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Seamless design for effective FM

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ISS Hicare recently bagged the Best Business Innovation of the Year 2013 award from Delhi International Airport (DIAL) in the second Annual GMR-IGI Airport 2013 Awards for “Raising the Standard of Excellence” and meeting the various demands of the increasing number of passengers they are attracting. Buildotech spoke to Chief Operating Officer, ISS Hicare Pvt Ltd who explained that ‘sometimes minor adjustments or alterations to a structure can work wonders in effective and efficient Facility Management”

An FM Service provider’s involvement during the designing of a building

Most hardcore FM service providers do not participate in the designing of a structure. It is safely assumed that the Architect would make a seamless structure that is beautiful and at the same time maintainable no matter how complex or awe-inspiring their designs are. Buildings with simple designs and easy to access areas are easy to maintain and retain their good looks and functionality longer. In structures that are complicated, it becomes difficult to incorporate service changes or additions that help for better facility maintenance. Structures should not have unnecessary openings like slits in the wall at the flooring level, missing ceiling tiles and skylights or inaccessible areas like utility areas tucked away in corners and basements having small entry points. If such openings do exist, then minor suggestions or alterations to the said spaces can be incorporated even after the structure is completed. Most often these changes are carried out, but in some cases these are considered so minor that they are over looked and pose a problem for effective execution of facility management services.

Having said that, FM companies are usually called in during the design stage of a project mainly from the pest management perspective. Pest management for termite treatment needs to be done at the stage of the laying of the foundation and this is crucial for the longevity of the structure.

Some designs are purely common sense or industry driven. For instance in the food industry, especially in restaurants, food processing units and catering units, the standards are high when it comes to buildings that are functional and easy to maintain. Upmost care is taken to providing customers with safe, untainted products and services. One infestation or a poor audit score may drive customers away for good, no matter how well the food is produced or packaged. In such an industry, it is advisable to have the staircases that lead from the processing areas to the serving areas or the packaging areas jutting out slightly. This minor design specification prevents rodents and other pests from climbing the stairs and having access to food. Such design advice will not be apt for structures meant for residential, commercial or healthcare.

In a factory setting, it would be advisable to have a street lighting at the gate with the light facing outwards. This minor design change will ensure that files and insects that surround the light source are on the outer side of the gate and will not be an irritant to the people standing inside the factory complex. These are minor changes and thankfully can be incorporated even after the project is completed and the FM service provider or vendor is commissioned the maintenance.

As for hard services, it is not necessary for an FM service provider to be involved from day one. Such FM services involve only maintaining the existing structure and these can be done in the available design itself. Before commencing any FM service on a project, the provider conducts a ‘Zero based inspection audit’. This inspection is carried out to identify problem areas, highlight issues and suggest changes.

The basic problem the FM Service industry has learnt to deal with is that when a property is designed, it is done so with ‘aesthetics’ and not ‘facility management or pest control’ in mind. Most often when FM service provider asks for blueprints with clearly marked out utility units, the occupants of the building are unable to provide the same.

How are the Standards and benchmarks set

70% of the FM industry in the country is unorganised and only 30% is organised, therefore the challenges the industry faces is mammoth. Additionally most of the industry is driven from the client side. Thankfully with the influx of international companies setting up offices in India, the FM industry has to adhere to the standards set by these international clients. However the basic need of the day is for clients and their employees to understand basic etiquette. Standards can be set only when the basic practices are in place. FM Service providers cannot lay down rules for client’s behaviour. Instead that has to come from within.


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