15 July, 2021 | Posted by Cian Fahey

A Guide to the Different Types of Facilities Management Careers

different types of facilities management

When you are an accountant, everyone knows what you do. When you are a veterinarian, everyone knows what you do.

When you’re a facilities manager, it's not as simple an explanation.

Creating a guide for all the different types of facilities management careers is impossible. Each role in each company spans too many responsibilities and departments.

A facilities manager in one company will follow the same principles as a facilities manager in another company, but they could do completely different jobs each day. Facilities Management is an innately fluid career choice because your job is to anticipate changes, react to unforeseen problems and devise strategies that fit the ever-changing needs of buildings and the building’s occupants.

Furthermore, not every facilities manager carries the specific title “Facilities Manager.” As such, the way to understand the value and opportunities in facilities management is to understand what it incorporates on a macro level.


What does Facilities Management cover?

Facilities Management protects businesses, maximizes profits and saves lives.

Any building or entity that serves a purpose most be managed. In the past, facilities managers have been the silent workforce. If they are doing their jobs correctly, nobody knew they were there and everything was running smoothly. Whether that’s cleaning, maintaining faculties or upgrading technology in the workplace.

Each building has a process and a manager to execute that process when maintaining itself. Whether it’s a place of work, a public building or a support service such as a data centre or catering company, a facilities management process exists and a facilities manager is responsible for it.

Most of us did not know about the typical processes of regulating buildings until Covid-19 hit.

Once Covid-19 forced us all to wear face masks and sanitize our hands at the door, health and safety protocols went from silent background actions to overt responsibilities of everyone in the building. Facilities managers still had to do the same work they were always doing but now their presence became a noted comfort for customers and workers.

That prominence in the minds of the people is being matched by a growing presence within each industry. The value of facilities managers has been felt which has led to them being given greater input on high-end decision-making and leading to more facilities managers being promoted into top jobs at large companies.

Read more about what facilities management covers here.


Facilities Management vs Property Management

Facilities Management and Property Management are very similar but decidedly different roles.

Property is typically a company’s most valuable asset. The investment required to secure ownership or rent a property is huge, which often makes the risk associated with that investment even greater. Portobello Institute lecturer and Berka Solutions Managing Director Bernard Mac Oscair explains the importance of Property Management:

“Property management is primarily related to the ownership of the property whereas facilities management is about how the services are delivered within that property. Facilities is really focused on people and services whereas property is focused on the buildings and the actual ownership (the buying and the selling of that property or renting and leasing).”

Larger companies will have a properties division and a facilities division. The facilities division will run lots of services and make a very small amount of money whereas the property division can do one transaction and make seven times the profit with far fewer people working in it.

Each department complements the other and one can’t be successful without the other.

Here is a guide to the differing roles between property managers and facilities managers:

-Facilities Managers

  • Oversees the owner-occupied and leased spaces
  • Maintains complete business systems and makes sure they work well
  • Manages the facility staff and delegates work to them
  • Keeps the building secure and safe
  • Makes sure the infrastructure and equipment in the building are always functional and work seamlessly
  • Conducts troubleshooting in case of equipment problems to check if the problem can be solved in-house or if a specialist needs to be brought in

-Property Managers

  • Oversees all building tasks
  • Manages all the tenant leases and fulfils responsibilities of the building owner as mentioned in the lease
  • Acts as the main point of contact between owner and tenants
  • Handles rent payments from tenants and makes sure the payments come in on time
  • Helps building owners move towards their financial management goals
  • Communicates with the facility manager in case of any issues in the building facilities as reported by the tenants

You can read more about the differences between property management and facilities management here.


Roles and Responsibilities of a Facilities Manager

While we can’t cover everything that a facilities manager might do, there are real world examples that can be pointed to as a guide.

  • Lead and manage the day-to-day activities of the Maintenance department and ensure all standards are maintained.
  • Oversee ongoing maintenance, repair and preventative maintenance in the Hotel with a focus to improve efficiency, profitability and service levels.
  • Co-ordinate renovation, manage capital projects and CAPEX, managing outside contractors as required.
  • Prepare and manage the annual maintenance budget and assist in the preparation of the capital plan.
  • Build a long-term strategy and capital plan over a 3-5 year period ensuring all mechanical and electrical support functions of the resort are proactively managed.
  • Liaise and propose green initiatives in line with government support schemes and maximising the efficiency of the resort and the return on investment for the owners.

These examples are taken from a job posting for a hotel in Ireland.


Hard Facilities Management vs Soft Facilities Management

There are two types of facilities management.

Hard Facilities Management is the traditional idea of facilities management. It deals with looking after the building specifically. Any service that maintains or upgrades the physical features of the building is a hard facilities management service. Often these services are part of the building, a permanent fixture required by law.

Examples of such services are:

  • Heating, cooling, and ventilation
  • Fire safety systems
  • Plumbing
  • Lighting
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Building maintenance


Soft Facilities Management services are any services that improve the security and wellbeing of employees in the workplace. They are not always deemed necessary and are typically implemented based on the specific needs of the setting or work being done.

Examples of such services are:

  • Cleaning/janitorial
  • Building security
  • Waste management
  • Catering
  • Mail management
  • Interior decor
  • Landscaping

You can read more about the differences between hard and soft facilities management here.


Maintenance vs Repair

As the name suggests, a big part of being an effective facilities manager is managing the facilities you are responsible for. Maintaining the property and the technology in the building you work in means carrying out scheduled checks and continuous updates so that everything is functioning as efficiently and as safely as possible.

Repair is similar in that it is also about efficiency and safety but carrying out repairs comes unexpectedly. Repair work is not scheduled, it is reactive and often forces the facilities manager to delve into their problem-solving skill set to find a solution as quickly as possible.


Portobello Institute values the one in everyone and understands that education is only a part of your life. We don’t want to take up all of your time and create stress for you. You should go to college to improve your life outside of college and after college.

We are training the facilities management professionals of the future. If you would like to work in FM in a professional capacity, you can find a course that will provide you with the requisite education to do so.

Our FM course pages are listed here or read this article for a quick breakdown on what each course offers and who it is suitable for.

If you would prefer to have a direct conversation with our FM course advisor Sarah Regan, you can contact her on 01-892-0036 or by email at Sarah.Regan@portobelloinstitute.com.

For more articles on Facilities Management topics, you can explore our Knowledge Zone.

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