In recent years, there has been increasing, often disproportionate, talk about facility management. Yet this activity is defined rather precisely at European level in standard EN 15221, which provides all the guidelines for improving the quality of facility management in companies. Let’s clarify the meaning of these words, and then move on to look at some actual cases.
EN 15221 facility management: what is it?
Facility management is a rather broad, varied activity. In addition to the EN 15221 guidelines, there is also the IFMA definition, which shows this activity as «the company discipline that coordinates the physical workspace with human resources and the company’s activity» and that also «integrates the principles of corporate economic and financial management with those of architecture and behavioral and engineering science». Therefore, in more simple terms, it is an activity aimed at managing facilities in the best possible way – and thus, simplifying to the maximum, company buildings and relative systems – to meet company needs. If, theoretically, the facility manager is the one who deals with all activities outside the company’s core business, the common use of this terms is made to indicate the person who has the responsibility for the managing the building as such Therefore, facility management comes into close contact with building management, which, as we know, considers the structure to be a set of three fundamental elements: the people who interface with the building in various ways, the systems installed in the building and the shell that forms it, in the material sense of the word. Therefore, facility management includes the most varied activities, including safety in the workplace, system maintenance and also, energy efficiency, of course.
Facility management and energy management
We can state that the first step towards facility management digitalization took place in the energy management field, or rather, in the improvement in energy management in company buildings. Software solutions for improved building energy management always start off by collecting energy information about the installed systems; in order to intervene rationally and begin efficient energy management, it is in fact a necessity to know the situation in detail, identifying the company assets that consume most energy. The central point, in all cases, is being able to count on higher cost control, which goes hand in hand with improvement in performance. That is not all, as lower energy consumption that is guaranteed by an internal energy-saving process can also be used to strengthen brand reputation with the public. For all this to be possible, it is necessary to count on specifically-created software that can automatically and constantly monitor energy consumption.
Facility management and security: the example of access control
The organization and management of access control also comes under the facility manager’s activities. There are two goals, here: on the one hand, to ensure security in the building, and to control employee attendance, also controlling flows in protected areas, in order to protect the company environments and assets. There are several types of technology that the facility manager can count on in order to do this. There are employee attendance monitoring terminals and burglary alarm systems, and also integrations to vehicle access terminals and use of lifts.