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Facility Management Practices: Research Report #16

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Facility Management Practices is the result of IFMA's most recent effort in a series of reports designed to improve the practice of facility management through shared information and comparative studies. The data presented here were collected though a single mailing to IFMA’s Professional members and is based on the first 2,200 usable questionnaires returned during the last half of 1995.

The purpose of FM Practices is to provide the facility management profession with a leading reference on FM programs, standards and staffing practices. This report presents an updated look inside successful FM departments across a wide array of industries, size and uses. It contains additional detail in areas that proved to be of particular interest to members based upon a similar report in 1988, and subgroups of data have been extended whenever practical. In particular, FM staffing has been expanded and a major portion of this publication is dedicated to this subject. The goal is to provide the facility management professional with as much direct and applicable comparative data as is possible today.

Executive Summary

Report summarizes the programs and staffing composition of 2,200 facility management departments.

A wide array of industries, sizes and facility use groups are represented by IFMA professional members surveyed during the later part of 1995. Of the 2,200 departments included, no single industry/use combination exceeded 5.5 percent of the sample. However, the overall sample is weighted in favor of multisite (62%), headquarters use (37%) and service sector industries (60%).

Close to 90 percent are responsible for housekeeping, but only 1 in 5 perform with internal staff.

Maintenance operations and space management are primary areas of FM responsibilities. Contracted services most often are used in the maintenance area, while internal staff resources perform most space management work.

FM departments have different responsibility "profiles" depending upon size, use, type of space and industry. For example 72 percent of small facilities have responsibility for administrative service areas with a majority performing with internal staff. Only 44 percent of the larger facilities have this responsibility and only about one-fourth perform this work with internal staff.

Security given highest priority by businesses in the information services, data and research areas.

Security levels differed markedly depending upon facility use and industry. The manufacturing sector as a whole had high levels of security, particularly in the electronics and chemical (including pharmaceuticals) industries, while information service/data centers and research institutions had the highest levels of security. The data also suggest high public access areas required in the government, educational and customer service facilities require more tolerant levels of security.

Churn averaged 35 percent with over one-half of all workstations open plan.

Business dynamics are reflected in key indicators such as turnover, restructuring and workforce growth rates. Our data suggest churn to be similar in that standard rates will vary depending upon the nature of the business. Office plan mix also reflects such differences. Industries that tend to average higher churn rates show a significantly higher proportion of open office plans as well. Reorganization remains the foremost reason for high churn rates in both declining and increasing workforces.

Over one-half of all departments use CAD.

Computer-aided design, inventory or asset management and computerized maintenance logs reportedly were used by more than one-half of the FM departments in the survey. CAD use, in particular, increased as the space managed by the department increased.

A majority of facilities report chargebacks for both department services and facility overhead.

Sixty-four percent of facilities reported chargebacks for FM services but the method and extent were varied. While 31 percent charged users for special projects only, 43 percent reported using a combination of fixed and project charges. Facility overhead most often was charged back to end users using a fixed rent equivalent.

FM formality related to facility complexity.

With the exception of emergency-related plans or scheduled maintenance programs, most FM policy areas remain unwritten in the facilities surveyed. "Formality"— the number and extent of written policies—was highly related to facility size and complexity, e.g., number of amenities, employees, computer use and scope of departmental responsibility.

Today's issues include ergonomics and emergency response—flexible work arrangements and smart buildings are emerging issues.

Leading issues of concern to facility managers include ergonomics, recycling, emergency response and telecommunications. These appear to replace the compliance issues related to ADA, smoking and asbestos that showed high impact in the past.

Issues that appeared most frequently as future concerns were flexible work arrangements, smart buildings, ergonomics, employees commuting options and sick building syndrome (SBS).

Security and computer usage were reported as the most troublesome department issues.

Staffing doing more with less?

Part II of this report details FM staff positions and counts by facility size and profiles each sue group. In addition to size and use, staffing was influenced strongly by departmental practices such as outsourcing, formality, amenities, scope and unionization.

While this survey did not specifically probe changes trends, the data does suggest a shift toward doing more with fewer internal FM staff and/or perhaps greater use of outsourcing. Facilities reporting no change in space showed a decline in staff levels for all categories—professionals, skilled and custodial workers. Departments assigned greater space (average increase of 26 percent in GSF) reported only a modest increase in professionals (less than 2%), no change in skilled workers and an actual decline in custodial workers.


Facility Management Practices: Research Report #16

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