How to start a career in Facilities Management
Being responsible for the operational control of buildings and other facilities is not an easy feat. From coordinating the building’s maintenance and repairs, to maintaining a safe and clean environment, a Facility Manager takes on many roles.
If you’re looking at transitioning into the field, we’ve listed some particulars which you can expect to include in your day-to-day.
A typical Facility Manager can expect to exceed a 40 hour working week. Staying back to complete a job and overnight work is not unheard of, especially in regards to cleaning and maintenance services. Around-the-clock work cannot be ruled out either, all in the effort to ensure minimal disruption to the environment.
A wide range of responsibilities is expected of a Facility Manager, dependant on the discipline and department respectively. With the main goal to increase efficiency and reduce waste while keeping occupants safe, a Facility Manager can also expect to perform the following duties:
- Perform regular daily tasks
- Monitor changing industry regulations
- Document and report on inefficiency and issues within the facility
- Improve operational areas
- Calculate costs of materials and supplies
- Respond to emergencies calmly and swiftly
- Delegate and coordinate simultaneous Facility Management efforts
Entry Level Requirements
Operational roles can range from janitorial positions to mechanical maintenance and information and technology. For the less skilled roles, a high school diploma/GED will suffice, as well as a can-do spirit and a demonstrated aptitude in teamwork and attention to detail.
For entry level technician and management roles, requirements will vary, but holding a degree or certification in management is favourable. Suitable areas of study that will help one exceed include: building management, construction, hospitality, engineering, property management, and generalised business studies. Apprenticeships are also available in some job listing sites, providing on-the-job training to promising candidates.
Facility Management Core Competencies
A detailed resume including the mention of core competencies is a great way to bolster your chances at obtaining a role, or make up for a lack of educational background. These core competencies include the following:
- Communication: facilities managers need to clearly report above, delegate below, and communicate needs and processes to staff
- Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity: responding in emergency situations is half of your job, and allowing the facility to keep running no matter what is the other.
- Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability: as regulations increase along with fines, and tax breaks increase for good actors, facility managers must keep their practices as green as possible.
- Finance and Business: the job demands increasing efficiency – finding ways to cut costs without reducing safety is essential.
- Human Factors: to be a facility manager, you must delegate tasks to staff, coordinate efforts with peers, and genuinely care about the health and safety of users of your facility.
- Leadership and Strategy: regardless of your level, you must approach the job with a strategic eye, and be able to identify micro-details that could cause problems when spread through your team (or in interteam situations).
- Operations and Maintenance: the ability to fix things and follow procedures is never amiss in facilities management.
Common Facility Manager Employers
Each business, operating out of a building, requires some kind of facility management. The most common employers of Facility Managers are owners of larger buildings with many moving parts and numerous staff. Large-scale offices which house government work, and broad campuses with a wide area to care for, such as schools and universities as well as parks and arenas all require facility managers.
If you’re on the hunt for a Facilities Management position, you may want to consider working for an agency. The primary difference is being deployed to different facilities to either consult on strategy and planning, or perform excess work as needed rather than manage one sole facility.
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