In apartments, Facilities Management personnel provide professional and transparent services and prevent discord amongst residents

Living in apartments can be hassle-free only when the basic amenities are taken care of. Imagine the trauma of being stuck under the shower on a summer afternoon, when the water supply to your newly acquired penthouse suddenly stops. Irritated, you instantly decide to voice the need for facilities management services at the next Residents’ Welfare Association meet. Facility Management (FM) services has over the years acquired an essential status in apartment enclaves and villa complexes. Although the services remain predominantly contracted out in the commercial space, there has been a tremendous rise in the requirement of FM services in residential enclaves, owing to the professional competency of the FM personnel.

The workforce of this emerging industry is not restricted to regular housekeeping or cleaning activities; the work includes an array of services to assure seamless maintenance of the common areas in residential enclaves, and services as requested by individual residents.

Key amenities

Facility Management personnel manage key amenities like pest control to eradicate bed bugs and roaches; timely surveillance of electrical systems to cure circuit maladies; individual and property security to keep thugs at bay; and adequate housekeeping of clubs, swimming pools, lawns, and other common areas.

A large number of apartment complexes still depend on local resources for cleaning and maintenance activities; if the local help is under the weather, there is no backup to render the daily chores. Also, with the rise of criminal activities in residential enclaves — be it planned sabotage or thefts — the reliability and efficiency of the local resources have become an alarming concern. Contrary to this, the Facility Management service provider has efficient personnel with documented history who can be easily tracked, thus ensuring complete transparency and safety.

For example, the scope of work for a normal sentry duty has much evolved. Today the extensive portfolio encompasses visitor management, parking management as well as vendor management. The “Bahadur” today is well versed with local police station numbers, fire station and ambulance help lines to dial during an emergency.

The global Indian longs for a professional outfit to conduct the cleaning and maintenance activities of his world class abode. He doesn’t mind extra expenditure, but expects a judicious mix of man, machine and technology to get the best services for his home. Skilled manpower to handle electro-mechanical services and plumbing are essential in all apartment complexes, garnering due importance to Facility Management services.

Avoiding confusion

Contrary to commercial organisations where costs and functions of facilities are appropriately defined, residential spaces lack structure as every resident is an individual stakeholder and free to voice his opinion. This only leads to confusion as often there is a penny-wise, pound-foolish attitude to contracting such services. Hence, a professional Facilities Management service provider comes with a distinct portfolio to avoid unnecessary politics amongst residents and ensures transparency. Further, it improves the living standards and ultimately increases the longevity and sustains the value of the property. Professionally managed Facility Management organisations contribute positively to the overall enhancement of residential complexes. They support the residents’ welfare associations to concentrate on vital matters such as rainwater harvesting, energy management etc.

High growth rate

Presently, Facility Management market in India is valued at Rs. 585 billion and slated to develop at a CAGR of 25 per cent. Challenges include the presence of a vast number of unorganised players in the industry as well as retention of manpower quality.

As the Facility Management industry is at a nascent stage, there is no formal training or an academic course. It becomes essential to engage in certification programmes and continuously train manpower down the pyramid, updating them on developments in the field, key parameters and essential guidelines. A recent initiative in FM services has been organising certificate courses specific to the Indian market.

Since most residential complexes are bound by strict budgets that commonly do not match the professional charges, the FM industry has developed service level agreements. They are based on service levels which clearly define service standards as well as quality standards that need to be maintained at the site, irrespective of the manpower deployed. This gives the Facility Management company the freedom to deploy competent manpower at viable rates, and ensures that the manpower is retained as well as trained regularly to give best results.

A professional Facility Management service provider also brings value-added services to the table such as energy audits, infrastructure audits, centralised helpdesk services, asset tagging services and a host of client-based requirements that require expertise and professional knowledge.