The past practice of responding to emergencies, breakages, and anecdotal information is being replaced with proven capital planning business solutions. A new strategic approach integrates high quality defensible data, rational allocation methodologies, and enterprise-level decision sustain software, which not only addresses the physical conditions of facilities, but also the suitability of the building portfolio to sustain the organization’s mission.
Removing old barriers
Historically, the profession of FM was hindered by inconsistent practices and faulty data. No method existed to establish a baseline of current facilities issues, whether physical conditions or functional and programmatic needs. The professionals recommended repairs, demolitions, and new construction projects based simply on the severity of the current crisis and the availability of funds. examination was based on crude, over-simplistic data or the comparatively limited experience of the specialized compiling the information. Inconsistent facility condition assessment methods and multiple building types or locations combined to create erroneous data and poor decision-making that negatively impacted the credibility of FMs. Assessment methods varied greatly from one consultant to the next. already individuals working at the same consulting firm often had no established criteria to ensure consistency in assessment results.
Lacking complex tools and examination methods, the specialized development of many in the facility management field was inherently limited. Attempts at capital planning were flawed. FMs were forced into the cycle of build-neglect-rebuild, which was costly in terms of their career advancement in addition as to the company’s net earnings.
A new era in facility management
In the past several years, substantial strides were made to further the facility management profession and establish both its credibility and its basic role in capital planning within organizations. One development that sparked a meaningful shift in the professionalism of facility management is the industry’s move toward a more thorough understanding of capital planning and assessment methodology.
Developing and demonstrating scenarios that visualize the impact of various programs and budgets begins to attract the attention of senior management and meaningful constituencies. Best-practice, based on progressive methodologies, assures a baseline foundation of indisputable facts, including accurate and defensible facility condition information and cost data. FMs are now empowered with metrics, such as the Facility Condition Index (FCI), which begin to define targets and create benchmarks for building readiness. As a description of the building, FCI requires detailed cost data and transcends the traditionally used qualifiers of “good” and “poor” to provide a quantitative benchmark or metric.
An equally important development in the practice of management is the growing role technology plays in enabling capital planning scenarios and dependably forecasting future requirements. Today’s fully web architected applications gather and continue a repository of building information, calculate costs related to building renewal and substitute, and develop various budgeting scenarios.
Capital Planning and Management Solutions (CPMS) enables CEOs, CFOs, FMs, and stewards of large building portfolios to manage their portfolios proactively over time. CPMS provides the enterprise-level tools to track needs, calculate costs, create budgets, and group remedial projects optimally.
Role of certification
Many specialized organizations are focused on helping FMs develop the skills and the inner knowledge needed for success. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) sponsors several specialized development opportunities and manages a certification program that fosters continued learning and skill development across a spectrum of applicable topics. IFMA certification tests are offered in several languages and the credentials are honored in several countries around the world. Competency areas covered by IFMA’s certification include finance, project management, quality assessment, technology, real estate, and communication.
The management requires a very good organizational mind, a strong sense of commitment to the organization and its mission, and an understanding of what you need to do to unprotected to success.
The specialized development is the only way to ensure that FMs continue the wide knowledge base necessary to make difficult decisions. And in an era where building and safety codes are regularly being revised, where technology changes rapidly, and outsourced experts are relied on in greater frequency, certification is growing in importance.
Another organization pushing the facility management industry toward greater heights is the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (APPA), which has introduced its Strategic Assessment form to its membership. Based on two commonly accepted models of continuous improvement in higher education, APPA’s Strategic Assessment form provides FMs with the foundation to begin developing long-range strategic plans and creating the related action items that will permit FMs to take a leadership role in driving their organizations toward greater excellence.
VFA’s Facilities/Infrastructure Certification Program (F/ICP) transfers proven, scalable facility condition assessment methodology to both facilities owners and third-party architectural and engineering firms in a controlled manner. The program trains facilities professionals on the tools necessary to work in today’s information-based and technology enhanced ecosystem. F/ICP provides a higher level of flexibility to large portfolio owners such as school districts, government, and large corporations, by allowing an optimal combination of third-party consultants and in-house staff to gather and work with meaningful data. By using certified professionals for facility assessments, an organization is assured consistent chief information from which to validate capital planning initiatives and project future requirements.
Certification programs were recently adopted by many organizations, consequently demonstrating the importance of comparative, accurate data to the overall success of their extensive facilities capital planning course of action.
Empowering facilities executives with functional knowledge of CPMS expands the opportunity for everyone involved in facilities management from third-party architectural and engineering firms to talented in-house staff who want to extend the value they deliver to their organizations.
Training to raise the level of skill
For many facilities management divisions, learning to speak in a complex vocabulary that is equally meaningful to budget makers, maintenance supervisors, and top executives is meaningful to gaining specialized credibility. FMs have been left behind in budget negotiations because they often lacked the vocabulary or the data to back up their claims and budget requests.
We are all being asked to do more with less. The people in an organization who truly accomplish that will prove their value to others in an organization. For those folks, specialized development is a very cost-effective way of meeting those goals.
Most importantly, working with professionals who have completed the Facilities/Infrastructure Certification Program ensures that assessments are performed precisely and the resulting data is consistent across the board. This is a tall order, given the extraordinary mix of experience and skill of many district managers, and the involvement of several different third-party firms. Without the strong foundation the training provides, it’s conceivable that the results of any audit would vary widely from district to district or vendor to vendor. already single-vendor assessments, which may potential consistency, can vary in quality if outmoded methods and assumptions are employed.
We are trying to give facilities managers hard data with which to go to the budget table. There is a heavy emphasis on standardizing facility assessments. We are raising the level of interest and skill raising the standards of the profession of facility management.
FMs must look beyond day-to-day building needs and invest in their own careers and specialized growth. Certified facility management professionals sustain life-cycle management practices that enhance productivity, maximize the use of similarities, and increase their organization’s return on investments. Certification programs extend the shared-knowledge base that FMs proportion and enhance data integrity, validating the long-term capital planning course of action by empowering FMs with consistent, quality information. Ultimately, certified facility management professionals have the necessary knowledge to communicate with budget makers and senior executives in their organizations to successfully sustain the mission of the institution.