Most casual conversations won’t be derailed if you confuse facilities management with property management. The two terms are similar enough that you can use them as one in a casual setting but there are distinct differences that can cause confusion and subsequent tangible problems if misused in a business setting.
Although they are closely related terms, they are not interchangeable.
These distinct differences must be understood by educated facilities management professionals when engaging colleagues, customers and other professionals. Bernard MacOscair, Facilities Management Lecturer at Portobello Institute, explains the difference between facilities management and 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 are really focused on people and services whereas property is focused on the buildings and the actual ownership (the buying and selling of that property or renting and leasing)," he said.
Portobello Institute lecturers have extensive industry experience and Bernard noted the vast financial difference by using the example of a large real estate company he recently worked with.
“There is a property division and a facilities division. [The] facilities division ran lots of services and made a very small amount of money and had lots of people working for them. Whereas the real estate did one transaction the week before and they made seven times the profit in one transaction," he said.
One department of the company carrying a much greater financial reward doesn’t make it more important than the other. The only reason the property carries such value is that it’s being maintained by the facilities management department.
Many of the tasks of a facilities manager and property manager overlap and interlink. Ultimately, they are both responsible for the building.
The Sila Group is a Real Estate Services and Development Company based in India. They have put together a smart list of defining features to differentiate between facilities managers and property managers:
Roles of a Facilities Manager
- 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
Roles of a Property Manager
- 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
While the facilities market is broadening with each passing day to incorporate new skill sets, property management is largely based on Real Estate skill sets.
The main responsibility of a property manager is to maintain the owner and tenant relationship in order to maximise profits. The property manager acts on behalf of the property owners and is responsible for the seamless cash flow.
Facilities managers can come from any background. As previously outlined in ‘What Does Facilities Management Cover?’, you can build a career from a plumber’s skill set, an IT engineer background, or earn qualifications after starting your career as a security guard. There is no specific skill set required to start from.
For more information on Portobello Institute’s Facilities Management qualifications, you can contact course advisor Brandon McLean at 01 892 0035, email firstname.lastname@example.org or book a one to consultation call with him here.