A Day in The Life of a Facilities Manager

Contributed by Christopher M. Keenan, Senior Vice President of Property Management, LEED AP, RPA, FMA

What is a facilities manager?

The variety of responsibilities associated with facilities management leads to days that are far from routine; it is arguably what makes the job so exciting. Facilities managers manage buildings. Their work is all about producing the best performance for the building they’re managing – while keeping costs under control. This can include the management of snow plowing, landscaping, heating and cooling systems, maintenance, accounting, and more. We do this for our clients by first identifying their major goals for building operations and maintenance; we then create a plan to achieve these goals. We simply work through our plan and report on our progress. The selection of vendors, reporting on services, and customer satisfaction surveys help create and maintain buildings that meet the goals of their owners. Throw in a healthy dose of the unexpected and you can quickly see why no two days are the same in the life of a facilities manager.

A routine day for a facilities manager

There are, of course, routine tasks for a facilities manager, mostly dealing with daily building operations, customer coordination, and vendor selection. These tasks might include move-in of a new tenant or selection of a snow plowing service, or even a fire drill, to name just a handful. To be more specific, routine tasks usually fall into a few general categories:

Managing Building Operations. This includes the complete review of tenant leases, thorough inspection of the buildings, development of guidelines for access to the building, and the establishment of a plan that will serve as the service blueprint for our team. All operation plans are individually tailored and followed with the goal of enhancing a building’s value over the long term.

Client coordination. This is direct communication with the building owner so that we can customize reports and operating guidelines to meet his/her needs. Facilities managers need to be thoroughly schooled in policies and procedures on operations, reporting, and accounting matters.

Vendor Selection. This is the process by which we identify contract services like snow plowing or janitorial, then create performance specifications and qualify those vendors. We request proposals from a list of pre-qualified vendors, review results, negotiate and award the contract, monitor performance, and document savings. At Ciminelli, we use a web-based work order system to help us document and report on these contract services, major repairs, and the work of vendors.

Successfully managing the “unexpected”

It is the unexpected that keeps a facilities manager on his or her toes. Floods, fires, large capital repairs, power outages, and unscheduled projects top the list of unplanned events. Although a facilities manager can rely on tried-and-true building management practices for preventing these unplanned events, it doesn’t keep the unexpected from happening.

In our 30 years of managing commercial real estate, we’ve found that the most successful approach to any event, expected or not, is always based on teamwork and strong communication with the building owner. Responsiveness to a customer’s needs during these events is of significant value to everyone involved.

Having a facilities management team that is highly trained in every facet of facilities management makes taking control of any situation easier. Our facilities managers and maintenance technicians are licensed and certified in many areas of expertise, often eliminating the need to call in a vendor to perform repair services, which in turn leads to quicker response times and resolution. This ultimately translates into an easier, less stressful client experience.

In this day and age, the use of technology enables clients to efficiently and effectively communicate with our facilities managers and facilities maintenance technicians about any issue. This is especially useful in the event of an emergency. With our web-based work order system, all work orders are received, processed, and dispatched electronically. Each maintenance technician has an iPhone, allowing them to receive the work order immediately, no matter time or place, expediting the service and allowing them to get to the building as soon as possible. Our ability to rapidly respond allows for more control over any event.

The most important job of a facilities manager

While all of the tasks a facilities manager faces are important, there is a common thread that binds them all: the management of information. This role as information manager is crucial to success in the face of a facilities manager’s daily challenges. Whether the manager is performing routine facilities maintenance by checking a loose doorknob or performing large capital repairs, there should always be continuous communication between the facilities manager, the building owner, and the tenant. At Ciminelli, the delivery and effectiveness of the services provided and the strength of communication between the facilities management team and the customer are what makes our facilities management team a valued partner that customers can trust.

Contact Ciminelli today for your facilities management!

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