9 Common Misconceptions About Facility Management

April 26, 2024

Katherine Sproles

Facility managers juggle a complex web of responsibilities to keep buildings running smoothly and their occupants safe. To the outside world, the facility manager’s role is often misunderstood.

We recently asked our LinkedIn following, “What do you think is the most common misconception about FM?” Here are some of their top responses:

1. “We are often considered ‘the ones who fix and move desks,’ but that is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a huge responsibility on so many aspects that are often overlooked.”

—Denis Collini, Facility Manager & Security Manager at Gruppo Montenegro 

2. “One misconception in facilities management is that people think that every facilities manager knows everything about everything building or structure related. Not so, some FMs will be strong in certain areas of expertise and that is down to the portfolio they have or the industry and organizational structure of which they are in. For example, an FM in the hospitality industry would probably know more about swimming pool care than an FM who worked in a power plant most of their entire career.

Though I often encourage persons to understand the basics and the elements of their FM job type and that some concepts will be similar across the types, it is ok if you don’t understand something in its entirety. Go away and do some research or dialogue with experts in the field but pulling together the right resources and personnel to get the job done will be key to your success more often than not. Getting your work done through the skills of others is not a weakness but it’s a manager who knows how to manage effectively.”

—Damien Phillips, Facilities Manager & Villa Management Administrator at Altman Real Estate Group

3. “Perhaps the most prevalent misconception is that facility management is solely reactive – just fixing problems as they arise. Facility managers are strategic partners, responsible for optimizing the entire built environment. They oversee a wide range of functions as maintaining a sustainable infrastructure, space and occupancy management, data-driven decision-making & safety, security, and risk mitigation.

Modern facility management prioritizes creating a comfortable, functional, and inspiring workspace that fosters productivity and employee satisfaction. Also, facility management plays a crucial role in supporting core business functions, reducing operational costs, and enhancing employee well-being.”

—Mohammad Mushtaq Ashraf, Senior Mechanical Engineer (HVAC/MEP) at Syed Hamid Behbehani & Sons Co. WLL

4. “I think one of the most common misconceptions about FM is that it is simple. There are many complex, moving parts in FM and when we try to make changes we have to have a well-thought-out plan that is easily understood, consistent and followed through on. FM is rewarding and you can make huge changes and improvements for your organization, but it takes time.”

—Dustin Kirby, CEO of Facility Management Consulting at Foundational Facility Management Consulting

5. “A huge misconception is that FM is just another department within an organization, when in fact, it is the epicenter of operations allowing for the other departments and the organization as a whole to function and execute its mission.”

—Tony Hinton, CFM, CPMM, Director of Campus Operations at Cary Academy 

6. “In my own view, people think that facility managers are Messiahs who can resolve all their problems within the snap of a finger, but what they don’t know is that facility managers’ operations need funding. Most organizations don’t make adequate funds available for FMs during budget planning and this tends to halt our activities thus much deferred maintenance.”

—Esv. Obiageli Chukwu ANIVS, Regional Manager, Northern Region at Total Facilities Management Limited

7. “One of the most common misconceptions about facility management (FM) is that it is primarily concerned with maintenance and repair of buildings and equipment. In reality, FM is a comprehensive discipline that integrates people, place, process, and technology to ensure the functionality, comfort, safety, and efficiency of the built environment. It encompasses a wide range of services and responsibilities, from strategic planning and real estate management to environmental sustainability and emergency preparedness, going far beyond just maintaining physical assets.”

—Rohit Chaturvedi, Head Facility and MEP at Kajaria Ceramics Limited

8. “Many think that facility management is a routine operation of day-to-day activities but it is actually a chain of projects to achieve specific goals and objectives. They also have constraints such as time, scope, quality and resources.”

— Navaneetha Krishnan, MEP Supervisor at UCWF FACILITIES MANAGEMENT

9. “It’s a creative role and people don’t understand that!”

—Devansh Æ, Senior Associate Facilities & Food at PW (PhysicsWallah)

Editor’s Note: Some comments from this post have been edited for clarity or brevity. Thank you to our amazing online community for their contributions and their commitment to knowledge sharing.  

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