01.06.2005, 19:17

In the Beginning


Bringing building operators and developers together at the design phase of a project has hugely beneficial long-term implications. Scott Wilson, managing director of Drake & Scull FM for the Middle East region, elaborates.

FM: companies with the requisite operational experience can manage all services on a single point of responsibility basis
FM: companies with the requisite operational experience can manage all services on a single point of responsibility basis

The scale and pace of real estate development in the UAE and particularly in Dubai has resulted in the significant growth and development of consultancy advisory services. These services are primarily focused on the disciplines of architectural and engineering design, development planning, construction, project and cost management services. However, there is a growing need, and indeed body of evidence, emerging for the need and benefits that can be gained by employing specialist FM consultants. Such consultants become key members of the development team for the facilities planning and operational management of particularly large and multipurpose developments and resorts in the region.
FM consultants can provide significant added value input for both Greenfield developments and improvements in the operation of existing property portfolios. On Greenfield developments, FM consultants are able to provide a full range of services which can include in the planning stage:

● Strategic FM planning and needs analysis

● Preparation of requests for proposals (RFPs), tender specifications and contract documentation for all FM & support services

● Value engineering audits of concept, and detailed design packages

● Energy management audits to optimise facility, designs and specifications to reduce capital and operating costs

● Life cycle costing analysis of main plant, equipment and the building envelope

● Service levy models and FM operating budgets

At the pre-opening phase, FM consultants can assist the client and the client’s development team in such areas as:

● Validation of service levy charges

● Defining optimum FM service delivery models

● Validation of specifications to minimise future maintenance and operating costs

● Preparation of service level agreements and performance measurement systems for all FM services

● Effective coordination of building commissioning and handover processes

During the operational phase, FM companies with the requisite operational experience can manage all FM services on a single point of responsibility basis on a more efficient and cost-effective basis than current traditional service procurement methods.

During the operational phase, FM companies with the requisite operational experience can manage all FM services on a single point of responsibility basis on a more efficient and cost-effective basis than current traditional service procurement methods.

The engagement of FM specialists throughout the development cycle to full operations will not only add value in terms of improving design and operational procurement issues but also minimise the inherent risks and inevitable disputes during the transition phase from the commissioning/defects liability period to the full transfer of operations. 

The diagram below illustrates a generic FM business model that experienced FM companies utilise to deliver the appropriate FM solution. Experienced FM companies should provide their client with an ISO-accredited quality management system as part of their armoury of intellectual capital to optimise and support the FM delivery process. This should be supported by operating experience in the specification, procurement and configuration of a computerised maintenance management system tracking, monitoring and reporting of FM activities and performance.

Similarly, FM specialists should be in a position to provide the client with properly constructed service level agreements (SLAs) incorporating key performance indicators (KPIs) and effective performance measurement systems and business processes. The old adage ‘if you cannot measure, you cannot manage’ is a truism in today’s built environment.

The increasing sophistication of large buildings and developments in the UAE, in terms of their building components and operating systems and controls, is such that it is essential developers and property managers ensure they select FM and maintenance service providers who have the necessary technical and managerial skills. These companies should be fully conversant with the technology within buildings while being capable of managing the system technologies in accordance with ‘best practice’ principles. They
should also be capable of ensuring the integrity of the systems and that customer comfort levels are not compromised. Gone are the days when a handyman, a van and a tool kit are sufficient to effectively manage a building or facilities assets. For example, many of today’s buildings and facilities include building management systems (BMS). If properly specified, installed and managed, these can be effectively used for not only monitoring building systems but also – and more importantly – for controlling building operations. In this way, faults can be promptly identified and resolved on a pro-active basis. Similarly, such proactive system intervention can significantly reduce wastage and unnecessary costs in manpower and labour resources.

Unfortunately, inadequate specification and poor quality analysis of a client’s BMS needs combined with lack of effective system training and
provision of good calibre operators, often results, in the best case, in poor utilisation of such systems. In the worst case, it actually causes damage to the integrity and functionality of the building and its systems.

The application of the full range of FM capabilities available from FM companies with both business planning and, more importantly, FM operational experience will lead to significant benefits in cost, quality of service delivery, long-term asset preservation and sustainability (see diagram below). There is increasing recognition that the traditional multi-vendor maintenance and facilities contract approach – whereby the client appoints and manages a multitude of separate service subcontractors – is not the right solution to achieve a sustainable and high-quality service delivery. Similarly, the current types of maintenance and facilities contracts tend to be inputbased, are too prescriptive and do not adequately deal with service standards, performance definition and measurement, and operational risks.

The significant maturity of the FM industry in the UAE over the past couple of years has led clients to expect higher quality strategic and operational FM advice and solutions for their buildings and facilities. Meeting these challenges requires significant investments in human resources, business processes and management systems to enable the provision of ‘endto-end- solutions from FM planning through to the fully operational phase of large complex facilities and developments on behalf of clients.


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FM Magazine  - 01.06.2005, 19:17

In the Beginning

Scott Wilson, managing director of Drake & Scull FM elaborates on the merits of bringing building operators and developers together at the design phase of a project.

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