The buildings where people live, work and play need to be comfortable, safe and fully operational. Consequently, these environments need to be managed and maintained effectively. So ladies and gents, please welcome facilities managers and facility maintenance staff!
Without the hard work of facilities management and maintenance staff, building temperatures would be too high or too low, and people would not be able to concentrate on their work. After all, nobody can type with thick woolly gloves on, and nobody wants pools of sweat turning their paperwork into mush.
Without these guys, emergency situations would be chaos! People would be running around the office screaming as soon as the fire alarm went off; jumping out of the window and trying to kiss the pretty receptionist because they swore they always would do.
If hospitals did not have dedicated facilities managers and maintenance staff, light bulbs would inconveniently be going out during vital brain surgery operations. Obviously this can’t happen! Therefore, facilities managers and maintenance staff are required to ensure that a building’s various facilities are safe and in full working order.
What companies hire facilities managers and maintenance staff?
People who pursue these careers work behind the scenes in all kinds of organisations. Their work is particularly valuable in enhancing the performance, productivity and efficiency of companies and public institutions.
Furthermore, these guys are integral to improving an organisation’s environmental friendliness. They make sure that waste, equipment and facilities are dealt with properly, and thus do their bit towards reducing the carbon footprint.
Facilities managers and maintenance staff may be employed on a permanent basis by an individual company. However, many people work on a contract basis for various different companies, or for a facilities management consultancy that will assign them to different projects.
What does it mean to be a facilities manager?
Facilities managers are responsible for planning and managing all the different services which help to make sure the entire environment of a building is safe, comfortable and running smoothly, including technical services (e.g. heating, fire alarm and air conditioning systems) and general services (e.g. cleaning, space management and security). People in this profession may also be responsible for maximising the use of space within a building.
Careers in this area will include both strategic and more hands-on tasks. For instance, a major part of a facilities manager’s role is making decisions about which services need to be employed, preparing tenders for different contractors, overseeing the chosen contractors’ work and making sure it meets proposed requirements.
These guys also make sure that maintenance work is carried out in line with budgets and is cost-effective. Consequently, a head for finance is a must for people looking to work in this area.
Emergency procedures and health and safety regulations are a primary concern for facilities managers. They need to make sure that all staff and employees are aware of these issues, and that all activities and equipment comply with these policies.
How can I get started in facilities management?
To pursue a career in facilities management, you can come from any academic background. However, great communications skills and the ability to motivate staff are essential for success.
It is also extremely useful to have an understanding and appreciation for health and safety policies and an idea of which essential facilities and services allow a business to function effectively.
Furthermore, facilities managers need to be resilient, confident and tenacious to deal with office politics, employee complaints and resistance to change.
Many of the contractors who are brought in to carry out facilities maintenance can be found in our other subsectors. For more detail, check out the following four subsectors now: Landscaping, Plumbing, Electricians and Interiors & Finishing.
What is technical maintenance?
Many technical maintenance specialists work in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry. Understandably, these technicians install, service, repair and maintain heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. They might be conducting surveys, planning the infrastructure of systems before installation, fitting the equipment, and carrying out essential maintenance work.
No specific academic background is needed for these professions. Therefore, a good route into this career path could be through an apprenticeship. These guys need to develop excellent specialist practical skills and a sound understanding of health and safety issues.
What’s a career in cleaning like?
Many careers are also available in the cleaning and support services professions. Professional cleaners and caretakers can work in all kinds of organisations and are vital to keeping buildings and facilities clean and tidy.
Arguably, cleaners are some of the most important people working in certain institutions, especially where a clean environment is of paramount importance, such as in hospitals, catering venues and scientific facilities.
No specific academic qualifications are required for these careers, but these people tend to need specialist training in the use of certain cleaning chemicals and techniques. Therefore, an apprenticeship might be a good route in.
So, do you think you could succeed in a career in facilities management and maintenance. If so, go ahead and apply for open roles and do what you were manage-MENT to to do! (Admit it, that was pretty brilliant.)