We asked Integrated Estate Management’s operations director Alistair Scott to tackle the topic of asset management and maintenance as buildings reopen by answering three key questions: Where are we now, where do we need to get to next – and how do we get there?
Asset management and maintenance as buildings reopen.
Where are we now?
Business leaders have come to realise, thanks to fluctuating Covid restrictions last year, that while it’s easy to close a building, the same can’t be said for reopening. It’s not as simple as flicking a switch back on. As such, hard FM services are a lot more understood as a key business enabler and associated is the need to carefully monitor and manage compliance. FMs now have a bigger voice among senior leadership and in the boardroom, the lines of communication are more open and they are being relied on for their expertise.
Where do we need to get to next?
Even before the pandemic a lot of buildings were not fully compliant, and that number will have grown in the last year. Now’s the time to tackle that issue. That doesn’t mean everything has to be done all at once, but it’s a great chance to set a strong foundation. From an industry perspective, we need to avoid the race to the bottom. Clients now have a better appreciation of our services so let’s do that justice with our costs. The value is that we can form stronger partnerships thanks to the heightened understanding of our services.
How do we get there?
FMs and asset managers must capitalise on their enhanced roles within the business – we need to be seen as business enablers and not just cost and risk. Not only must communication be frequent, but it must be simple – people just switch off if it gets too technical. I like using a car analogy. If a car has been in a garage for a year, you wouldn’t just dust it off and be on your way. You’d check the oil, battery, lights and more. A building is no different. This will get buy in from leadership and also help to avoid asset management budgets being cut.
Alistair Scott is operations director at Integrated Estate Management (IEM)