The Facility Manager’s Important Role During a Construction Project

Too often the FM is excluded from the design and construction process. But waiting until the end of a project might be too late to influence equipment, products specified, and maintainability of their building. Besides the Owner’s Rep, the Facilities Manager represents a stakeholders interests from a building’s design, the utilities that are installed through commissioning and turn over.

The Facilities Manager will contribute to the proper design and equipment selection from the point of view of maintainability, cost of operations, safety etc., and should participate in the design stage particularly through design standards, sizes of equipment and machine rooms.

A few key things to consider
1. FM’s should be engaged early where possible at design phase so as to influence the selection of the plant, equipment and finishes.
2. Participate in regular site inspections to check the build/installation quality prior to any covering up
3. Attendance at commissioning and testing so as to fully understand asset operation.

If there is an Owner’s Representative on the project, he/she the will seek out their input in the planning and installation of services so it is designed with consideration for ease of maintenance and that this does not bring unnecessary difficulties in the future.

All too often when the FM is brought in late into the project, they may point out that while the mechanical systems were built as designed or “per plan”, they may not have been right for their needs. At that stage, it may be too late or too costly to make changes.

The FM should perform frequent walk-thru’s during construction phases, and heavy involvement during punchlist and turnover phase  because whatever items are not addressed early on become his ongoing issues afterwards. They should be witness to the testing and commissioning of all equipment, review close-out documents such as warranties and service contracts and be immediately involved in start-up to ensure everything is running properly. Maintaining a detailed review of the O&M and detailed parts list and suppliers lists can be very effective in the ensuing years.

FM’s also need to ensure attendance of their maintenance staff of the mechanical system training sessions offered by the equipment installers and suppliers. It’s also a good idea to document the training by taking video of the training sessions for those who either missed the training or as a reference for staff turnover.

Richard Neuman is Vice President in JLL’s Northeast region Project and Development Services group. The views expressed in this blog are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer.

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