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Tips & Tricks from the industry’s leading Facility Managers

Jess Freeman • 08/08/2022

Cushman & Wakefield's Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) end-to-end service offering enhances the workplace experience through an innovative delivery model that is fast, flexible and scalable.

With facility maintenance constituting the second largest cost for many organisations, Australia’s key clients are looking for quality FM partners to improve building efficiencies and reduce operating costs.

Today, we hear from Charles Hammersla, Head of Facilities Management – NAB about how this is achieved and what tips and tricks are needed for a successful working relationship in IFM.

  1. What are the three main functions of a facility manager?
    1. To keep buildings safe, compliant, and well maintained. Fundamentally, this is what facilities management is about – we are here to maintain the built environment and we must do this in a safe and compliant way, to ensure the wellbeing of all building users. 
    2. Provide exemplary customer service – facilities management is a service-oriented profession and a high level of customer service is fundamental to achieving this.
    3. Be curious and proactive – there is always room for improvement or to make things more efficient. Be curious about how this can happen and investigate proactively. 

  2. Why do buildings need facility managers?
    The built environment is becoming more and more complex over time. Mostly this is due to regulations and laws which govern the way buildings are maintained or provide safety for users. This is also due to the exponential changes happening from a technology perspective. Larger commercial buildings have some amazing smarts in them which can deliver significant financial and sustainability benefits for the owner and occupiers. All of this requires a facility manager, to ensure the building is performing as required, is well maintained and safe. They also ensure that the lights stay on, the building is heated or cooled and that the doors open when they are meant to. Without this oversight and leadership, the built environment would quickly fall into disrepair, occupants would be uncomfortable or have their safety compromised and owners would lose value in their asset. 

  3. What makes a successful facility manager?
    Even as recently as a few years ago, facilities management and the role of facilities manager was confused with or referred to as a maintenance manager – someone wearing overalls and a toolbelt strapped to their waist. I have seen a comprehensive and fundamental shift away from this to a more polished, customer centric, front of house facing professional who still maintains the built environment, but in a more strategic way. Whilst it is important to ensure that a facilities manager has some level of technical knowledge, so they can speak to their vendors and customers with confidence (and ask the right questions), it is now equally important to be able to interact with a broad range of stakeholders, from the receptionist to the cleaner to the CEO. 

  4. What should be the first concern of every facility manager?
    Safety. Facility managers can deliver the most innovative technical outcome or ensure everything is completed on time or fixed in a commercially astounding way, but if that delivery is not completed safely – nothing else will matter. I have had to confront numerous serious issues in my career, from fires, floods, earthquakes, and riots. The first question I always ask is “is everyone OK”. The buildings can be repaired, the walls rebuilt, and the sprinkler damage cleaned up. People cannot. 

  5. What skills and traits do you need to be a successful FM?
    A successful FM should have a strong “customer first” mindset, coupled with unrelenting resilience. Every day you will face into problems and issues and it is extremely important that you confront these with a friendly disposition and one that shows you care about solving whatever issues present themselves. This can come with some frustration from time to time (we are all human) so resilience is important – along with the maintenance of your “resilience cup”. Separately, a strong commercial acumen, ability to interpret data and derive outcomes along with some technical knowledge of building operations are also key attributes which make up the ideal facility manager. 

  6. How can clients improve building efficiencies daily?
    First and foremost, it is important to understand the current state of play. A good set of data and commercials will enable deeper analysis and insights. A great metric to look at is the cost to maintain a building on a $ per square metre basis. What issues are being raised reactively and are there repeat issues that could be resolved perhaps with a replacement or a changed routine (or the introduction of a preventative one)? From a plant and equipment standpoint, it is important to ask your maintenance vendors whether equipment is tuned correctly or is functioning as designed. If they don’t know, that would flag an opportunity to conduct a review. Frequently, the cost of a deep review into the performance of equipment will reveal some tuning that could take place to garner significant benefits – offsetting the cost and effort of the review itself. I would invite readers to reach out if they need help with this – Cushman & Wakefield have the experts to deliver significant value in this space!

  7. How do you equip your team for success?
    I lead a geographically dispersed and diverse team, across multiple time zones. What is fundamentally important is ensuring that everyone is connected though a strongly engrained operating rhythm and cadence. We have a monthly all hands meeting and every member of my team has a fortnightly 1:1 with their leader to make sure they are hearing the most up to date information, have a chance to discuss roadblocks and challenges and also have conversations about their career. I want my team to feel that they truly have a purpose at work and are contributing to the success of not just their individual patch, but to our business and our clients. We all need to pull in the same direction to do this, so consistency and clarity is fundamentally important here. We underpin all of this by giving the team access to a range of professional development opportunities. The facilities management landscape is changing rapidly, and it is important to arm our team with the latest insights from across the industry – not just domestically, but globally. I also make sure the team are trained in how to interpret data and commercials and coach them around how they can grow their technical knowledge through partnering with their vendors, who are experts in their field. All of this, I feel, keeps my team engaged, whilst ensuring that maintain our position as a market leader in this space for our clients.

How can we help?

Get in touch with one of our professionals.

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