Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 23 2016 Contents 270 • THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 23
not for its strategic importance, and how facilities impact on
people. There is a danger of FM being used interchangeably
with asset management -- both disciplines agree that they are
Local government is also subject to different drivers than
those to which other parts of the property sector are subject
-- not least the influence of politics -- placing it in a position to
look at its facilities portfolio differently. Taking a whole-of-life
approach can be very different if you are an owner/occupier -- as
local government is in many circumstances.
The facilities management industry is changing, with Australia
having a relatively higher rate of outsourcing compared to
other countries in the region. Approximately 61 per cent of FM
is outsourced, with the remaining portion operated in-house --
split 30/70 between integrated facilities management and other
facilities management functions.
In the most recent industry census of facilities management,
2014--15 FM Industry Census: Trends & Insights Report, the three
key reasons for outsourcing (in order) were to:
• reduce the overall cost of facilities management
• access best practice
• buy efficiencies and improved focus on core business.
Although the data has not been extrapolated for local
government as a separate sub-sector, I suspect that with the
cost challenges of an ever-increasing maintenance backlog
and the need to improve utilisation rates in facilities, the trend
applies equally to local government facilities.
The facilities management landscape has changed considerably
over the last five years (even more so over the past decade).
Concepts such as sustainability, for example, are now
embedded, and are part of business as usual.
The FM focus is now firmly on meeting client needs and
use of data. The digitisation of facilities, including building
information modelling (BIM) and the gathering of operations
data, aims to ensure that a whole-of-life approach is taken,
and that the use of space is maximised to best meet user
requirements and minimise the long-term GST of facility
development and renewal of the community.
In particular, the industry as a whole is moving toward
outcomes that support a whole-of-life approach to
management. Projects such as public-private partnership (PPPs),
where construction and operational management are bundled
for a period of time and funding the cost of development is
spread over the life of the facility, can be an important point of
engagement for FM, and can provide strategic opportunities for
local government to ensure the ongoing operational outcomes
of its facilities. It may also be a way to look at redevelopment
and renewal to alleviate the maintenance backlog costs. This
is just one way in which strategic FM can work differently with
Raising the FM profile
As it stands today, according to the Census, facilities
management is discussed by senior management/executive
management either occasionally, or less frequently, in 70 per
cent of organisations. This presents a real opportunity for
facilities management professionals and senior executives to
raise the profile of the FM role, and the impact that it can have
on productivity, operations and sustainability.
In a study, 'Workplace Strategies and Facilities Management',
undertaken in the United Kingdom, facilities management made
up to a 15 per cent difference to productivity (about 12.5 per
cent on average in the 'best' buildings), and, according to the
Warren Centre's Low Energy High Rise Study, a skilled facilities
manager can make a difference of up to 1.3 NABERS stars.
With this type of evidence, enabled facilities management
can make a significant difference. Although no formal research
comes to hand as to the cost impacts of these studies, these
types of improvements do translate to less cost, better quality,
and more effective facility utilisation. All of this adds up to the
improved satisfaction of facilities users.
Local government is a significant owner/occupier of the built
environment, playing an important role in the lives of anyone
who lives in a community -- that is, all of us.
As such, it is vital that the custodians of local facilities
take advantage of an increasingly sophisticated market to
ensure that it meets the growing expectations of community,
including taking a holistic and strategic approach to facilities
By developing and exploring opportunities, such as
engaging in the early phases of construction, local government
can ensure whole-of-life planning that will allow it to leverage
the many synergies that are available when managing a
continued from page 267
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