Role of a Facilities Manager

Updated April 17, 2017

The facilities manager "plans, designs, and manages buildings, grounds, equipment, and supplies," according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. The facility manager acts as the liaison between the building occupants, and the organisation, contractors and regulators.He could work at a large organisation or a small firm. In addition to maintenance, this person also manages space allocation, security and safety.

Job Scope

A facility manager could oversee a single building or more than a million square feet, reports the "Facility Management Handbook." He works in apartment complexes, nursing homes, for state and federal government, or at a university. Hospitals, private industry and corporations employ facility managers. All of these organisations require someone to manage the interior and exterior of the building, including sidewalks, landscaping and parking facilities. The facilities manager does not necessarily do the work, but he supervises or interacts with those who do.

Space Management

The company or organisation decides whom to hire, but a facility manager finds them a work space. Depending on the organisation, the manager might assign the occupant to living quarters, a laboratory, an office or clinical space. She has the duty of planning space allocation needs, moving existing occupants or removing unwanted occupants.


The facilities manager has the responsibility to maintain a clean, healthy working environment. As such, he makes sure housekeeping duties get done--toilets flush, air conditioning works and trash gets removed. One of his duties includes preventive maintenance. In a larger organisation, he works with the employees responsible for doing things such as changing air conditioner filters. In a smaller organisation, he may change the filters and fix the toilets himself.

Construction and Renovation

An additional duty includes planning for organizational growth. If the company needs a new building, the facility manager works with the architects and construction management team to design and build it. She represents the occupants, and their needs, and relays this information to the designers and builders.

In existing buildings, new occupants may need their space renovated. The facility manager negotiates the contract specifications and price with the contractor. She also provides the contractor with access to the space and ensures that the contractor does not bother existing occupants. She inspects the renovation and signs off on the completed project.

Safety Management

In some organisations the facility supervisor also serves as the safety officer. She works with government officials to guarantee the building and residents comply with state and federal regulations. These rules cover building codes, food codes and fire code. She organises and supervises fire drills and inspections. In a research building this could include chemical safety and bio-safety compliance.

Security Management

Facility managers control access. They have the responsibility of assigning keys or electronic access including card swipe and biometrics. Some federal agencies require facility managers obtain a security clearance. They oversee the installation of security systems. They work with police on lockdowns and in other emergency situations.

Job Changes

Facility managers must adapt to a quickly changing environment. Safety, access and surveillance methods require an increased knowledge of technology. Buildings have become more sustainable and energy efficient. At one time, facility managers needed only experience. Today, many facility managers have advanced degrees, and in some cases they need LEED certification. The International Facility Management Association offers classes and training programs to earn facility manager certifications.

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About the Author

Bruce Smith has written professionally since 1997. Some of his publications include "Plant Physiology," "American Bee," "Cell Biology and Toxicology" and "Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science." Bruce has a Bachelor of Science in horticulture from Penn State University, and a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in information studies from Florida State University.