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What is Facility Management? Core Functions, Challenges, Trends & More

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Facility management concept, facility worker holding graphic illustrations of facility management components

Key Takeaway

  • Facility management is integral to ensuring buildings and infrastructure function optimally, for better productivity, safety and cost efficiency. It includes a range of services, from maintenance to security, waste management, space utilization, and risk management.
  • Have you ever wondered how businesses keep their facilities running smoothly and efficiently? Facility management plays a crucial role in ensuring that buildings and infrastructure are well-maintained and operating at their best.

    Facility management involves overseeing the maintenance, security, and overall operation of a building or facility. It encompasses a wide range of tasks, from managing utilities to coordinating maintenance schedules and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

    Effective facility management is essential for the success of any business. By properly managing facilities, organizations can improve productivity, reduce operational costs, and create a safe and comfortable environment for employees and customers. In this article, we’ll explore the key components of facility management and how it can benefit businesses of all sizes.

    What is Facility Management?

    Facility managers discussing a project

    Facility management is the coordination of people, processes, and systems to ensure the functionality, comfort, safety, and efficiency of buildings and their supporting infrastructure. This includes managing maintenance, security, cleaning, catering, waste disposal, and other services to support the organization’s core activities.

    Facility management is widely used across practically every sector to manage a variety of types of buildings and facilities, such as:

    • Office buildings
    • Manufacturing plants
    • Industrial facilities
    • Laboratories
    • Retail spaces
    • Healthcare facilities
    • Education facilities
    • Government facilities
    • Military facilities
    • Hotels
    • Restaurants

    Significant sectors within facility management include healthcare, government, education, military and defense, and real estate, with real estate being the largest segment, followed by other unclassified industries. Education rounds out the top three and is followed by healthcare, military, and defense.

    Government is the smallest sector in global facilities management, but it’s expected to experience progressive growth due to an increased government focus on infrastructure investments. 

    The healthcare sector is expected to see considerable growth due to an increase in healthcare facilities​. Additionally, the real estate sector is expected to grow globally due to expansion in construction and development.

    Hard Services vs. Soft Services

    There are two main categories of facility management services:

    • Hard Facility Management Services: These services refer to the physical assets and infrastructure within a facility that require maintenance and management. This can include services related to building systems (e.g., fire systems and plumbing), equipment, utilities (e.g., electrical, HVAC, and lighting), and building maintenance (e.g., replacing damaged doors or windows, roof repair, etc.).
    • Soft Facility Management Services: These services refer to the non-physical aspects of facility management that focus on creating a positive and productive environment for occupants. This can include services related to space management, cleaning and waste management, security, landscaping, catering, risk management, and more.
    Soft facility management services vs. hard facility management services growth rate chart from 2024 to 2029

    Based on data from Mordor Intelligence: Soft Facility Management Market and Hard Facility Management Market

    According to ToolSense, hard services account for more than half of the global market, driven by the continued expansion of the global infrastructure market and the rapidly expanding building and construction services industry. However, soft services are the fastest-growing segment, with a projected CAGR of 5.2% from 2024 to 2029, compared to a projected 4.22% CAGR for the hard services segment during the same period.

    Growth in the soft services segment of facility management is driven by increased investments in energy management, waste management, wastewater management, and similar services. Significant infrastructure development also creates additional demand for soft services. 

    Importance of Facility Management in Business Operations

    Facility management plays a crucial role in the smooth operation and success of any organization, yet it’s often overlooked. From maintaining buildings and equipment to managing space utilization and ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations, facility management is essential for businesses of all sizes.

    One key reason facility management is important in business operations is that it helps to create a safe and comfortable work environment for employees by addressing issues such as proper lighting, temperature control, and ergonomic workstations. A well-maintained facility not only reduces the risk of accidents and injuries but also supports effective collaboration, efficiency, and productivity.

    Additionally, effective facility management can help businesses save money in the long run. By implementing preventive maintenance programs and energy-efficient practices, facility managers can reduce operational costs and extend the lifespan of equipment and infrastructure.

    Regular inspections and repairs can prevent costly emergencies and downtime, ensuring business operations run smoothly without unexpected disruptions.

    The Facility Management Quality Standard: ISO 41001:2018

    Demand Organization

    Screenshot via ISO

    ISO 41001:2018, the International Standard for Facility Management Systems, is a quality standard specifically designed for the field of facility management. It’s the first international standard for facility management systems published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

    This standard provides a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve an effective facility management system. It covers a wide range of areas related to facility management, including strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, risk management, performance evaluation, and continuous improvement.

    Implementing ISO 41001:2018 enables organizations to streamline processes and improve efficiency, ensuring that facility management practices are consistent, reliable, and meet the needs of stakeholders.

    ISO 41001:2018 was amended in 2024 to incorporate climate change awareness and action changes, with the goal of integrating climate considerations into facility management systems. The current ISO 41001:2018 standard is set to be replaced by ISO/AWI 41001, which is currently under development.

    By achieving ISO 41001:2018 certification, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to providing a high level of quality in facility management. Certification requires a thorough audit conducted by a certified third-party auditing body. This process involves assessing the organization’s facility management system against the standard’s requirements to ensure compliance.

    Once an organization obtains certification, it can display the ISO 41001:2018 certification logo, demonstrating to stakeholders and customers that the company adheres to international best practices in facility management.

    Key Components of Facility Management

    Component Key Tasks & Responsibilities
    Daily Operations & Maintenance
    • Oversee day-to-day building operations (e.g., electrical systems, HVAC, plumbing)
    • Manage preventive and corrective maintenance
    • Create detailed reports and maintenance tracking systems
    Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)
    • Ensure compliance with health and safety regulations
    • Conduct safety audits and implement policies
    • Maintain cleanliness and sanitation standards
    • Protect infrastructure, physical space, and hardware/software components
    • Oversee security personnel and implement security policies
    • Conduct risk assessments and audits of security systems
    Sustainability & Energy Management
    • Conduct energy and water conservation audits
    • Utilize sustainable materials and practices
    • Improve energy efficiency and convert to renewable energy sources
    Asset Maintenance and Management
    • Maintain an up-to-date asset inventory
    • Develop and implement preventive maintenance schedules
    • Manage corrective maintenance and monitor asset performance
    Space Planning and Utilization
    • Analyze space requirements and plan efficient layouts
    • Ensure compliance with health, safety, and accessibility regulations
    • Integrate technology to support organizational needs
    Strategic Planning for Future Needs
    • Plan for renovations, expansions, or new constructions
    • Invest in energy-efficient systems and technologies
    • Develop risk mitigation and business continuity plans

    According to the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), which adopts the ISO’s definition of facility management, “Facility Management is an organizational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.”

    It encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from ensuring the facility’s overall maintenance and upkeep to managing budget and expenses related to facility operations, overseeing safety and security protocols within the building, and coordinating with vendors and contractors for repairs and renovations. Here’s a closer look at the key elements of facility management. 

    Daily Operations & Maintenance

    Facility managers are tasked with overseeing the day-to-day building operations, such as electrical systems, HVAC, plumbing, and landscaping. They are responsible for managing preventive maintenance activities to ensure that all systems run smoothly and minimize disruptions, as well as corrective maintenance needs as they arise. This includes managing janitorial and maintenance contracts with third-party vendors.

    Facility managers also create detailed reports and maintain systems to track maintenance and repairs, safety and compliance, inspections, and other processes and functions.

    Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)

    Business person stacking blocks representing Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

    The environmental health and safety, or EHS, aspects of facility management include:

    • Ensuring that the facility complies with health and safety regulations (such as fire safety standards and codes)
    • Conducting regular safety audits
    • Implementing health and safety policies and procedures
    • Responding to emergencies
    • Creating cleaning schedules for employees and contractors
    • Upholding all cleanliness and sanitation standards

    These responsibilities are carried out with the goal of maintaining a safe environment for both employees and visitors.


    Facility security involves protecting the building’s infrastructure, physical space, and hardware and software components from both internal and external threats. The security component of facility management includes:

    • Overseeing the building’s security personnel
    • Implementing security policies and procedures
    • Conducting risk assessments
    • Regularly auditing security systems and processes, such as ensuring that CCTV and video surveillance systems are operational
    • Managing visitors, such as maintaining visitor logs
    • Ensuring that visitors enter only through authorized access points
    • Ensuring all restricted access areas are clearly marked
    • Ensuring the facility’s safety and security policies are followed by both employees and visitors

    Sustainability & Energy Management

    Facility managers and executives discussing solar panel installation

    The aim of sustainability and energy management is to minimize the impact of a company’s operations on the environment. According to a report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), “Buildings use about 40% of global energy, 25% of global water, 40% of global resources, and they emit approximately ⅓ of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions.” 

    Sustainability has become a key priority for many companies, and facility management is one of the primary areas where gains can be made. Sustainability and energy management includes:

    • Conducting energy audits
    • Implementing water conservation measures
    • Utilizing sustainable building materials and practices
    • Developing eco-friendly waste management practices, such as recycling
    • Improving energy efficiency, such as by upgrading HVAC systems to more energy-efficient systems, replacing windows, and installing LED lighting
    • Converting to renewable energy sources such as solar or geothermal
    • Closely monitoring and analyzing utility usage and costs

    These measures help reduce the operation’s environmental impact and can also reduce costs. For example, facilities that implement sustainable practices can lower their energy consumption, which translates to lower operating costs.

    Asset Maintenance and Management

    Asset maintenance and management is a function that often falls under the facility management umbrella. Predictive and preventive maintenance methods are vital to prevent equipment breakdowns before they occur​, and regular maintenance helps to extend the useful lifespan of equipment and infrastructure.

    Keeping equipment in optimal working condition and optimizing equipment utilization can also help to reduce operational costs. Asset maintenance and management include:

    • Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of assets, including the purchase date, lifespan, warranty information, maintenance schedules, and historical repair data for each asset
    • Developing and implementing a preventive maintenance schedule, including routine inspections, cleaning, lubrication, adjustments, and replacements of parts before failure occurs
    • Performing corrective maintenance when assets break down or malfunction, including diagnosing problems, initiating repair, and minimizing equipment downtime
    • Regularly inspecting assets to ensure their safe operation and compliance with applicable regulatory standards
    • Monitoring asset performance and efficiency
    • Managing contractors or vendors who perform maintenance or repairs, including sourcing service providers, negotiating contracts, and overseeing the work performed
    • Managing costs associated with asset maintenance, repairs, and replacements
    • Reporting on asset performance, expenses, and other metrics

    Space Planning and Utilization

    Facility management oversees an organization’s physical space, which includes planning for efficient space utilization. This includes:

    • Analyzing the organization’s space requirements considering the number of employees, the number and frequency of anticipated visitors, the nature of the work performed in the facility, and the need for collaborative and private spaces such as meeting rooms and private office space
    • Planning and designing the layout of the space, including the placement of desks, offices, equipment, and common areas to maximize efficiency and support functional workflows
    • Creating flexible and scalable space configurations
    • Ensuring that the facility complies with health, safety, and accessibility regulations, such as maintaining clear egress paths, adhering to building codes, and incorporating ergonomic standards
    • Integrating technology into the space to support the organization’s needs
    • Managing costs associated with space utilization, such as utilities costs, maintenance costs, and rent or lease payments
    • Ensuring that the space meets safety standards, such as creating accessible emergency exits, planning clear evacuation routes, and equipping workspaces with necessary safety equipment

    Strategic Planning for Future Needs

    Facility management plays a crucial role in the strategic planning for an organization’s future needs, ensuring that physical spaces and infrastructures align with long-term goals and adapt to changing requirements. This includes:

    • Planning for renovations, expansions, or new construction
    • Investing in energy-efficient systems and new technologies to reduce operating costs
    • Ensuring facilities can accommodate company growth and changing needs, such as with adaptable infrastructure and scalable spaces
    • Identifying and analyzing risks to the facility, such as natural disasters, security threats, and technology failures
    • Developing risk mitigation plans, disaster recovery plans, and business continuity plans

    Operations and Management Strategies

    Facility management team in a strategic planning meeting

    The current presiding global facilities management organization, the International Facility Management Association, calls for facility management leaders to take a more tactical and strategic approach to protect the future of the company’s properties.

    In its Strategic Facility Planning white paper, the IFMA calls for facility managers to carry out SFP (strategic facility planning) as it “helps to avoid mistakes, delays, disappointments, and customer dissatisfaction.” In addition to safety and maintenance responsibilities, facility managers are encouraged to look beyond their normal duties so that they can better support operational efficiency.

    To do this effectively, managers must compile two things:

    • Strategic Facility Plan
    • Master Facility Plan

    Let’s take a look at how each one can better strengthen the overall productivity of the business:

    Strategic Facility Plan (SFP)

    Developing a comprehensive Strategic Facility Plan (SFP) requires:

    • An understanding of the core values or changing values of the organization and how facilities must reflect the values
    • An in-depth analysis of the facility, including location, capability, and condition
    • A fundamental understanding of how the organization’s goals might affect scalability in facilities

    The manager can operate as a true strategic support system if they are able to confirm each and every one of these benchmarks with the appropriate departments while implementing effective day-to-day practices. It is through the use of this blend of current and future that all parties involved can tackle changes as they arise as effectively as possible.

    Master Facility Plan (MFP)

    The Master Facility Plan (MFP), also known as a Facilities Master Plan, is a framework for planning the “physical environments that encompass the buildings.” Let’s explore what a holistic master plan looks like, taking into account both day-to-day tasks and future space needs.

    Here’s what a Master Facility Plan should include:

    • Zoning, regulation, covenant assessments
    • Space standards and benchmarks
    • Program of space use
    • Workflow analyses
    • Engineering assessment and plan
    • Block, fit, or stacking plans
    • Concept site plan or campus plan
    • Architectural image concepts
    • Long-term maintenance plan
    • Construction estimates
    • Phasing or sequencing plan (the sequence or projects)

    The MFP should be regularly reviewed and updated. Facility managers should engage all departments that impact their facility so they can support their organization as it moves forward profitably.

    Facility Management Challenges

    Like any other discipline, facility management comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some of the top challenges faced by facility managers.

    Cost Management

    Cost management is a challenge for facility management because there are so many variables to consider. From maintenance and repairs to utilities and supplies, there are numerous expenses that need to be carefully monitored and controlled.

    Additionally, unexpected issues can arise that require additional funds to address, making it difficult to stick to a budget. Furthermore, facility managers need to balance cost management with providing a safe, comfortable, and functional environment for employees and customers. This can sometimes require investing in more expensive solutions in order to achieve long-term cost savings.

    In the face of economic instability and budget constraints, facility management may not be seen as a critical investment by businesses, which can create additional cost restraints. Effectively managing facility costs requires a strategic approach and constant monitoring to ensure that expenses remain within budget.

    Technological Advancements

    Facility managers using sophisticated digital technology solution

    Facilities require constant updates and upgrades to keep up with the latest technology. This can be costly and time-consuming for facilities managers, as they need to continuously assess and implement new technologies to improve efficiency and productivity.

    Additionally, technological advancements can also pose security risks, as more connected devices and systems, such as IoT devices and cloud-based systems, increase the potential for cyber attacks. Facilities managers must stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and implement robust security measures to protect their facilities from potential breaches.

    Technological advancements are particularly challenging in facility management because they have the potential to streamline operations and enhance the facility’s functionality, but at the same time, they require a significant investment of time and resources to effectively manage.

    Sustainability and Environmental Regulations

    Sustainability requires a shift in mindset and practices toward more eco-friendly and sustainable operations. This may involve implementing new technologies, processes, and materials that can be costly and time-consuming.

    Compliance with environmental regulations also adds another layer of complexity, as facility managers need to stay abreast of changing policies and ensure that their operations comply with these regulations.

    The biggest challenge for modern organizations is balancing sustainability goals with operational and financial considerations. Sustainability initiatives often require long-term planning and investment, which can be difficult to prioritize in the face of immediate budgetary constraints.

    Emergency Preparedness

    Emergency preparedness requires a significant amount of planning, training, and resources to ensure that a facility is prepared for any type of emergency situation. Facility managers must conduct risk assessments, develop emergency response plans, provide training for staff, and invest in emergency equipment and supplies.

    Additionally, facilities must comply with various regulations and standards related to emergency preparedness, which can be complex and time-consuming to navigate. In the event of an emergency, facility managers must be able to quickly and effectively respond to protect the safety of occupants and minimize damage to the facility.

    The ever-changing nature of potential threats requires constantly updating and improving emergency response plans. This requires clear communication, coordination with emergency services, and the ability to make quick decisions under pressure.

    Changing Needs and Demands

    Facility manager discussing changing needs with a worker

    As mentioned above, changing needs and demands present a prominent challenge in facility management, requiring constant adaptation and flexibility.

    Facilities need to be able to respond to shifting priorities, regulations, and technological advancements to meet the needs of employees, customers, and stakeholders. This means that facilities managers must constantly assess and reassess their strategies, processes, and resources to ensure they are providing an optimal environment for the people using the facility.

    Failure to anticipate and address changing needs can lead to inefficiencies, dissatisfaction among employees and visitors, and ultimately, an impact on the organization’s overall success. Staying ahead of evolving trends and demands is essential for effective facility management.

    Staffing and Hiring

    Staffing and hiring require finding individuals with a specific set of skills and experience in areas such as maintenance, engineering, and operations. Additionally, facility management roles often involve a wide range of responsibilities, from ensuring compliance with safety regulations to managing budgets and overseeing projects.

    Finding candidates who are not only qualified but also culturally fit with the organization can be a time-consuming process. Furthermore, turnover rates in facility management tend to be high due to the demanding nature of the job, which means that constant recruitment and training efforts are necessary to maintain a fully staffed and capable team.

    How to Implement an Effective Facility Management Plan

    Facility manager wearing an orange vest touching digital screen with facility management icons

    Having a well-thought-out facility management plan is crucial for maintaining the functionality and efficiency of any building or property. Follow these key steps to implement an effective facility management plan.

    1. Inventory your current assets. Create a comprehensive inventory of all assets, equipment, and systems within the building. Identify any maintenance issues or areas that need improvement. This will help you prioritize tasks and allocate resources effectively.
    2. Audit your facility operations. In addition to assessing your assets, you should also evaluate your facility’s current operations to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for process improvements.
    3. Set clear objectives. Clearly define what you aim to achieve with your facility management plan, aligning with the overall organizational goals. Your goals and objectives could range from ensuring the longevity of physical assets to enhancing the well-being and productivity of occupants.
    4. Develop facility management policies. Policies will guide your workforce in ensuring efficient and safe operations. Policies should include emergency protocols, evacuation plans, emergency contact information, and safety measures. You can also establish policies for preventive maintenance, security, sustainability, information technology, procurement and vendor management, and disaster recovery. 
    5. Develop a maintenance schedule. One of the key aspects of facility management is maintenance. Develop a schedule for routine facility maintenance tasks such as HVAC system inspections, plumbing checks, electrical system maintenance, and general cleaning. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent breakdowns and extend the useful lifespan of your assets.
    6. Implement technology solutions. Technology plays a significant role in facility management. The right facility management software to centralize data, streamline operations, and improve decision-making through analytics. Consider features like asset tracking, work order management, and predictive maintenance.
    7. Develop an asset tagging system. Facility management asset tags and labels integrate seamlessly with your facility management software to streamline work order tracking, equipment maintenance, condition monitoring, and reporting. Choose durable asset tags and labels, such as Camcode’s Rigid Metalphoto® Labels and Foil Metalphoto® Labels, that can withstand your facility’s operating conditions. For instance, Camcode’s Metalphoto labels have excellent resistance to chemicals, solvents, abrasion, extreme temperatures, and UV, offering an expected exterior lifespan of more than 20 years.
    8. Maintain comprehensive documentation. Keep detailed records of all facility management activities, including maintenance records, inspections, compliance documents, and training records. This supports regulatory compliance and can also aid in decision-making. 
    9. Train your staff. Make sure your facility management team is well-equipped to handle their responsibilities and tasks. Provide training on safety procedures, maintenance protocols, and how to use any technology solutions that are in place. Foster a culture of engagement and accountability, encouraging staff to take ownership of facility maintenance and efficiency. 
    10. Monitor and continuously improve performance. Track key performance indicators such as maintenance costs, downtime, and energy usage. Leverage this data to inform decision-making and adjust your processes to continuously optimize performance.
    11. Plan for the future. Be prepared to adapt your strategies in response to new technologies, regulatory changes, or shifts in organizational priorities. Your facility management plan should include a future needs assessment, capacity planning, and resilience strategies that can help your company mitigate long-term risks. 

    Types of Facility Management Software

    Global Facility Management Market Growth Projections Chart

    Based on data from Fortune Business Insights

    Managing facilities efficiently is crucial to ensuring smooth operations and maximizing productivity. Facility management software has emerged as a powerful tool that enables organizations to streamline their facilities management processes, improve asset performance, and reduce costs.

    In fact, the global facility management market was valued at $1,260.0 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.7%, reaching $2,031.4 billion by 2030​​.

    Facility management software helps organizations manage their facilities, assets, and maintenance processes more effectively. It provides a centralized platform where facility managers can track and monitor various aspects of their facilities, such as equipment maintenance, space utilization, energy consumption, and vendor management.

    Type of Software Key Features
    Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM)
    • Space planning and allocation
    • Maintenance management and asset tracking
    • Resource management and scheduling
    • Real-time information on building operations
    Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)
    • Centralizes maintenance operation information
    • Streamlines work orders, inventory management, and scheduling
    • Preventive maintenance scheduling and work order management
    • Reporting and analytics for maintenance performance
    Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
    • Asset tracking and maintenance management
    • Routine maintenance scheduling and work order tracking
    • Insights into asset performance and usage
    • Optimization of asset management strategies
    Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS)
    • Centralizes data for real estate and facility management
    • Generates reports on space utilization and energy consumption
    • Automates maintenance requests and inventory monitoring
    • Helps ensure compliance with regulations

    Facility management software comes in various forms, from software focused on a specific function such as asset management to comprehensive, integrated facility management solutions that encompass all the core functions of facility management. Here’s a look at the most commonly used types of facility management software.

    Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM)

    Facility manager using facility management software on a laptop

    CAFM software is a tool used by facility managers to efficiently manage and maintain their buildings, assets, and workplace environments. This type of software integrates various aspects of facility management, such as space planning and allocation, maintenance management, asset tracking, and resource management and scheduling, into one centralized platform.

    CAFM software streamlines workflows and improves overall productivity by providing real-time information on building operations and maintenance. With this software, managers can easily track key metrics, generate reports, and make informed decisions to optimize building performance and reduce costs.

    The benefits of CAFM solutions include:

    • Extending asset life spans due to preventive maintenance
    • Increased safety
    • Centralized data for strategic planning
    • Cost savings
    • Improved communication
    • Reduction in energy-related expenses

    Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)

    CMMS software, or a centralized maintenance management system, centralizes information about an organization’s maintenance operations. It helps optimize the use and availability of equipment such as vehicles, machinery, and other physical assets.

    CMMS systems are designed to simplify the maintenance process by providing tools and features that streamline tasks such as work orders, inventory management, asset tracking, and scheduling.

    At its core, a CMMS is used to track and manage maintenance activities, from routine inspections to major repairs. By centralizing all maintenance-related data in one system, organizations can better organize their maintenance operations, improve workflow efficiency, and reduce downtime.

    Key features of a CMMS include preventive maintenance scheduling, which allows users to create maintenance schedules for equipment based on time or usage triggers; work order management, which enables users to create, assign, and track maintenance tasks; inventory management, which helps users keep track of spare parts and supplies needed for maintenance; and reporting and analytics, which provide insights into maintenance performance and help identify areas for improvement.

    The benefits of a CMMS include:

    • Increased efficiency
    • Reduced equipment downtime
    • Improved equipment and employee safety
    • Cost control
    • Predictive and preventive maintenance scheduling
    • Accurate reporting and data analytics

    Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)

    Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software is a comprehensive solution that helps organizations manage their physical assets throughout their lifecycle. These assets can range from equipment and machinery to vehicles and buildings. EAM software enables businesses to track, maintain, and optimize their assets to ensure they are operating efficiently and effectively.

    Asset tracking is a key feature of EAM. It allows businesses to monitor where their assets are located, who is using them, and how they are being utilized. With this information at their fingertips, organizations can make more informed decisions about their assets and maintenance needs.

    Another key function of EAM is maintenance management. It allows businesses to schedule routine maintenance for their assets, track work orders, and ensure that all maintenance tasks are completed on time.

    EAM software also provides valuable insights into asset performance and usage. By analyzing data collected from the software, organizations can identify trends, make predictions, and optimize their asset management strategies.

    The benefits of EAM software include:

    • Increased efficiency
    • Reduced costs
    • Improved asset performance
    • Reduced breakdowns and downtime

    Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS)

    Facility managers using a multi-screen setup with an integrated workplace management system (IWMS)

    IWMS solutions provide a comprehensive suite of tools to manage all aspects of facility and real estate management. They integrate functionalities for real estate management, capital project management, facility space management, maintenance management, and environmental sustainability.

    IWMS software enables facility managers to streamline their processes, improve efficiency, and make data-driven decisions to optimize the use of their workspace. One key feature of an IWMS is its ability to centralize data and generate insightful reports on various aspects of facility management. This includes information on space utilization, maintenance schedules, energy consumption, lease agreements, and compliance with regulations.

    An IWMS can also automate routine tasks and workflows. For example, maintenance requests can be automatically routed to the appropriate personnel, work orders can be scheduled and tracked, and inventory levels can be monitored in real-time.

    An IWMS also helps organizations ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, environmental standards, and industry best practices. By providing tools for tracking and reporting on these aspects, facility managers can proactively address any issues and maintain a safe and sustainable work environment for employees.

    The benefits of an IWMS include:

    • Increased productivity and efficiency
    • Reduced errors
    • Reduced costs
    • Informed decision-making backed by data
    • Automation of routine tasks and workflows
    • Improved safety

    Best Practices for Facility Management Regulatory Compliance

    Facility manager and inspectors conducting  an audit to ensure regulatory compliance

    Facility management is subject to various regulations and laws to ensure safety, compliance, and efficiency within the workplace. These regulations cover a wide range of aspects, from health and safety measures to regulations related to equipment.

    The regulations applicable to a specific organization depend on the industry, location, and size of the business. Regulations are set forth by multiple entities.

    On top of international and federal regulations, state and local regulations may also apply to specific industries or across the board for businesses and employers. Needless to say, compliance is multi-faceted and incredibly complex, requiring a comprehensive management strategy. 

    Let’s review some best practices for implementing and maintaining a strong facility management compliance program.

    Understand What Regulations Apply

    Facilities managers must stay informed about relevant laws, regulations, and codes that apply to their industry. Laws can vary depending on the location and type of facility, so it’s important to monitor updates and changes in regulations regularly.

    As mentioned above, there are many regulations that facilities may be required to comply with, so the first step in developing a robust compliance program is to understand what regulations apply to your facility.

    For example, the UK government introduced The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations in 1999, which apply to employers in the UK, while U.S.-based businesses are subject to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are also international and national labor laws created by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the U.S. Department of Labor, respectively.  

    The U.S. healthcare sector must comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations, and food manufacturing facilities, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical facilities are subject to regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  

    Start by identifying all applicable regulations and laws, considering organizational, reputational, and strategic risks.

    Conduct Regular Audits

    Conduct internal audits to assess your compliance with these regulations and the effectiveness of your security and compliance strategies.

    Conducting regular audits of your facility can help you identify areas where you may be falling short of regulatory compliance. These audits should cover everything from fire safety regulations to environmental laws to ensure that your facility is meeting all necessary requirements.

    Develop a Compliance Roadmap

    Developing a comprehensive compliance plan requires a clear understanding of your compliance status and the regulations you need to comply with. This plan should outline the specific regulatory requirements that apply to your facility and the steps you will take to ensure compliance. Prioritize your actions based on the most critical compliance requirements and risks​.

    It should also clearly define the responsibilities of all stakeholders involved. This plan should be regularly reviewed and updated as regulations change.

    Develop Safety & Compliance Checklists

    Facility worker reviewing a safety and compliance checklist before operating equipment

    Develop safety and compliance checklists that clearly outline the steps to take in certain situations. Some commonly used safety and compliance checklists in facility management include:

    • Fire safety checklist
    • Electrical safety checklist
    • HVAC system checklist
    • Building security checklist
    • Environmental compliance checklist
    • General maintenance checklist

    Of course, the checklists you develop will depend on the regulations that apply to your organization as well as your company’s internal policies and procedures. 

    Each item on the checklist should be specific, measurable, and actionable, leaving no room for ambiguity. Regularly review and update the checklist to reflect changes in regulations, facility modifications, or lessons learned from incidents, and ensure that checklists are readily available to employees and stakeholders.

    For example, you might post a fire safety checklist or evacuation plan near the emergency exits in your facility or attach durable instructional labels to equipment. These labels can be printed with essential safety, operational, or compliance steps to promote workplace safety and compliance.  

    Provide Comprehensive Training

    Educate your employees about compliance policies, procedures, and standards. All staff members involved in facilities management should receive training on regulatory compliance. This training should cover the specific regulations that apply to your facility and the procedures and protocols that need to be followed to ensure compliance.

    Regular training ensures that employees understand their roles in maintaining compliance and are updated on any regulatory changes or updates to company policies​.

    Maintain Documentation

    Keeping detailed records of your facilities management activities, including maintenance schedules, inspections, and repairs, is essential for demonstrating regulatory compliance. Make sure that all documentation is easily accessible and up-to-date.

    Establish Effective Communication & Monitoring Procedures

    Establish effective communication channels for reporting compliance issues or concerns without fear of retaliation. Implement monitoring and auditing systems to continuously assess the effectiveness of your compliance program and identify risks.

    Regular reviews and updates to the program are essential to adapt to changes in regulations and business operations.

    Leverage Technology

    Utilize regulatory compliance software (or facility management software with compliance management capabilities) to automate and streamline compliance processes. This can simplify the management of regulatory changes, policy updates, and compliance assessments. The right software can also provide valuable insights and analytics to improve decision-making and ensure continuous compliance​.

    Implement Accountability & Corrective Action Plans

    Establish clear procedures for enforcing compliance policies and taking corrective action in case of non-compliance. Accountability at all levels ensures that compliance is taken seriously and that any issues are addressed promptly to prevent recurrence.

    Cultivate a Culture of Compliance

    Clearly communicating your organization’s code of conduct and ensuring it reflects your organizational values, regularly communicating changes, and implementing effective training and employee engagement programs are all part of building a culture of compliance. Following these practices and the best practices outlined above helps to minimize compliance violations and promotes a positive working environment.

    If you’re unsure how to ensure regulatory compliance in your facility, consider working with compliance experts who specialize in facilities management and have experience in your industry. These experts can provide guidance and support to help you meet all necessary requirements.

    Trend Opportunities Challenges
    Smart Buildings
    • Advanced analytics for strategic decision-making
    • Automation of routine tasks
    • Enhanced safety and security measures
    • Significant upfront investment
    • Potential cybersecurity risks
    • Need for skilled personnel
    Cloud-Based Solutions
    • Lower costs and scalable resources
    • Integration of various systems
    • Efficient management and operation
    • Data security and privacy risks
    • Reliance on internet connectivity
    Sustainability & Green Initiatives
    • Measuring and improving environmental impact
    • Transparency and stakeholder engagement
    • Competitive advantage
    • Lack of universal standards for reporting
    • Complex data collection and analysis
    • Differing stakeholder priorities
    Employee Well-Being
    • Enhanced productivity and reduced absenteeism
    • Improved corporate image
    • Significant upfront investment
    • Challenges in measuring direct impacts
    • Space and infrastructure limitations
    Flexible Workspaces
    • Adaptability to changing work needs
    • Reduced overhead costs
    • Talent acquisition and retention
    • Managing noise levels and privacy
    • Efficient management of shared resources
    • Data security concerns
    Increasing Building Standards
    • Energy auditing and benchmarking
    • Corporate branding and enhanced community relations
    • Advanced systems and technologies requirements
    • Impact on building design and maintenance procedures
    • Increased need for accurate data collection and reporting

    A variety of trends and technologies are shaping facility management, revolutionizing the way facilities are operated and maintained. Let’s examine some of the biggest trends in facility management and the challenges and opportunities they present for facility managers and operators.

    Smart Buildings

    Growth Projections for the Global Smart Buildings Market from 2023-2032 chart

    Based on data from Fortune Business Insights

    The global smart buildings market has grown significantly. It was valued at $96.96 billion in 2023, and it’s projected to grow at a CAGR of 21.8%, from $117.42 billion in 2024 to $568.02 billion by 2032.

    The rapid adoption of smart technologies marks a shift towards more efficient, sustainable, and user-friendly environments. This transformation is driven by the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other digital innovations into the physical infrastructure of facilities.

    • Advanced analytics: These advancements produce vast amounts of data, from occupancy levels to energy usage patterns. This data, analyzed through advanced analytics, informs strategic decision-making, helping managers optimize space usage, reduce costs, and improve overall building performance.
    • Automation: Smart building technologies can automate routine tasks, from HVAC adjustments to lighting control, based on real-time data and predictive analytics. This reduces manual oversight requirements and helps to reduce waste, promote sustainability, and lower operational costs, leading to more efficient facility management.
    • Safety & security: Smart building technologies enhance building safety and security measures. Real-time surveillance, access control systems, and emergency response mechanisms can now be integrated and managed through a centralized platform, improving the ability to respond to incidents and ensure occupant safety.

    While the benefits are substantial, the rapid adoption of smart building technologies also presents challenges, such as the significant upfront investment, potential cybersecurity risks, and the requirement for ongoing management and updating of these systems.

    These advanced systems require facility managers to have a solid grasp of building information systems, and there’s a growing need for skilled personnel who can manage and optimize them.

    Cloud-Based Solutions

    Cloud-based solutions are a major driver in the industry, offering opportunities for efficiency, scalability, and integration. These solutions allow facility managers to access and analyze data from anywhere, make informed decisions in real time, and improve the overall management and operation of facilities.

    • Lower costs: By utilizing cloud solutions, organizations can reduce the need for expensive on-premises hardware and the associated maintenance costs. Cloud services typically operate on a subscription model, which can be more affordable and predictable in terms of budgeting.
    • Scalability: Cloud-based solutions can be easily scaled up or down based on the facility’s needs, allowing for efficient resource management. This scalability supports the organization’s growth without the need for significant additional investment in IT infrastructure.
    • Integration: Cloud platforms can also facilitate the integration of various building management systems and applications, from energy management to security and maintenance. This integration can lead to more holistic and efficient facility management practices, and it can also enhance collaboration among team members, stakeholders, and third-party service providers.

    As with any technology that relies on internet connectivity, cloud-based solutions introduce risks related to data security and privacy. Ensuring the protection of sensitive information and compliance with data protection regulations is paramount.

    The effectiveness of cloud-based solutions is heavily reliant on consistent and high-speed internet access. Interruptions in connectivity can hinder access to the systems and data needed for facility management.

    Sustainability & Green Initiatives

    In the modern world, sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting have become crucial aspects of facility management, driven by both regulatory and societal pressures. With the increasing focus on corporate responsibility and environmental impact, organizations are being held more accountable for their operations and the effects they have on the environment and society.

    Sustainability and ESG reporting in facility management play a significant role in ensuring that businesses are operating in a way that is not only profitable but also responsible and ethical.

    • Measuring environmental impact: By collecting data on energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste generation, companies can monitor their performance and identify areas where improvements can be made to reduce their overall environmental footprint.
    • Transparency & stakeholder engagement: By disclosing information about their sustainability efforts and performance, organizations can build trust with investors, customers, employees, and the broader community. This can foster improved relationships with stakeholders and can attract socially responsible investors who want to support companies that prioritize sustainable and ethical practices.
    • Competitive advantage: Companies that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and ethical practices may also benefit from increased market opportunities, improved brand reputation, and a competitive edge in the marketplace.

    Unlike financial reporting, there is no universal set of standards for reporting on sustainability and ESG factors. This can make it difficult for facility managers to know what data to collect and how to report on their sustainability performance in a consistent and meaningful way.

    Another challenge is the complexity of collecting and analyzing data on sustainability and ESG factors. It involves tracking a wide range of data points, from energy and water consumption to waste management and indoor air quality, which may be spread across multiple systems and sources. This makes it challenging to aggregate and analyze in a timely and accurate manner.

    Different stakeholders sometimes have differing priorities and expectations related to sustainability, which can be difficult to balance. 

    Employee Well-Being

    Today’s companies are increasingly prioritizing employee and occupant well-being, with initiatives aimed at creating productive and satisfying work environments through ergonomic workspaces and indoor air quality monitoring​​.

    • Enhanced productivity: Properly designed workspaces that follow ergonomic principles can significantly reduce physical strain and discomfort, and good indoor air quality (IAQ) can improve cognitive function, reduce fatigue, headaches, and dizziness, and decrease absenteeism due to illness. This translates to higher levels of concentration and productivity.
    • Reduced absenteeism and turnover: A healthy work environment can significantly reduce absenteeism related to health issues, as well as turnover resulting from dissatisfaction with the work environment. Lower turnover rates not only reduce recruitment and training costs but also contribute to a more experienced, cohesive, and efficient team.
    • Enhanced corporate image: A company’s commitment to employee well-being reflects positively on its brand and corporate image. It signals to customers, clients, and partners that the company values its human resources and is committed to sustainable, responsible business practices.

    The upfront costs of purchasing ergonomic furniture, upgrading HVAC systems for better air quality, and implementing other wellness-focused changes can be significant. However, it’s difficult to quantify and measure the direct impact of wellness initiatives on productivity, employee satisfaction, and health outcomes, which can make it challenging to monitor and adjust strategies.

    Facility managers may find it challenging to demonstrate immediate returns on investment to stakeholders, as benefits such as increased productivity and reduced absenteeism may take time to become evident, making it challenging to justify further investment.

    Space and infrastructure limitations can also pose challenges when it comes to implementing these initiatives. For instance, older buildings may have limitations that make it difficult to implement modern ergonomic solutions or improve air quality without substantial renovations. 

    Flexible Workspaces

    Flexible workspaces are work environments that are adaptable and can be easily reconfigured to meet the changing needs of a business or organization. These spaces are designed to enable employees to work in a variety of settings, whether it be in a traditional office space, a collaborative area, a quiet zone, or even remotely.

    • Adaptability: By offering a range of work settings, employees can choose the environment that best suits their task at hand, whether it be a quiet area for focused work or a collaborative space for group projects. This can lead to increased motivation and efficiency in the workplace.
    • Reduced overhead costs: With a dynamic layout that can be easily adjusted, companies can make more efficient use of their physical space and avoid the need for costly renovations or expansions. Hot-desking and shared spaces minimize unused office real estate, especially in companies that offer remote work options.
    • Talent acquisition and retention: Modern, adaptable work environments are attractive to prospective employees, particularly the growing segment of the workforce that values flexibility and autonomy. This can be a significant advantage in talent acquisition and retention.

    Flexible workspaces come with challenges, such as managing noise levels, ensuring adequate privacy, and maintaining a sense of community and team cohesion. For example, it’s often challenging to find the right balance between open spaces, collaborative areas, and quiet zones can be challenging. Too much of one type of space can lead to underutilization of others, affecting overall productivity.

    It can also be difficult to manage shared resources efficiently, such as ensuring that all employees who need it have access to private office space at the same time or that enough conference rooms are available for scheduled meetings.

    Data security is also a potential concern. With employees moving around and using different workstations, ensuring secure and reliable access to networks and data is more complicated. The risk of data breaches may increase if proper cybersecurity measures are not in place.

    Increasing Building Standards

    Facility manager discussing building regulations while reviewing facility plans

    In recent years, building standards and regulations have become increasingly strict in order to promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and overall safety. Regulations such as California’s A.B.2446, which requires new buildings to conduct lifetime environmental impact studies and make these findings public, signify a broader shift towards sustainability and transparency in the construction and facility management industries.

    This trend is growing, as governments around the world are imposing stricter building standards to combat climate change, reduce energy consumption, and minimize facilities’ environmental footprints. While these regulations are important for the environment and public safety, they have a direct impact on facility management.

    For example, A.B.2446 requires the entire building lifecycle to be considered from the start, from using sustainable construction materials and methods to optimizing operational energy consumption and sustainable methods for eventual decommissioning. The aim is to reduce embodied carbon emissions, which account for an estimated 11% of global energy-related carbon emissions, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

    According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “In the buildings context, embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance and disposal of building materials.”

    As mentioned earlier in this guide, ISO 41001:2018, the International Standard for Facility Management Systems, was amended in 2024 to incorporate climate change awareness and action considerations. These changes apply not only to facility management but all existing and upcoming ISO Management Systems Standards (MSS).

    Companies pursuing ISO 41001:2018 certification will need to incorporate these considerations into their business practices. The amendments, added to Clauses 4.1 and 4.2 of the current Annex SL Standards, include:

    • Clause 4.1: This clause, “Understanding the organization and its context requirements,” now has a new requirement that “The organization shall determine whether climate change is a relevant issue.”
    • Clause 4.2: This clause, “Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties,” now has an additional note, “NOTE: Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.”
    • Energy auditing and benchmarking: Conducting energy audits and benchmarking building performance against industry standards can identify areas for improvement and track progress over time. Facility managers can manage these audits and implement strategies to improve energy use and reduce carbon footprints.
    • Corporate branding and reputation: Companies that are proactive in adopting sustainable practices can position themselves as industry leaders in corporate responsibility. Communicating these sustainability efforts effectively can enhance customer loyalty and attract new customers who prefer to support businesses that are committed to environmental stewardship.
    • Enhanced community relations: Implementing sustainability initiatives, especially those that have a direct positive impact on the local community, can improve a company’s relationship with the community. This might include efforts to reduce emissions, waste management practices that contribute to cleaner local environments, or the implementation of green spaces. For instance, companies can make a significant impact by implementing waste reduction and recycling programs, particularly in larger complexes and commercial buildings.

    As public awareness grows, the pressure on lawmakers to pass stricter building codes and legislation to combat climate concerns.

    Stricter building standards often require more advanced systems and technologies to be installed in buildings, such as energy-efficient HVAC systems, smart building controls, and renewable energy sources. Preventive maintenance becomes critical to ensuring systems operate at peak efficiency, reducing energy consumption, and prolonging the lifespan of building components.

    Stricter building standards can also impact the overall design and layout of buildings, and maintenance procedures must be adapted accordingly. For example, buildings with more stringent fire safety regulations may require more frequent fire drills and inspections, while buildings with enhanced energy efficiency standards may need to have their systems serviced more frequently.

    With the requirement to disclose environmental impacts, there is an increased need for accurate data collection, monitoring, and reporting. Facility managers must implement systems to track energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, and other environmental metrics. On the plus side, this data can also help identify opportunities for improvement and demonstrate sustainability efforts to stakeholders.

    Looking to the Future of Facility Management

    Facility management is a comprehensive discipline crucial for the successful operation and growth of organizations in every business sector. Effective facility management enhances the safety and productivity of workspaces and plays a pivotal role in reducing operational costs and environmental impact.

    As we look to the future, the importance of facility management in enhancing business operations, reducing environmental impact, and improving the quality of work environments cannot be overstated. The ongoing development of new technologies and the increasing focus on sustainability and flexibility will continue to drive innovation in this field, presenting both challenges and opportunities in facility management.

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