Facilities managers’ relevance in today’s real estate devt

Real estate is, arguably, the biggest spend for the public and private sectors. It is one that will likely cause a big challenge –the balancing between getting value and implementing cost effective ways to manage a property. As we move into the post-covid-19 era, expectations have skyrocketed in terms of occupier priorities such as wellness and safety.

Before acquisition or development of real estate is undertaken for whatever purpose, there are important details, in terms of built environment operations, finances and personnel to consider. These are factors that will determine whether the real estate development and management will be successful in the long term. What, for example, are the short, medium and long-term positions of the property in the market and how can this be aligned to owners’ objectives and expectations?

Facility managers are critical to this plan, and to be relevant, must demonstrate new skills and competencies. As organizers of buildings and property, they must introduce strategies to protect and enhance facilities performance. They are ultimately responsible for ensuring cost effective ways of managing and delivering real benefits. Facility managers cannot, therefore, be one-dimensional. They must bring expertise that creates solutions tailored to unique needs.

For instance, facility managers must understand legislation and basic legal and compliance issues around maintenance and management of facilities in their areas of operation, including disability, health and safety issues and development of assets management plans.

Read also: Ramos Realty wins Best Luxury Real Estate Company at African Excellence Awards

Analytical skills are important for the cutting-edge facility manager – to be able to think ahead in planning for future development. This includes understanding the business objectives of their clients, interests of end users, their financial status and forecast, and from these, to be able to provide trends and forces that may impact the real estate value in the future. The ability to drive and manage change using maintenance tools and performance management techniques also ensures there are minimum disruptions to the core business of the clients.

Coordinating different teams within the built environment is probably one of the most important skills to have. Real estate development and management requires different specialized personnel such as architects, lawyers, engineers, quantity surveyors etc.

Integrating all these professionals to ensure their input comes together for long term value to the property requires the services of a proficient facility manager. Identifying the best contractors available and coordinating their work is another area facility managers must excel in – bad contractors and inadequate coordination and supervision can cost money and time.

Financial management is another way facility managers can demonstrate relevance. The ability to have superior knowledge of products required, the cost from different suppliers, including quality assessments will be invaluable. Planning how to allocate space and resources for new property or reallocate space for current premises is another key way to show relevance.

Underpinning all of these is staff development. Investment in facilities maintenance personnel through professional certification, job related short courses and on-the-job training will improve their skills, knowledge and expertise, and to become even empowered to create an environment where facilities management continues to show results that provide compelling reasons for its continuing relevance.