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Facility managers may be taking on a new role as educators

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There are many facets of day-to-day operations that all facility managers are well-versed in. Tasks such as keeping up with building maintenance, inventory management and even budget tracking are all essential competencies for the job. But, as facilities grow in size and complexity and as an increasing number of regulations are passed down from industry and government sources, there's an additional role that facility managers are finding themselves filling – that of educator.

The industry's renewed emphasis on sustainability, energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact means that, in facilities of all types and functions, facility managers will need to increase the original perceived scope of their job and bring their knowledge of facility management to bear on a larger scale.

Making facility management matter for everyone

The once-common perception of facility management as an isolated piece of a building's operation has been largely put to rest. Rather than treating maintenance, inventory management and capital forecasting as a separate microcosm, more and more administrators have come to view facility management for what it is – an essential and integrated cog crucial for the smooth operation of the larger machine that is the facility as a whole.

To fully embrace this integration, it's necessary to reframe facility management concerns as shared issues that affect everyone facility-wide, rather than relegating them to "just another maintenance task." For example, equipment that requires maintenance can negatively affect the operational efficiency of the whole facility. Similarly, a buildup of deferred maintenance can pose not only an obstacle to operations, but health and safety risks that may also affect all occupants.

Making facility management education accessible

Of course, it's not necessarily reasonable to expect a commercial or professional facility's tenants to all undergo additional ad hoc training to learn the basics of facility management and all that it entails. Fortunately, it's fairly simple for the facility manager to take the lead on bringing facility management awareness to everyone in a given building.

Many of the tools and processes that are second nature to facility managers – for example, inspections, audits and reviews – can be effective ways to introduce other tenants to some concepts that are essential. While people from other departments, such as accounting or sales, obviously don't need to know how to repair the HVAC system or retrofit the lighting, cultivating a keener understanding of how each of these systems operate at a higher level, and how each comes together to contribute to the overall operation of the facility as a whole, can be a valuable endeavor.