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For a long time Middle East developers overlooked the importance of involving the facilities management (FM) discipline in the design process, a practice which is largely considered commonplace in more mature markets.
In recent years, this has changed and major developers across the GCC are routinely requesting FM consultants to join the design team, often as early as the concept design stage. Ultimately responsible for the day-to-day management of the completed development, the FM consultant offers a practical perspective of what works operationally and what doesn't.
Issues affecting the operability or maintainability of a project, if not considered and addressed at the design stage, can lead to a significant increase in the overall cost of the development.
Main cost driver
Traditionally, much of the focus has been on the initial construction cost of a new development — the capital cost. However, many do not realise that up to 75 per cent of a building's "whole life" cost is borne across its 25-30 year anticipated useful life.
As such, getting it right from the outset is very important and will result in a well-designed, easily maintained, cost-effective building. It will benefit not just the owner, but the end user or investor as well.
Ideally, the facilities management consultant will work closely with the client and the design team starting from concept design to undertake a peer review of architectural, electrical and mechanical designs and optimise the operability, maintainability and sustainability of the development.
Scope of the review
This review should also look at improving the user experience, enhancing service delivery, protecting the building's assets, aligning with sus-tainability objectives and reducing future operation and maintenance costs.
Since the reviews are based on a blend of operational experience and technical expertise, implementation of the recommendations will greatly enhance the quality of service and potentially achieve very significant savings in operating expense and capital expense across the whole life of the project.
Commencing the FM design review at concept design stage will lead to the greatest savings, with minimal disruption to the project plan. Incorporating FM review at a much later stage can reduce the positive impact on the design, as many good ideas could adversely affect the construction delivery programme.
Optimum results will be gained if an FM peer design review is undertaken at all three stages of the design process: concept, schematic and detailed/construc-tion issue. As more detail is available, components, materials and finishes are put forward, resulting in more benefits from the design review process.
Typically, FM consultants will review access provisions, mechanical, electrical, architectural, health, safety and environment, plant rooms, service rooms, office space, storage, workshops, support rooms, public access, façade cleaning and maintenance, building maintenance units and storage, car parking, logistics, emergency services, concierge, security, etc.
The review will focus on the practicality of operating the development and reducing long-term cost.
FM delivery strategy
It was not long ago when FM service providers were typically handed the keys of a building at the end of construction and was expected to "get on with it".
Fortunately, as with the FM design review process, many developers are encouraging FM consultants or selected operators to become involved in the project at a much earlier stage.
This involvement ensures a well-thought-out operational delivery plan is executed from the outset, leading to a smoother transition from construction to operations.
The development of an FM operational delivery strategy by the consultant for services such as cleaning, waste management, mechanical, electrical and plumbing maintenance, sustainability, health and safety and security, is essential in the seamless handover and smooth operation of the facility.
The client will benefit from identifying the exact requirements to operate the development efficiently and cost effectively, given the consultant's impartial involvement.
Service performance requirements will identify international best practice key performance indicators (KPIs) and service-level agreements (SLAs) that should be included in the contracts of the service providers.
The FM consultant will also establish:
* the FM master plan
* a scope of work for all FM services
* FM resource requirements (regardless of whether the final delivery method is an in-house or outsourced solution)
* establish the operational budget and benchmarking for various FM services, including SLAs and KPIs
* provide recommendation for the most appropriate computer maintenance management system (CMMS) for the client or project. The CMMS is a key tool for long-term monitoring of assets and the service provider's performance, as well as providing basis for help-desk arrangements.
Once a clear understanding of the service delivery requirements is established, the FM consultant can undertake the pre-qualification and tender process for the FM services, if required. This should include the selection of professional service providers from the market, as well as ensuring they can provide the services in accordance with the service levels identified.
This process is essential in ensuring only suitable service providers are invited to tender. The pre-qualification process should request all relevant information concerning the company's history, stability and capability, and it should also include reference projects and client testimonials. At this stage, a good FM consultant will also draw up an outline of the mobilisation plan and establish a suitable form of contract.
Quality and price
Once the pre-qualification stage is completed, the FM consultant can commence the detailed tender process as per international standards, ensuring that recommendations to the client offer the best technical solution at the most competitive price.
For a very long time, developers and owners alike saw the involvement of an FM consultant in the early stages of the project as an unnecessary cost. However, the savings that can be identified by an experienced FM practitioner will often significantly outweigh the modest cost of conducting such a peer review.
Similarly, a well-thought-out and implemented operational service delivery strategy will result in an optimal balance between quality and cost, avoiding last-minute fixes that lead to poor service and high costs.
Get to learn more on Facility Management.
Source: Richard Naylor, special to Property Weekly.
The writer is the CEO — Saudi Arabia of UGL Services, a facilities management firm.