03 February, 2021 | Posted by Cian Fahey

What does Facilities Management cover?

Facilities Manager

Facilities Management protects businesses, maximizes profits and saves lives.

What Is Facilities Management?

Any building or entity that serves a purpose must be managed. To do so you need a process and someone to execute that process. That is what Facilities Management encompasses. 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 and facilities manager is needed.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, all of us were suddenly more aware of safety protocols. Whether casually browsing your local supermarket, celebrating your birthday in your local supermarket or taking that wonderful two-week vacation in your local supermarket, you wore a mask and disinfected your hands. You may have endured restricted access for pedestrians, redirected traffic routes or stations for temperature checks upon entry too.  We all did it and we all did so together. That didn’t just happen on its own. Facilities managers established a clear process, made the right equipment available and put staff in position to make customers follow the rules. It was easy to understand the need for this specific process because all of us knew about Covid-19.

Most of us do not know about the typical processes that regulate buildings.

The Covid-19 response was aggressive because it needed to be. Not all processes need to be that aggressive because not all problems are that prevalent or aggressive.

There was a different safety protocol in place prior to the pandemic and there will be a different one in place after the pandemic.

Facilities managers must deal with this constant change. They are responsible for how companies react to challenges, both seen and unforeseen. Their jobs require being both proactive and reactive while covering a broad range of roles.

It’s not only about keeping people safe.

The IFMA is the International Facility Management Association (the American equivalent of the IWFM in Ireland) and they list the goals of facilities management as:

  • Safety
  • Efficiency
  • Functionality
  • Comfort

Different buildings have different requirements, but each process is devised with those same principles in mind.

Read why you should upskill in facilities management


Since there are so many different professions and settings in which facilities management is necessary, this is a line of work that encompasses multiple disciplines. To effectively anticipate and solve problems, they must focus on what works best for the people, the process and the technology within the environment that they work in. Doing this effectively means carrying out different tasks while understanding the wider setup of the building or campus they are responsible for. Each individual element of the environment has its own specific requirements separate from those it shares its environment with.

If the needs of the staff/machinery change, you change. If the safety requirements change, you change them.

Through safety protocols, business maintenance and strategic thinking, facilities managers maintain consistent effectiveness in an inconsistent environment. In turn, they become integral members of staff in every company.

That is why the facility market is expected to be worth $1 trillion by 2025, according to Portobello’s Lead Lecturer in Facilities Management Eoin O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan has a Masters in Project Management and is a qualified Process and Chemical Engineer.

As custodians of the hard (physical) and soft (key services) infrastructure for an organization, facilities  managers often look after a company’s most expensive assets. Be it machinery, infrastructure or the staff themselves, there is always a direct connection to the vital organs of a business. As such, they have a massive impact on said business’s bottom line.

That’s why the industry is growing at a rapid pace. The budgets are growing and the teams are becoming larger. Covid-19 might change the industry but it’s not going to derail it. Considering the greater emphasis being put on safety and the strain being put on businesses, the pandemic might even motivate companies to put a greater emphasis on the facility market.

And since there are so many ways in which to regulate your assets, there are many ways in which you can invest in those managing your assets.

Facilities managers don’t always share the same title. It is a role that can be shared between employees. But regardless of the structure of the company, the roles have commonality across the industry.


Some shared aspects of facilities management are:

  • Security
  • Catering and other key site services
  • Grounds Management
  • Planning
  • Sustainability and environmental management
  • Building Operations
  • Project Management
  • Space Planning
  • Workplace Strategy
  • Real Estate Management

There are a few shared aspects of facilities management that are relatively new. IT infrastructure is becoming a factor for every company regardless of size. Having the ability to manage an online network (be it intranet or external) is now a skill that falls under the facilities management umbrella. This is a new branch that opens the door for new people with different skill sets, which in turn grows the industry once again. Furthermore, 20 and 30 years ago, the environment and sustainability were less emphasized than they are today. The same can be said for the mental health of staff. An understanding of the long-term value of employees and physical infrastructure has moved to the front of the collective company mind.

So many different people can qualify as facilities managers with the right training. It is a great direction to go in when upskilling or changing direction in your career.

A leader who creates accountability with great attention to detail and a mind for strategic planning will excel in the facility market. Not just anyone can be a facilities manager, but you can come from any industry or through any career path to become a facilities manager. It is a growing industry and an aspirational career that will offer long-term security, day-to-day intrigue and financial reward.


The First Steps Towards A Facilities Management Career

Portobello Institute offers courses that suit both those changing their career path and those looking to take their first steps.

The IWFM Level 3, 4 and 5 awards are internationally recognized, professional qualifications. These qualifications enable career progression and improve your earning potential in a relatively short space of time. You can comfortably attain these qualifications while still working your full-time job because this is an online course delivered with webinars.

If an under or post-graduate degree is more applicable to you, Portobello offers a BSc (Hons) Level 8 and MSc Level 9 course in Facilities and Workplace Management. These are not just courses for those coming straight from school. The value of your experience within the facility market will be recognized by advanced entry routes. This considers your past industry experience as well as relevant trade and academic qualifications to place you at the appropriate point in your chosen course.


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