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Facilities Management Should Not Be An Afterthought

The facility manager should provide inputs at every stage of the development phase.

March 11, 2024
By Anselm Agbo
3 min read

Far too often we see facilities management viewed as an afterthought of a construction project, particularly here in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The sector must realise that well-managed facilities provide a comfortable, safe and healthy environment for construction professionals to thrive within. 

Not only does it increase morale amongst the workforce, but a properly maintained construction environment also increases the lifespan of a building and reduces the chance of obsolescence. 

While I acknowledge there are some great examples of proper facilities management across the Sub-Saharan African region, there is certainly more work to do. 


Firstly, there is a need for facility management professionals to collaborate with other professionals and industry stakeholders to achieve organisational goals. Historically, I have noticed the role of the facility manager seemingly begins once a project is completed – but this should never be the case. 

Their skills should be tapped into at the design stage of every project and continue through to the completion and commissioning stage. This would ensure the facility manager provides inputs at every stage of the development phase, thereby making the facility easier to manage.  

It would also enable the individual to plan their maintenance strategy, build a maintenance team, and come up with a budget to be used in maintaining the facility. 

Sustainable operations

The importance of sustainability continues to rise, and we know the built environment is responsible for almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions and has an extensive impact on land use and biodiversity. To make buildings more user and environment friendly, we must emphasise the role and benefits of adopting sustainable practices in facilities management.  

Examples include using energy-efficient lighting systems like LED bulbs to significantly reduce energy consumption, installing water-saving fixtures and fittings like low-flow toilets and taps, and pursuing certifications such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for new constructions to showcase commitment to sustainability.  
Organisations that prioritise energy and water conservation, waste reduction and green building certifications not only contribute to a healthier planet but also reap rewards in terms of cost savings, regulatory compliance, and a strengthened brand reputation. 

Continued professional development 

Meanwhile, facilities management professionals need to proactively adapt to emerging trends and challenges by embracing technology and improving their skills to become more effective in carrying out their duties. 

Some of these new technologies enable proactive maintenance, real-time monitoring, and data-driven decision-making, ultimately leading to improved efficiency, cost savings, and a more responsive and adaptive approach to facilities. 

Other key skills required by a facilities manager include project management, health and safety, information technology communication, and people management expertise.  

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has a wealth of resources available to its members to boost all these skills such as the technical information sheet focusing on facilities management for project managers which highlights how project managers can work collaboratively to achieve greater success. 

It also delves into the future of facilities management from a sustainability and technology perspective; you can read more about it on CIOB’s website

Facilities management is undeniably a critical and strategic function within organisations, and should not be treated as an afterthought. 

The role of facilities management professionals is evolving to meet the demands of a rapidly changing workplace landscape by embracing technological advancements, adapting to flexible work environments, prioritising sustainability, and fostering collaboration. 

Acknowledging the integral role of facilities management is not merely recognising the importance of maintaining physical spaces, it is an investment that benefits both organisations and the environment. 

Photo: Building information management (© Melpomenem | Dreamstime)