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The 5 People You Meet in FM

Facilities Management is a quiet industry, full of quotidian tasks and predictable challenges where nothing can possi-bligh go wrong. Thankfully, there’s a recurring roster of colourful characters you meet on your travels in FM regardless of whether the site is a warehouse, office building or residential tower.

The Human Thermometer

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Powers: Ability to detect the slightest change in temperature using only their heightened mutant senses

Accoutrements: Their own temperature gun, a printed copy of AS1668:2

This remarkable creature is able to detect a change in office temperature of less than one tenth of one degree centigrade, and possesses lightning-quick reflexes in bringing this to your attention. WARNING: Don’t bring up deadbands unless you want to be flooded with angry pictures of a temperature gun reading of 24.1 sent directly from their personal smartphone.

Best approach: DO check the BAS to make sure everything is going well, and then TELL them that you’ve adjusted the set point to their preference, but it may take 30 mins to cycle through. Then leave early.

The Misplaced Contractor

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Profile: An older executive or otherwise senior manager who is just waiting on their pension to kick in so they can retire and work their dream job at Bunnings

Accoutrements: Their own set of very pristine Milwaukee or DeWalt power tools that they keep in their office and that you’re encouraged to borrow any time, seriously

This hapless creature comes alive as soon as a glass panel has shattered or a monitor stand needs to be installed. They will almost burst if you ask them about the DIY they do around their own home.

Best approach: Cluck sympathetically with them that the industry is so regulated and that it’s a shame the two of you can’t just fix the damn boiler yourselves. Use jargon in an offhand way. Ask them to review all your SWMS and insist they make notes.

The Philosopher

Powers: Can turn HVAC repair into a sincere ethical dilemma. Magically makes you pay for the most expensive solution.

Accoutrements: A USB stick with a demo that will change your life

This relaxed, professorial contractor will turn your basic question about planned maintenance into a longer discussion of how best to approach life in general. If you encounter The Philosopher during a commercial fitout design stage, don’t be surprised when all the staff members end up sitting on expensive bouncy balls.

Best approach: Just avoid having lunch with them. It will take half your day and you’ll be invoiced for the time, and too intimidated not to pay it.

The Contract Capo


Powers: Knows everything and will murder you

Accoutrements: A copy of the contract stitched into the inside of their eyelids

Often found at the top of the client side hierarchy in a PPP, the Contract Capo knows every inch of the contract, especially what your responsibilities are. Does not see you challenging them as “sassy” or being “full of spunk”.

Best approach: Plead for mercy and wait until contract renewal time, when your lawyers step in and make it a fair fight (then take leave during the negotiations).

The Cyborg


Powers: Can turn things off and on again with zero fear

Accoutrements: ALL OF THEM

This Facilities Manager, Co-ordinator or Helpdesk operator knows full well that they’re not meant to be performing repair work unless they’re a qualified professional who has been hired for that purpose. That being said, you want this toilet fixed now or what?

The Cyborg also has a tool cabinet with every bit of FM kit imaginable – temperature gun, CO2 sniffer, Lux Meter, Multimeter, Thermographic Scanner, Drill, Hole saw, Dremel, bolt cutters, Geiger counter, nuclear codes, fusion reactor – and an unopened pair of safety goggles

Best approach: Schedule them to perform some meter reads for the first 3 hours of every morning when they’re still buzzing on coffee. By lunchtime they’ll be too shot to do anything except process invoices. ***


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