With the growing awareness and demands of end users coupled with the complexity of modern infrastructure, there is a growing need for facility management to adopt global best practices in Nigeria. Where such best practices are not feasible, at least let us adapt them to our particular circumstances.
From a practitioner’s perspective, facilities management is about people, process, place and technology. It integrates all these elements to create an ideal built environment and a place of comfort for end users. The built environment can also enjoy the benefits of longevity and appreciation in value.
Each infrastructure is designed for a particular purpose, which determines the type of maintenance necessary to keep it in excellent condition despite natural wear and tear. For example, a hotel is a place where customers come to stay or perform some function.
It must therefore be in such a condition that those who use it can take advantage of the facilities provided. It will be unacceptable if the electricity is unstable, the air conditioning system works poorly, the toilets are not constantly supplied with water and the environment is generally messy.
To achieve strong growth and best practice, the activities of facility practitioners must be regulated as is the case with most other professions such as law, accounting, medicine, architecture and engineering for n to name a few.
Legislation is needed to create a strong landscape for the practice of FM. At present, only a few pieces of legislation such as the Factories Act, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act and more recently the Facilities Management and Maintenance Act Lagos State exist.
Also read: FG to take over airport from Lafia Cargo, sends team to inspect and assess facilities
However, more work is needed to delve deeper into the regulation and practice of FM in Nigeria, including related issues. What is achieved now is that most FM professionals carry on, believing that they understand what they are doing.
Legislation and regulations will require existing and potential FM professionals to acquire the necessary training and skills and to enforce a code of conduct. At present, a good number of people still do not have the skills and abilities necessary to practice in this industry.
As a result, many FM professionals end up creating more problems for clients when given assignments. Ethical values will also be given the necessary attention so that professional misconduct can be dealt with in accordance with established rules and guidelines.
My position is that we need to assess what we are doing, determine if it meets global best practice, if not, aim to achieve it or, at a minimum, set an achievable standard that satisfies the customer.
We have to look outside our local environment and embrace what other countries are doing, which have been so successful in this industry. ISO 410001-2018 will also be very useful to you.
The growth of the industry requires a collective effort from all stakeholders including government, private sector operators and industry practitioners. It will take educating people about the FM industry to understand what it entails.
Conferences, seminars, mentoring and training sessions are also needed to share knowledge and experiences from time to time. To grow and grow the industry, I think it’s time to start defining the criteria for standards and best practices for current and potential facility management practitioners.
Obileye is President of the IWFM Nigeria Region and Managing Partner of TWT Consulting Ltd.
email: [email protected]