Roles with job titles containing the words “Facilities management” or “maintenance” are often to be seen when browsing lists of construction and engineering jobs, but what do they actually entail? What does a facilities manager, for example, do every day?

Individuals performing these roles are found across the construction and property industries, as essentially they are the people who ensure that the construction sites and the final buildings are looked after and kept in good order. They also ensure that premises are fit for the employees they house, and that the environment is safe, healthy, and productive.

Facilities management and maintenance - main tasks

As with many jobs, the description of facilities manager or maintenance employee can cover a wide variety of roles, but essentially these employees are responsible for the management of support and services that enable a business to run, usually alongside trying to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The size and structure of an organisation will determine the exact levels of responsibility, but major elements of the role are likely to include:
  • Ensuring buildings and grounds are clean and well kept - running cleaning and gardening contracts

  • Making sure the environment adheres to all relevant health and safety legislation

  • Maintaining site security

  • Operating onsite catering and vending facilities

  • Overseeing procurement and maintenance contracts

  • Running utilities (so water, heat, light, communications) contracts and dealing with problems with services

  • Management of space, for example allocating offices and parking spaces

On a practical level, the role will usually entail a mix of office based and practical tasks. For example, facilities managers will often have responsibility for offering out tenders for supporting contractors such as cleaners and security staff, as well as supervising their work. Having to prepare budgets and negotiate costs in order to get the best deal is common, as well as making short, medium and long term plans for the site to help it meet the company’s development objectives.

Each day, facilities managers need to ensure essential services such as mail, security, catering, cleaning and recycling all happen efficiently, and that any health and safety breaches are dealt with immediately. This might entail, for smaller premises, actively walking around the site on a regular basis making visual checks on contractors, and for larger ones collating reports from other members of staff and recognising where things are starting to slip.

Where to find work in facilities management and maintenance

All sorts of industries and sectors need facilities management and maintenance workers, from office based professional services to warehouse based retailers and factories. As can be seen from the list of responsibilities above, facilities managers will normally spend their day liaising with a number of different departments and external organisations, as well as internal legal and accounting teams.

For smaller companies, some of the tasks may be very hands-on, whilst on large premises they may manage an extensive team of maintenance workers. In some cases, facilities managers work not as full time employees of a business but as contractors who work on a consultancy basis.

The job title can be very variable too; posts that describe a role as services management, operations, or property or asset management are likely to be focused around facilities management of some sort.