossible for any one single person to oversee it all, which facilitates the need for facilities management support services.
What is facilities management support services? In short, they’re the many individuals, teams, and service partners responsible for delivering FM support services. Without the ability to delegate, facilities wouldn’t function and facilities managers wouldn’t be able to provide employees, visitors, and stakeholders with a superior workplace experience.
Delegating is key to keep facilities running
Facilities tasks span daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual schedules. Each aspect of facilities has hundreds (possibly thousands) of individual tasks. The only way to stay on-schedule and ensure proper upkeep of facilities is to delegate.
Delegating not only ensures tasks get done, but that they’re done by qualified personnel in a timely manner, with proper recordkeeping. To delegate appropriately takes a wide range of support service outlets. It doesn’t make sense to call an electrician to replace a lightbulb, just like it’s impossible for a janitorial staff member to install a new rooftop HVAC unit. Proper delegation sends the right task to the right person, at the right time.
Get familiar with support service providers
Facilities support services span many avenues and require a wealth of knowledge, experience, skills, and equipment to satisfy. Here’s a look at some of the broad-ranging service providers who may have a hand in facilities upkeep at the direction of a facilities manager:
- In-house staff: These are individuals on-staff, generally tasked with routine, low-level maintenance. Staff may include special craftspeople if operations demand it.
- Janitorial services: Janitorial staff take care of routine cleaning and sanitization, to keep facilities clean and employees in good health on a day-to-day basis.
- Grounds maintenance and landscaping: Groundskeeping staff oversee campus maintenance and upkeep of all exterior foliage and hardscaping.
- Private security services: This may include on-site security guards, cybersecurity firms, campus security, and access control experts tasked with employee safety.
- Waste management services: Waste management considers routine disposal and haulage needs, dependent on the waste generated by facilities.
- Seasonal service providers: These professionals may include everything from seasonal landscapers to energy efficiency experts who tend to season-specific building needs.
- Tradespeople and craftspeople: Plumbers, HVAC techs, carpenters, electricians, and other tradespeople define this essential group of support service partners.
There’s an even broader scope of support service partners out there, dependent on the needs of each company or building type. Examples include testing and inspections experts for environmental health and safety initiatives, and even legal and administrative partners to advise on special aspects of building upkeep and maintenance.
Not every facility manager will need a complete scope of support personnel, and not every company needs support in the same capacity. It’s up to facilities managers to identify the needs of the building(s) they manage and staff to meet them.
Software is essential for facilities management
How do managers coordinate all these tasks between such a wide breadth of support personnel? To do it effectively, they rely on facilities management software. Features like support ticketing can route requests for facilities upkeep to the right support team, while digital twins and enterprise asset management (EAM) software keep the most important aspects of building maintenance top-of-mind at all times. There’s also reporting and benchmarking to consider, which help determine the total cost of building ownership.
Software joins the many layers of facilities management to the many outlets that accomplish essential maintenance tasks. By automating, facility managers can delegate quickly and with precision, leaving them available to focus on high-level aspects of their job—like planning for the next capital improvement or recognizing opportunities for an integrated facilities management approach.
Facilities are growing more complex
Not listed above, but growing more prominent by the year, are support services surrounding intelligent buildings. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating demand for tech-savvy service professionals to maintain digital systems. It’s yet another reason to invest in FM software and embrace emerging concepts like integrated facilities management.
There’s an old saying that “It takes a village to raise a child.” The same could be said for facilities upkeep. No single person can keep facilities operating smoothly—only the combined efforts of facilities managers and a broad, diverse range of support service providers.
Keep reading: Why is Facility Management Important for Productivity?