Facilities management has become increasingly challenging over the years. Given all that history has shown us regarding catastrophic failures due to a lack of maintenance, why do public facilities continue expanding at a rate that surpasses the ability and/or commitment to responsibly maintain them?
History has been known to speak loudly and with accuracy relative to the expansion of public facilities and the challenge to maintain them. The challenges to keep pace with the growing population and the ever-changing requirements for contemporary designs are felt in every sector of our public facilities. Regardless, we, the public, trust that those responsible are managing these assets effectively and efficiently. Research indicates that this doesn’t appear to be the case.
Included in this paper are the results of a study that focuses on the current practices of public facilities management programs. The intent is to identify elements that either support or detract from efficiently operated and effective facilities departments. Given the nature of this industry, both objective and subjective elements were addressed. Objectively, the organizational hierarchy and the associated communications pathways were identified. Subjectively, the lifecycle of the facilities mission was dissected and discussed through an interview process. Fifteen specific data points were addressed, which included accountability, effective communication, data driven program development, allocation of resources, documentation of work performed, continuous training and education, and the use of technology.
This study also serves as a measurement against the historical performance of public facilities management practice. There have been decades of growth in public assets. During that time, innovation within operational practice and technology offers new opportunities for organizations to address issues of efficiency that translate directly into a measure of effectiveness. Given the continued outcry for additional funding, it seems there are challenges that continue to exist despite the innovations offered. This study focuses on those challenges. Further analysis, based on successful models of public facilities management, provides insight as to what practices, if adopted, may drive the lesser achieving programs toward greater effectiveness.
In order to reverse the declining momentum, we must first identify the most common areas that challenge facilities managers, and understand how they currently address those challenges. This research will address the following three questions:
- RQ1: What do facilities managers perceive to be the greatest obstacles to ensuring their facilities are properly maintained?
- RQ2: What factors do facilities managers perceive to be the greatest challenge in ensuring sufficient resources are allocated to current maintenance?
- RQ3: To what degree do facilities managers perceive that more effective communications would positively impact on the effectiveness of facilities management and maintenance?
Author: Rebecca Smith
Cite as: Smith, R. (2017). Facilities management: How is public leadership responding to crisis? Muma Business Review, 1(16). 199-215.