Facility management (FM) encompasses numerous services, including plant operations and maintenance (POM); custodial; grounds, landscape and sports field maintenance (GLSF). All of these services impact the quality of life for people. Recognizing that the physical working, learning and living environment is critical serves as a fundamental competitive asset in the world today.

Custodial services create a healthy environment of comfort and order in which to live and rest.

Plant operations and maintenance impacts living conditions through air-quality control, comfort and basic needs for water, heat, air and security. A quality POM program (ideally a preventive or predictive program) will also reduce downtime for critical facilities, increase asset longevity and improve overall utility and demand of all facilities.

Grounds, landscape and sports field (GLSF) maintenance impacts the surroundings to provide aesthetic well-being and comfortable areas for recreation and competition.

Most people can easily understand the purpose of custodial and grounds as these are normal tasks we all equate to what we do at home.

However, when our air conditioning at home goes out in July, the average homeowner doesn't normally start working on the compressor outside. He/she instead calls the professionals and relies on their expertise to restore comfort. The same scenario applies in the workplace or classroom environment. Who are they going to call? You know the answer.

Let's focus on the POM component for FM services. Having professional, skilled technicians onsite is beneficial for preventing and addressing mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues. This allows our clientele to do what they do best — whether it be educating students or developing the latest technology.

Preventive maintenance programs mean fewer impending component failures and greater systems reliability.

Why do you get your oil changed or your car serviced? For the same reason FM professionals conduct routine service checks of all the equipment they are responsible to maintain.

As FM professionals, we understand that the commercial or industrial community is no different than we are at home. They need professionals to stabilize their universe and must rely on our expertise and willingness to be good stewards of their resources on a daily basis.

Preventive maintenance (PM) is vital to systems and equipment in the same way an oil change is necessary for extending your car's life cycle. When we purchase a car, we want to get the most miles on the road with the least amount of downtime as possible.

The same principle is true for all the major equipment purchased to maintain comfort levels inside a building. Stakeholders need to know that their half-million dollar purchase of machinery is going to last as long as possible.

Facility managers should have PM as a priority and an integral part of their computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) program. PM is not something we do when we have nothing else to do. It is a proactive part of maintaining infrastructure and is just as important as all other aspects of maintenance.

The expertise of facility managers fuses the various aspects of real-estate and asset management into a cohesive approach in order to continuously improve the learning, working and living environment.