A Simple Blueprint for Starting Commercial Property Facility Management

The facility management (FM) process is an alternative income earner for larger commercial real estate brokerages.  It offers another income stream that is not unlike commercial property management, although the tasks to manage and service are a bit different.

If you want to embark into facility management as a specialised service for your city based brokerage then you are going to need the right people with extensive skills within the property type.  Property managers that have worked on complex office or retail buildings are generally the best people to consider when structuring a facility management service.

So what is the concept of facility management anyway?  Essentially it is the control and integration of the all factors of the property operations of a large property into a plan and process.

The target in FM is to remove the frustrations and functions of daily building operations and performance away from the property owner and or occupier.  Asset Managers or Fund Managers also look to the concept as a way of controlling a larger complex property within performance targets whilst removing the need to control day to day events and issues.

Control Issues and Property Audit

To understand the things that may need to be controlled in establishing a facilities management team for a large property it is wise to do a complete property audit.  Here are some ideas to help and in this case we are using a large retail shopping centre as a sample property type.  Here are some of the bigger points to consider:

  1. Targets of the Property Owner – Any property under FM will require specific targets and key performance indicators as part of a business plan. Understand exactly what the property owner requires when it comes to property income, risk, reporting, occupation, and future performance.
  2. Stakeholders – In most properties of this type there will be a need to identify all parties involved in the appointment and the role that they will play into the future. Normally the groups will be the tenants, property owner, customers, contractors, financiers, insurers, and the control team.  Every stakeholder will have a place in the planning process.  Targets, skills, knowledge, and roles will need to be determined.
  3. Location – The location of the property will have an impact on the facility management plan. Locational factors will include roads, highways, transport, environmental threats, locational events (storms, flooding etc.), and the people visiting or using the property.
  4. Asset – What is the asset? Define it physically and financially so you know what you are working with.  Look at the relationships between property performance and the people that use and or occupy the property.  What do people expect of the property?  What are the matters of concern with the property moving ahead?
  5. Property Lifecycle – The age of the asset will have an impact on how the property is used and maintained. Ultimately the property lifecycle should be determined through a series of special investigations including operations, structural, environmental, and financial assessments.  Special reports and studies may be required to determine exactly where the property is today in its lifecycle and what factors of importance should be controlled as a priority in the facility management plan.
  6. Duration of Appointment – Typically a plan of this type requires a long term appointment given that property performance issues and benchmarks can take years to control and respond to change.
  7. Risks – Every property will bring with it some factors of risk. The idea here is to find, limit and/or control those risks.  Property operations will have a direct flow through to the risk factors of the location and the performance of the property.

From all of these studies, you can see the complexity of the facilities management plan required for a large commercial or retail property asset.

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