Building management


Building management

Building management (in the UK) is a discipline that comes under the umbrella of facility management. A building manager supervises the hard and soft services of a built structure, ensuring that the security, health and safety, and maintenance of this built structure are in place to a satisfactory level. There are essentially, two types of building manager positions: residential and commercial. Hard services usually relate to physical, structural services such as fire alarm systems, lifts and so on whereas soft services allude to cleaning, landscaping, security and suchlike human sourced services.

Residential Building Management

In a residential environment, a building manager will typically supervise a team of porters or security officers, cleaners, electrical and mechanical contractors and depending of the size of the development, a team of administrative staff. If the development comprises several blocks, it is common that the Building manager will report to an estate manager although both titles have become interchangeable. To a lesser extent, the term "development manager" is also used. Traditionally, this role's title was "house manager".

The building manager will liaise between all the parties involved in the day-to-day management of the development.

Managing Agent

An external property management company that will issue and chase up the service charges, supervise the annual budget and approve any additional works and requirements so that the development complies with current health and safety legislation and to ensure that the residents' needs are satisfied. They also manage the on site staff (i.e. the building manager and his team). They do this on behalf of the residents and the freeholder and they are only responsible for maintaining the communal areas and not the apartments themselves.

Leaseholders

The owners of the apartments can be at the same time occupiers but in some cases they will be investors. They are responsible for the maintenance of their apartments (known as demised premises) and they pay an annual service charge, inclusive of a fee, to the managing agent for managing the communal parts.

Freeholder

The freeholder has possession over the freehold of the development (i.e. the communal areas and the land the site was built on). Normally, the freeholder is the developer but in some developments, the leaseholders, when formed into a residents association, purchase the freehold.

Contracted Maintenance Companies

The contracted maintenance companies that have been appointed to maintain the plants and systems of the building (fire alarms, electrical and mechanical systems, CCTV, intercom systems, car park, landscaping etc.)

External Regulatory Bodies

External regulatory bodies include local councils, HEO, fire officers and so forth.

It is because of this delicate balance of powers that the job of the building manager could be described as a "balancing" act, since it will be down to him or her to ensure that all parties are satisfied.

The building manager also ensures that the aesthetic standards of the site he/she manages don't deteriorate and will, as a consequence, liaise with the managing agent and organize renovation projects as and when required.

Commercial Building Management

This subdivision of building management is quite similar to the previous one, the main difference being that the building will normally be made up of commercial units and or offices. The tenants will, in this case, be companies and the building manager will probably have some involvement in the sales aspect and will be responsible for ensuring that the office space is let at all times.

References

* [http://www.fmassociation.org.uk Facilities Management Association]
* [http://www.bifm.org.uk British Institute of Facility Managers]
*Park, "A Facilities Management: An Explanation." Palgrave NY, 1994


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