Facility management is an interdisciplinary field requiring expertise in business, interior design, environmental management, and construction. Duties of a facility manager are varied and shaped by not just the type of building being managed, but the type of industry they house. Facilities managers in hospitals might have an active role in infection prevention while facilities managers in a factory will be more concerned with productivity and safety.
Facilities managers oversee a team of employees from several different areas. This may include independent contractors, janitorial and maintenance staff, cafeteria workers, and security personnel. Facilities managers need to understand human resources management, be able to source service providers and vendors, read and interpret business contracts and know how to create budgets. They must also be able to measure the value of their management and its impact on the profits and expenses of the company.
Facilities managers are often charged with selection and housekeeping of carpet, paint, decor and office furniture. They need to select items that are aesthetically pleasing, cost effective, ergonomic and facilitate work. Facilities managers must have at least a superficial knowledge of the process flow of a company’s business so that design elements enhance rather than impede productivity. Traffic patterns, work flow, and rate of usage are aspects of interior design that need to be considered for quality facility management.
In the winter, facilities managers must ensure that snow is removed and sidewalks are salted to prevent accidents. In the summer, they are responsible for keeping the building cool. Facilities managers should understand basic HVAC principles for optimal building operation. They may also be charged with recycling manufacturing byproducts and are also responsible for waste removal. In facilities that use hazardous chemicals, facility managers must conform to and enforce EPA and OSHA guidelines.
Maintenance and Construction
Building maintenance is an important aspect of facility management not just to provide a safe and productive work environment, but also to preserve the value of physical assets owned by a company. Effective facility managers understand electrical wiring, basic plumbing and have experience with larger projects such as roofing. They may also be called to coordinate and oversee larger construction projects such as building an addition.
Facility management is a growing field with a projected growth of 12 percent by 2016 with an added 29,000 jobs in the field, according to the US Department of Labor. However, facility management is sensitive to economic downturns which may constrain growth as well as outsourcing which may inhibit salaries. Top level facility management executives can earn up to $200,000 a year while mid-level facilities managers earn $40,000-$50,000 a year.