I was very honored to speak at Asia’s Education Facilities and Infrastructure Summit on 28 of September 2017. The following is a summary of my presentation.
There are many steps in between finding a suitable site, building a school and opening for business. According to the Occupiers Journal, the process of constructing and managing a facility contains 12 clearly defined phases. The adherence to each phase ensures that, among other things, schedule and investments objectives are met.
Each phase is further subdivided into steps each including milestones, budgets, decision making, and oftentimes compromises.
During each phase of the facility development, the project team will be showing great engagement between design, school development, how the space will be used and the external businesses and industries. However, throughout the process a significant disconnect between the designers and the Facility Managers occurs.
As each stakeholders’ contribution is taken into consideration at different times throughout the 12 phases, the individual objectives can and, oftentimes will, influence the decision process.
The individual stakeholders may be swayed in their decisions by personal experience, new research, schedule, investments, or space usage, altering the decision process and influencing the overall design and plan for the facility.
In many cases, “the construction closeout” is when the FM team has a chance to see the facility for the very first time. That is when they are asked to mobilize to get ready for the handover of the facility. Should the FM team put forward any improvements at this stage, the implementation is generally costly or even impossible to execute.
The paradox is that Teachers and Users (the “Paying Users”) will only have access to the facility once the Occupancy has been granted and Operations begin. By now, service levels, protocols, and budgets have been defined and approved, and many of their features can be misinterpreted or outright outdated or unsuitable. Any re-work (as the word indicates) of protocols or infrastructure has an extra direct or indirect cost that will impact the users and budget.
An improved construction process will change the stakeholders landscape and their direct inputs into the design. The graph shows the difference in stakeholders’ input during the 12 phases of the facility development between the ‘traditional construction process’ and the ‘improved construction process’.
Traditionally the construction process is led by a small group comprised by leadership, finance, and sometimes operations working directly with designers and construction to deliver what they believe to be a great project. The improved construction process is instead a collection of inputs from all the stakeholders that will be using the new facility once completed. This shift in the number of stakeholders’ teams that take part in the “planning and formulation” phase will ensure all stakeholders are aligned throughout the development process. This translates into a facility that will not need any unbudgeted change management activities, or costly variation orders.
By bringing the facility management team to the stakeholders table as peers, we improve school design and reduce operating costs. Experienced facility managers will improve your facility designs based on invaluable daily experience, and help you mitigate crisis before it turns into an emergency.
Luca works with PDAcademia in Hong Kong, delivering strategic facility management solutions to international schools in Greater China and South-East Asia. Before joining PDAcademia, Luca worked in manufacturing operations with LU-VE Group, with The Executive Centre as purchasing manager in Hong Kong, and, in Beijing with JLL in facility management responsible for institutional accounts.