Issued by Perfect Word Consulting (Pty) Ltd
At its most granular level, facilities management is the maintenance of an organisation’s buildings and equipment. The South African Facilities Management Association (SAFMA) defines facilities management as; “An enabler of sustainable enterprise performance through the whole life management of productive workplaces and effective business support services.”
More than merely preserving the physical environment, facilities management is crucial to various business processes. As such, it is a varied and multi-disciplinary role that covers various aspects across numerous fields. From people management to working with suppliers and ensuring customer service, building maintenance and support, property portfolio and space management, and project management. The expert facilities manager is also a total project manager, taking control of procurement; risk, financial, information and quality management; and controls environmental issues.
Eddie Sheehy (CMgr FCMI), Programme Manager at the professional training provider, MOL states that; “Effective facilities management, combining resources and activities, is vital to the success of any organisation. At a corporate level, it contributes to the delivery of strategic and operational objectives. On a day-to day level, effective facilities management provides a safe and efficient working environment, which is essential to the performance of any business – whatever its size and scope.”
Echoing these sentiments, John J Coetzee, CEO at Green Worx Cleaning Solutions, adds that the control of environmental issues plays into the combination of resources, and the safety that the working environment offers. “Corporate South Africa is finally realising the importance of sustainability in business, and is becoming increasingly aware of its environmental impact.”
As a member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), which operates with the mission to transform the South African Property sector, Green Worx strives to partner with the GBCSA to change the way the world is built (and maintained). “The key is to go further than building green – but also maintaining these buildings, executing the entire facilities management role with green thinking, sustainability and environmental issues in mind.”
Part of the role is ensuring the health and safety of employees, while creating an environment that is healthy and will not negatively impact on the long-term health of employees or the environment. “Traditional chemical cleaning agents are still widely used across many facilities. The larger the building, the more chemicals are used, and the greater the exposure to harmful volatile organic compounds becomes,” adds Coetzee.
Achieving Green Star Rating when the doors to the building open is only half of the equation. The real achievement is maintaining this green status going forward, for the entire lifecycle of the building itself, and the business operating within it. “Ongoing green practices are essential to truly sustainable business,” concludes Coetzee. “From green cleaning to the implementation of sustainable practices, corporates have a long way to go in catching up with international trends towards environmental responsibility – and facilities managers play a critical role in directing this movement.”