Buildings, just like other fixed assets, require regular maintenance to sustain their optimal operation. They have a life span that can really be prolonged through proper maintenance. Proper maintenance of commercial buildings fosters strong tenancy relations, reduces vacancy rates, boosts appreciation rate and generally increases return on investment. To realize better returns, real estate investors and tenants should incorporate facilities management services as part of their building operations.
The opportunity cost of building maintenance is what facilities management seek to address. Unfortunately, facilities management is yet to be fully appreciated in Kenya. This can be attributed to limited awareness and poor building maintenance culture. It is important to understand the two parameters if we are to achieve sustainability for buildings in Kenya. Sustainability is about maintaining or preserving the ecological balance. The role of buildings as an agent of decay cannot be underscored in the race towards sustainability. And the tipping point is Facilities Management.
Facilities Management (FM) is the operation and maintenance of buildings and equipment thereon. The principal priority of FM is keeping people safe within the buildings. The term “facility” (pl. facilities) refers to something built, installed or established to serve a purpose. Examples include real estate property, buildings, furniture, technical infrastructure (HVAC), lighting, IT-services and other user-specific equipment and appliances. FM is crucial for sustainability of a building’s life cycle.
Building life cycle is the overall view of a building over the course of its entire life – design, construction, operation and maintenance, demolition and waste treatment. FM is mostly concerned with the operation and maintenance phase. This phase encompasses maintenance, repair, replacement and refurbishment of a building. It is concerned with the day-to-day activities necessary for the building, its systems and equipment to perform optimally. Operations and Maintenance is well executed through preventive (predictive) maintenance and Corrective (repair) maintenance. Preventive Maintenance consists of a series of time-based maintenance requirements that provide a basis for planning, scheduling and executing scheduled maintenance. Corrective maintenance, on the other hand, entails repairs necessary to restore an equipment to properly functioning condition.