Put simply, facilities managers look after buildings once they’re built. They make sure our public spaces and workplaces are safe, healthy, sustainable, productive, and fit-for-purpose.

Airports, hospitals, banks, large offices, theatres, museums, film studios, universities, libraries, laboratories, shopping malls, urban parks, the Beehive, Scott Base, zoos … pretty much every facility you can think of has facilities managers working behind the scenes to ensure everything is running as it should be for the enjoyment, productivity and wellbeing of everyone using that space.

The Ultimate Enablers

Facilities managers contribute significantly to the success of an organisation by ensuring everyone is able to perform their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Just imagine how hard it would be to do your job well if your office was freezing, there was no running water, rubbish bins were overflowing, or you couldn’t recharge your laptop.

Safety First

FMs look after the health, safety and wellbeing of occupants. They’re the people who ensure smoke alarms and fire exit doors are regularly checked, that the building is compliant with the latest regulations, that air quality is good, and there is a plan in place for emergencies such as earthquakes and pandemics.

Eco-Warriors

In the built environment, FMs lead the way in climate change initiatives, sustainability and the management of water, waste and energy.

Super Skilled

Facilities management is incredibly diverse. Some of the areas FMs need to be skilled in include project management, commercial acumen, teamwork and communication, and property management. For a full list of core competencies, see here.

The All-Rounders

No two roles are the same, but here are some of the things a facilities manager might do:

  • Oversee building projects and renovations
  • Ensure the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are maintained and running well
  • Manage the use of energy and water resources, and the disposal of waste
  • Negotiate the purchase and leasing of buildings
  • Keep occupants safe by ensuring fire safety systems, building codes etc. are up to date
  • Plan for emergencies and natural disasters
  • Oversee cleaning and maintenance contracts
  • Plan how office space, furniture and technology are used, now and in the future
  • Oversee security, catering and vehicle fleets
  • Create strategic plans for future growth and new ways of working (where will everyone fit and what services will they need?)
  • Work with architects and design teams to ensure buildings not only look good, but work well too
  • Keep facilities up-to-date with societal changes e.g. provide charging stations for electric vehicles, compost bins for food scraps, standing desks and activity-based work areas

Faces of FM

 

Leanne Gibson

General Manager Facilities, Transport & Technology,

Wellington International Airport

 

Emilyn Ese

Senior Aquatics Facilities Specialist,

Auckland Council

 

Stuart Byrant

Head of Facilities, SkyCity

 

Stuart Graham

Manager of Facilities, Christchurch City Council

 

Phoenix Lavin

Design and Construction Interface Manager, Programmed Facility Management

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Watch: What FMs Do & Why Their Role is So Important