Insight: Why IFM is essential to manage a sustainable city project

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Insight: Why IFM is essential to manage a sustainable city project

By Melvis Figueiredo
Head of Business Development for IFM, ENGIE Solutions GCC

How do you oversee the management of several thousand mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) and civil assets and effectively coordinate with countless contractors, all while upholding the stringent sustainability benchmarks of a purpose-built sustainable city?

This is the challenge that ENGIE Solutions faced when it was awarded the facilities management contract at one of the largest sustainable projects in the region. The solution to this complex challenge lies in the Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) model, one of the biggest trends in the industry currently.

IFM is a strategic operating model that combines diverse services under a single management team and aims to enhance operational efficiencies, reveal valuable insights, and create cost-saving opportunities for any business.

What is integrated facilities management, and what can you do with it?

It enhances productivity across your business and creates the right value proposition by simplifying day-to-day management and streamlining internal and external communication. It covers various services, including multi-technical operation and maintenance services, energy management, cleaning and security services, space planning, and vendor management.

These services ensure the repair and upkeep of the facility’s structure, systems, and equipment; the protection of the facility, its occupants, and its assets; the optimisation of energy consumption; the design and allocation of the facility’s space; the sanitation and hygiene of the facility; and the coordination and supervision of external contractors and suppliers. Implementing IFM in your business improves the organisation’s brand and ensures the facilities are always well-maintained, clean, and secure.

Beyond its functional value, IFM has emerged as a comprehensive model with numerous advantages. These include not only the anticipated cost reductions but also heightened operational performance, long-term asset life cycle management, elevated service delivery standards, regulatory compliance, adaptability to evolving requisites, and a substantial contribution to sustainability and energy efficiency.

Why choose third-party facility management?

Enterprises engage a third-party facility management entity for various reasons, with cost reduction as a fundamental incentive. This is where IFM shines, in contrast to the traditional processes it replaces, which are characterised by multiple vendor contracts, input-based requirements, diverse software systems, and management silos that are common in conventional facilities management.

IFM’s potential to systematically curtail operational costs is unparalleled. Adaptability and innovation in the face of adversity are crucial for service providers to be resilient in their service delivery model.

By consolidating diverse services within a single contractual framework, organisations can eliminate the complexities of multiple vendors, thus reducing administrative overhead. The integrated approach further facilitates resource optimisation by having synergies, curbing waste, and mitigating redundancies.

Furthermore, a proactive approach and the optimal use of asset management systems and technology for predictive or condition-based maintenance safeguards against costly repairs and operational downtimes.

Moreover, operational efficiencies, especially on large-scale complex facilities, are often impeded by organizational siloes. IFM acts as a driver for enhanced organisational performance by establishing a unified management system with solutions-oriented strategies.

This affords organisations a perfect vantage point into their facility operations, enabling the identification of inefficiencies and the streamlined implementation of improvements. It also enhances department communication and coordination, improving productivity and seamless operations.

IFM, by centralising control, ensures uniformity in service delivery across all facilities. This unifying approach guarantees adherence to consistently high standards, thereby boosting the overall quality of service and operational efficiencies.

Creating a single point of contact expedites issue resolution, increases response times, and fosters customer and end-user satisfaction.

A focus on compliance and health & safety

Additionally, prioritising health & safety (H&S) through a collaborative approach with all stakeholders helps to refine H&S standards over time.

For example, ENGIE Solution’s “No life at risk” means, for both employees and contractors, implementing various practices that apply to everyone. This philosophy is tied to a broader, global vision of “ENGIE One Safety,” whose goal is to achieve the sustainable elimination of serious and fatal accidents for all workers.

Another critical aspect of the FM industry is navigating a dynamic operational landscape characterised by constant changes in legislation, safety standards, national objectives, and technological shifts.

Compliance with various local, national, and international regulations is a moving target. An integrated agile approach substantially simplifies this complex process by establishing a centralised tracking and reporting system, ensuring service providers can align all functions with required regulatory frameworks.

This serves as a safeguard against legal risks and amplifies the organisation’s standing.

Scaling up (or down)

Similarly, IFM streamlines the process of applying technology at scale. In this case, implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) and digitalisation in facilities management has revolutionised how buildings and infrastructure are monitored, maintained, and optimised.

IoT enables the integration of various systems and devices within a facility, allowing for real-time data collection, analysis, and automated control.

For example, IoT devices such as sensors, actuators, and controllers monitor and control various building systems, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, access control, and security.

These systems can be remotely monitored and adjusted to optimise energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and security. IoT sensors and smart meters can also monitor energy consumption patterns in real-time, allowing facility managers to identify inefficiencies and implement energy-saving strategies.

Building sustainable cities of the future

In emergent sustainable cities, supporting the overarching green goal demands a shift from traditional approaches. In this case, IFM is crucial in promoting sustainability and energy efficiency.

Organisations can systematically curtail their carbon footprint and receive substantial energy savings by implementing comprehensive energy management strategies.

Furthermore, the comprehensive approach facilitates easier integration of sustainable practices across all facilities, thereby contributing tangibly to corporate social responsibility goals.Integrated facilities management offers many advantages that substantially augment an organisation’s operational efficiency, financial performance, and sustainability.

Adopting this integrative approach equips organisations with the tools and process to navigate and proactively address the complexities central to modern facilities management practice.

Source: Construction Week Online

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