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Facilities management is often an overlooked commodity when running a business in the Middle East. It is usually seen as having a low level of importance, involving tasks such as maintaining landscaping, waste management and electrical repairs. 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 (FM) 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 addressing the need to upgrade existing buildings so that costly problems don't develop as the buildings age.
A good example of the benefit of involving FM at the 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 developers thousands in daily running costs further down the line.
Similarly, the care of Dubai's ageing skyline could save huge sums of money in preventive care by facilities management. Replacing inefficient equipment and amenities that could cost companies more when replaced in an emergency, or even cost a business money should it be necessary for them to close their offices while repairs are made.
In one news article, Jaafar Shubber, senior project manager, FM EXPO 2014, says, ''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 discipline in the construction sector, providing a tremendous opportunity for adding value to property assets.''
• FM becomes highly effective if it is involved from design stage
• Consistent and systematic FM helps prevent future problems
• It encompasses all aspects of building and facilities maintenance
Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer