Profile: The Facilities Manager

Profile: The Facilities Manager


Jan 21, 2021


Profile seeks to bring you a perspective on the FM world from the people who keep the lights on. Today we’re speaking to Mike, a Facilities Manager for one of the largest asset management firms in the world.

Mike is a Facilities Manager for a large global asset management firm. Here in Victoria he manages a portfolio of 6 buildings in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, a mix of industrial and commercial sites.

In his role, Mike is responsible for both hard and soft services- responsibilities which he splits with a Facilities Co-ordinator. As an outsourced FM, part of Mike’s role is not just to deliver the necessary service to the client, but to also be a brand ambassador for his own firm, and he will be part of contract negotiations when it comes time to renew that relationship. As such, Mike must seek to strike a balance between sparsely staffed key sites and sites with high visibility to the client.


What has been your journey through the industry?

I started before there was an FM industry. I worked in hotels, then found myself managing a CBD commercial building.  From there it formed more into FM when I started managing an FM Helpdesk. Soon I was dealing with contracts and administration, safety, risk management and projects along with managing multiple buildings AND managing staff – then moving on to manage various suburban commercial and industrial buildings. You could say that my journey has been the journey of Facilities Management as a whole!


What is the feature you find is most often missing in a work order management system?

Direction.  Most systems are too open source, without clear purpose or really a Point-of-Difference from others available in the marketplace.


What stresses do you find come up more in winter than in other seasons?

All of them!  The longer, colder, darker the winter the more stresses seem to come out as it drags on. Apart from the obvious stuff like dealing with numerous daily complaints of low temperatures in the office, there’s stuff like glass panels exploding on damp, cold mornings or being unable to complete projects due to rain. Summer’s not great either!


Do you prefer commercial, residential or retail environments?

Commercial and industrial. There’s an expectation amongst the stakeholders that the building is functional and not personal, so there’s less emotion involved when something goes wrong. It’s nice to just focus on fixing something without having to dance around sensitivities as well.


Of all trades you encounter, which one would appeal to you if you were to get on the tools?

Building controls technology, if that counts. A lot of the young electricians I speak to are into that as well. It requires a lot more strategic planning and brainpower.


Are there skills in Facilities Management that translate well to other industries?

Yeah, pretty much all industries need some facilitation! But specifically, speaking to contractors from different disciplines gives you a broad cross-section of humanity that helps you gain perspective. In less hands-on business environments everyone you speak to would speak the same corporate jargon and have the same day-to-day culture.  


Any advice on how tenants/stakeholders requesting a job can best get a quick response?

Pick up the phone!  Being nice and co-operative really does help you remain at the top of your facilities manager’s priority list. If an issue is relatively small and easy to fix, then it’s also easy to ignore through email. But if you call, I can knock it out quickly, which gives me a boost as I see problems being resolved.


Do you have a preference between being part of an outsourced FM team, or a direct employee of the tenant or building owner?

No. Both have their challenges and advantages.