Facilities managers are responsible for the management of services and processes that support the core business of an organisation. They ensure that an organisation has the most suitable working environment for its employees and their activities. Duties vary with the nature of the organisation, but facilities managers generally focus on using best business practice to improve efficiency, by reducing operating costs while increasing productivity.
This is a wide field with a diverse range of responsibilities, which are dependant on the structure and size of the organisation. Facilities managers are involved in both strategic planning and day-to-day operations, particularly in relation to buildings and premises. Likely areas of responsibility include:
Facilities managers are employed in all sectors and industries and the diversity of the work may be reflected in different job titles such as operations, estates, technical services, asset or property manager.
Responsibilities for facilities managers often cover several departments, as well as central services that link to all the teams in the organisation. In smaller companies, duties may include more practical and hands-on tasks. Many facilities management professionals are employed on a consultancy basis, contracted to manage some or all of these activities by a client organisation.
Typical tasks may include:
Salary figures are intended as a guide only.
Entry is open to graduates of all disciplines although certain subjects are particularly useful. The University of Central Lancashire offers an undergraduate degree in facilities management, but other relevant subjects include:
Entry can be made with just an HND/foundation degree and it is helpful if the qualification is in a relevant subject such as facilities management, business studies or management.
Entry without a degree/HND is possible although this will usually be at a lower level. Once a job is obtained, relevant qualifications are usually then studied for while working. This includes level 3 qualifications from the Institute of Leadership and Management , which consist of an award, certificate and diploma in facilities management, or various qualifications at different levels from the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) .
Postgraduate diplomas and Masters are available in facilities management and these can be particularly useful (especially if you want to become chartered) if you do not have a relevant first degree. Postgraduate qualifications can also aid career progression.
It is also possible to move into this job from another related role, especially if relevant professional qualifications, such as those in surveying, accountancy and estate management, have been obtained. It is common for those with some sort of building services/engineering or office management/administration background to enter facilities management.
Candidates need to show evidence of the following skills and abilities:
Pre-entry experience is desirable and a placement year in industry from a relevant degree can prove to be particularly useful. Any experience in related areas such as management, building or construction will also be a help, so consider any part-time or vacation work in relation to this.
For more information, see work experience and internships and search courses and research.
The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) offers a number of qualifications. These include the level 5 facilities management qualification, which is aimed at those who deal with specialised and complex functions at middle or senior management level, and the level 6 qualification, aimed at facilities managers with high levels of responsibility who wish to develop their strategic skills.
If you have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) you can become a chartered surveyor within the Facilities Management (FM) Faculty. To do so you must successfully complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) offered by RICS, which is a structured training programme lasting around two years. Training needs to be logged and evidenced and you will have regular meetings with a supervisor. You also need to complete a set amount of hours of professional development and pass an assessment interview.
Facilities managers are also involved in continuous professional development, usually made up of external short courses and in-house training. As well as practical and business skills training, some courses in areas such as health and safety, and legislation and regulation will be essential for relevant certification. Specialist training opportunities are offered by organisations such as the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) and the Facilities Management Association (FMA) . In addition, Masters degrees are increasingly popular qualifications for the sector.
It’s also important to keep up to date with developments in the sector and becoming a member of organisations such as BIFM, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) can help.
For further ideas about training, go to Asset Skills .
Facilities managers may start in assistant manager roles focused on one operation, such as cleaning, catering or maintenance. They may then progress to being the manager of the department and subsequently move into general management where they are in charge of all the operations. There may be area, regional and sector management roles to follow before achieving director level.
It is also possible to specialise in consultancy and some facilities managers go on to set up their own consultancy business. If working in a small organisation, career progression may be dependant on moving to a larger company which has more managerial roles to offer.
Seeking opportunities to work with different operations and functions is a useful way to secure career progression and gain further experience.
Flexibility, multi-tasking and client-management skills, coupled with commercial acumen and the ability to juggle tight budgets mean that facilities managers are well placed to take up other general management jobs within their organisations or in different sectors.
Facilities managers are found in virtually every kind of business in the public, private and non-profit making sectors. Job titles may vary to suit particular portfolios of responsibilities. Larger organisations are more likely to require a facilities manager with a strategic overview of a range of functions and supporting services. Typical employers include:
Be aware that jobs in the field of facilities management are likely to be described by many different job titles. Reading sector publications and websites will build familiarity with common terminology and the range of titles.
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