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Facilities management (FM) is often an overlooked commodity when running a business in the Middle East. It is usually given a low level of importance: taking care of jobs such as watering the plants, emptying the rubbish bins, and replacing burnt-out light bulbs. In reality, facilities management is a strategic function that can add real value to a business.
The biggest difficulty in understanding the value of facilities management is finding a way to quantify its influence. Value very often requires a number which, in this case, cannot always be provided.
Where facilities management really shines is in preventing future problems, especially now that industry professionals expect an increase in integrated and collaborative discussions at the start of new projects, as well as in addressing the need to upgrade existing buildings so that costly problems do not develop as the buildings age.
A good example of the benefits of involving an FM company at development stage could be something as simple as the placement and design of a building's exterior windows. A new skyscraper may have beautiful curved windows that look great, but are impossible to clean. Recognizing future maintenance problems could save the developers thousands in daily running costs further down the line.
Similarly, the care for Dubai's ageing skyline could save huge sums of money in preventive care by FM companies. Replacing inefficient equipment and amenities could cost companies more during an emergency, or even cost a business money should it be necessary for them to close their offices while repairs are made.
According to Jaafar Shubber, senior project manager of FM Expo 2014, ''Policy makers and corporate players worldwide are quickly realizing the importance of efficient infrastructure and building management. Over the last decade, FM has developed faster than any other disciplines in the construction sector, providing a tremendous opportunity for adding value to property assets.''
• Facilities management can prevent costly future problems
• Businesses should engage a good FM firm at the initial stage
• FM is developing faster than any other construction discipline
Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Properties, gulfnews.com
The writer is a freelancer