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Managing a facility • The technologies used within a typical high rise building Criteria Essay Example

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Facility or facilities management refers to an interdisciplinary profession that is concerned with the integration of people, infrastructure, organization and space (Arayici, Onyenobi & Egbu, 2012). This interdisciplinary field is mainly associated with the administration of shopping complexes, office blocks, schools, hotels, arenas, convention centers and many others. A facility manager, on the other hand, is a person entitled to the responsibility of coordinating all the entities and employees in a facility with the aim of ensuring that they work on the facilities behalf and that they meet its long- and short-term objectives and goals. The facility manager is defined as a class with the responsibility of allowing applications that will implement security policies in a determined security context that approves the operation.

Facilities management encompasses multiple disciplinary activities built within the environment and the impact of their management upon the people and their place of work. This has brought about extensive responsibilities to facility managers for maintaining, developing and providing myriad services that range from communication infrastructure, fire fighting services, space management and property strategy to administration, contract management and building maintenance. These responsibilities are often associated with security management hence the need for security and facility managers to work together. This paper is a discussion of the importance of security and facility management in the process of maintaining healthy, safe and secured buildings.

Security management

The facility managers have to appreciate the responsibility of the security manager in an emergency situation as they are entitled to work with the first responders of an emergency. They are accountable for the safety of all the facility occupants just as it is the duty of security managers (Roper & Borello, 2014). Both managers are required to minimize any impact of such events by ensuring appropriate involvement of all stakeholders in training, testing and updating business continuity plans and emergency response. However, the extent of security and facility managers’ involvement in business continuity and emergency preparedness vary depending on size, organization’s familiarity with such programs and type of the business.

Fire and Safety

Fire safety management relates to everyday safety management in a building. The building managers have the responsibility of taking reasonable measures in preventing the occurrence of fire. In doing so, the lives of the building’s occupants are safe in the event of a fire outbreak (Herrington, 2012). There must be a fire safety program to assist in correctly managing fire and meeting the legal obligation. The safety program includes emergency planning and carrying out evacuation drills.

Organizational Health and Safety (OHS) requires a continuous audit. The purpose of an OHS management system is to create an environment in which hazards are systematically identified, assesses for risk, controlled and the effectiveness of controls reviewed (Bluff, Gunningham, & Johnstone, 2004). However, an OHS management may never give 100 percent assurance that the company may free from injuries. Good systematic approaches to hazard management significantly reduce injuries. An efficient system requires that the company have OHMS that assists in assessment and an audit tool. The top management must be committed to the implementation, review and improvement of OHS. The organization’s commitments through its leaders help in the allocation of appropriate resources. This encourages participation and support of all employees in the maintenance and improvement of the system.

Culture of safety

Is the organization promoting safety measures? It is the responsibility of every person to maintain safety at the work place. The behavior by the management must demonstrate crucial lead towards effective safety cultures. Managers’ must inform employees on issues about safety and collect feedback on the progress on the safety matters. Employees must own the process (Bluff, Gunningham, & Johnstone, 2004). They must be able to speak about safety issues without fear of retribution from peers or management.

Smoke detectors

Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are vital in the event of a fire in a facility. Fire extinguishers are effective in the case of small fires. Many companies save life and salvage the building through extinguishing fire at its early stages. Portable fire extinguishers must be in place regardless of other firefighting equipment and strategies. Smoke detectors senses smoke thus indicate fire outbreaks. As part of the fire alarm system, fire departments or control panel use the device to issue the signal. Such devices can detect high-level particles or smoke in the air and produce loud warning signals.

Fire code

Fire prevention code is the model adopted by state or local government and enforced by the fire prevention officers from the municipal fire departments. The rules prescribe the standards that organizations should meet in ensuring that they prevent fire. Implementing such rules in the facilities, managers can prevent explosions in stores or when handling inflammable materials. The rules complete the building code. Under the rules, employees must have the necessary training on fire prevention, handling equipment and have the basic architectural design of the building. The code ensures that the proper inspection and maintenance requirement. Appropriate fire protection installation assists in maintaining both active and passive fire protection measures.

Emergency procedures

The occupants of the building must be able to respond positively to the fire outbreaks. The plan must outline the exact steps to be followed. The steps must include the procedure followed before raising an alarm; calling fire brigade procedures and procedure to evacuate the occupants (Pancella, 2005). Additional information includes fire fighting procedures and assisting the firefighters arriving at the premise to fight the fire. Fire extinguishers must be at their designated place when not in use. The facility manager must ensure that the equipment are working properly at all times.

Evacuation procedure

Drills on how to evacuate building occupants must be in place so that they can test effectiveness and preparedness of fire outbreaks. The drill ensures safety, order and efficient evacuation. The occupants understand and familiarize with the exit routes. The drill prepares the mind of occupants in confronting fire and other emergency situation (United States Fire Administration., & TriData Corporation. (2002). The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires workplace to have strategically to enable every occupant to vacate the building as quickly as possible. Proper consideration includes the structure, the number of people likely to be affected and fire protection available, the type of industry involved and the building height. The fire doors should be free from any blockage or locked when occupants are inside. The exits must always free from obstructions and well-marked with exit signs.

Lifts and elevators

Lifts offers workers in workplace are subject to the lifting and lifting equipment regulations. The scissor lifts or self-propelled elevating work platforms are used mostly by construction and industrial trades. The law requires that the people operating such lifts have the proper qualifications and capability according to manufacturers’ specifications. Just like other equipment, the lifts require regular servicing (Bangash & Bangash, 2007). Preventative maintenance assists in keeping the lifts in optimum condition. This leads to fewer breakdowns, low running costs. The lifts will be reliable in medium and long-term.

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC)

The building must be equipped well to allow vehicular and indoor environmental comfort. The objectives of HVAC are to offer quality air indoors and thermal comfort. Ventilations are important to space used to provide indoor air quality. They involve oxygen replenishment, controlling the temperature and removing smoke, heat, moisture, dust, carbon dioxide and airborne bacteria (Trost, 1999). The building will not have stagnant air. The facility manager must ensure proper ventilation and maintain acceptable air quality.

Many buildings with multi-stories have the great centralized air-conditioning equipment. The equipment can be located on the rooftops or the basement of the building. The advantage of the basement is that it allows easy utility connections and noise isolation (Trost, 1999). The roof is an ideal location of the air-conditioning system. The roof allows the fresh air intake and heat rejection to the atmosphere. The cooling equipment produces a lot of noise and heat, but the roof tops can prevent the same to get back into the building. The facility manager must ensure that the air condition system control of maintains air quality in the building.

Energy management and light control.

Facility managers in today’s business environment that are increasingly competitive need tools which maximize their building operation efficiency. It is their responsibility to employ wired or wireless lighting control systems which elevate the occupants’ experience and cost effectiveness regarding their lighting spaces. According to Association of Energy Engineers (2001) lighting come second largest load after cooling and heating in a high rise building. Facility manager’s role in energy management is to lower energy requirements by employing advanced systems of lighting control that will ensure the provision of the required lighting level.

Modern lighting control systems are only applicable to an effective integration of the facility managers, occupants and the security managers. Correlating individual occupant dimming, occupancy sensing and daylight harvesting controls with higher job satisfaction and occupant environment is a key to success in energy management.

High rise buildings entail different activities which require different types of control systems. This overrides any reason that limits a single kind of lighting and control system to a facility. Lighting control systems range from wall-switch occupancy stand-alone sensors to microprocessor-based dimming systems which involve complex installations. All this integrate into an overall facility’s building automation system. Automated control systems such as occupancy sensors operate only in the presence of a person in that room providing immediate payback. Moreover, facility managers can readily retrofit the occupancy sensors. Apart from recouping wasted light energy for facility management, occupancy sensors are crucial to security managers in areas such as private offices, restroom and conference rooms which have irregular occupancy.

Controls are an important part not only in an efficient lighting system and energy management role of facility managers but also for security managers’ role to keep the facility safe. It requires close working relations between the parties (Mudrak, Wagenberg & Wubben, 2004).

Heating and hot water consume over 60% of the total energy in a building. The manager of a building must ensure the specification of the heating system, well maintained and operated. Proper savings will be bringing substantial energy costs. Inefficient boilers can be replaced to maintain the required minimum standards. The managers need to install de-stratification fans. Such fans minimize energy usage through blowing warm air from the roof to the every part needed.

Ventilation will play an important role in protecting the building from damp and condensation. Unnecessary ventilation can waste energy and increase costs. Ventilation in commercial buildings accounts for 30% heat loss (Moss, 2006). There must be highly efficient motors to save energy. Variable fan speed when ventilation demand decrease is essential in energy reduction due to the low cost of electricity used in cooling. The fans should not run when not required. Running the fans when not required leads to energy wastage and remove heat from the facility.

Air condition system can use a large amount of energy and is associated with the emission of carbon. Many organizations use the air condition despite the high cost of energy. There are, however, ways facility managers can reduce energy consumption. The managers and people responsible should ensure that the air-conditioning system is not operating below 24ᵒC. The heating and cooling system should not compete. It is appropriate that the machine produces the cooling needed to save on energy. Variable speed drive assists in varying the air conditioning output system to meet the requirement. Observing some of the HVAC will be helpful to building managers in saving energy, cutting costs and increasing profit margins.

Audio control system

Technologies at the workplace use interface. The system controls the electronics at the workplace including the projector display systems, video conferencing, TVs and commercial sound system. With the high development of technology in today’s world, People have been accustomed to technology which provides them with instant capabilities to text or speaks with whomever they need to in a matter of seconds. Consequently, it has been increasingly important to lay proper communication plans between security and facility managers for the normal daily events to run smoothly and equally important as part of the emergency preparedness overall plan. According to Olatunji & Sher (2011) an instant two-way proper communication between the facility and security managers can be the immediate difference between failure and success when executing emergency control plan.


Maintenance of a facility is an all-encompassing function of a facility manager that is inclusive of the premises, building and any equipment that is located on the property. It is among the most essential priorities to the facility manager as it is to the security manager since they have to make sure that there is proper maintenance and good working order of these areas. A facility manager is responsible for the property cleanliness and ensuring that all activities taking place on the premises meet the code requirements. They are responsible for space management in the building for efficiency (Olatunji & Sher, 2010). There must be firefighting equipment, well-ventilated buildings, sustainable energy equipment and properly lit working space. A complete and comprehensive training requires that it be analyzed. Training goals should be clear and the documentation well-done. Safety induction on new workers too is necessary. Training new workers should be at the induction stage as new or inexperienced workers face hazards associated with new tasks. Informed employees will help in the management of security and maintenance safety.


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