Facility Managers Advised to Conserve Energy, Water for Better Environment

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Fadekemi Ajakaiye

Facility managers in the country have been advised to focus on building sustainable environment by optimising energy and water, while reducing all resources that has negative impact on the environment.

They should also to educate building occupants on culture that can positively impact the environment and automate all touch points, said the Group Chief Executive Officer of Global Property & Facilities International Ltd., Dr MKO Balogun, who was the Guest Speaker, as the International Facility Management Association, Nigeria chapter performed a virtual celebration of this year’s World Facility Management Day.

Balogun stated that Facility Management is a US$1.15 trillion global industry, with over 65,000 professional and industry participants across the world.

The World FM Day theme, “Celebrating Our Environment,” celebrates the significant contribution of facility management to global economy, Balogun said, and urged facility managers to turn buildings green in line modern trend.

According to him, “Facility Management has successfully integrated people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.”

He said, Facility Managers, facility Engineers, Janitors, security team, IT teams in residential buildings, hospitals, government offices, and public offices should be celebrated for their sacrificial roles that they have played since the outbreak of the dreaded disease.

He also revealed that environments which are not properly managed would lead to building related diseases, such as humidification issues; chemicals and cleaning agents; fumigation and pest control concerns; moist surfaces and dampness in buildings; Air conditioning tower issues and Poor filters.

Balogun also noted that COVID-19 has greatly improved the environment, as there has been a drastic drop in the level of pollution due to human activities that negatively affects the environment such as transportation which reduced by 80%, the use of buildings and its facilities reduced by more than 60%, power utilisation, water use, waste generation and others reduced significantly due to lockdowns and restrictions of movement.

This year’s event aimed to raise the profile of the FM profession by drawing attention to their impact on the health, safety, productivity and well-being of everyone who utilises the built environment.

The event was used to celebrate the involvement of the Facility Managers and the role of the industry as a key driver of practices that support facility sustainability and resilience. “Facility Managers create, operate and maintain environments where people work, rest or play in all parts of their lives across the world.

Welcoming participants to the this exceptional event, the President of the Association, Mrs. Abimbola Olusegun-Adamolekun said, “Facility Management practitioners play significant roles in operating and maintaining environments where our people work and live.”

She noted that this was a huge responsibility that they proudly did every day, saying “this special day enables us to reflect on our achievements of the profession. It is expected that the 2020 edition of the celebration will enable professionals to coordinate the workplace, people and technology especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic so that our facilities can remain open and free of viruses.”

Meanwhile, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has likened the roles of Facilities Management in creating and maintaining a sustainable environment, to governance.

Makinde made this assertion during his keynote address at the 2020 edition of the Nigeria Facilities Management (FM) Roundtable.

The Nigeria FM Roundtable is an annual thought leadership, business-to-business, and policy roundtable sponsored by Alpha Mead Facilities, the FM Subsidiary of leading Total Real Estate Solutions Company, Alpha Mead Group, in commemoration of the World FM Day.

Speaking on the theme of the event ‘Managing the Environment in a Time of Pandemic: People, Places, and Technology’, Makinde who commended Alpha Mead for its leadership of the industry, and FM professionals, for their contributions to the health, safety and productivity of people during this period; noted that as with governance, people hardly commend Facilities Managers when things are going right, but immediately the ball drops, everyone remembers the Facilities Manager.

He added that globally, technology is playing a critical role in helping to manage people and restructure the environment to effectively control and contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and FM is playing a critical role behind the scene.

Makinde noted: “I have repeatedly stated that in Oyo State, we will be following the dictates of science, data and logic in our fight against COVID-19. Science requires that we isolate infected people, logic dictates that we must consider our socio-economic factors before deciding on our control and containment measures, and data will continue to help us improve on our environmental strategies for a prosperous state. If we do not take these things into consideration, our strategies will fail”, the governor warned.

Speaking further on his comparison of governance and FM, Makinde said “one of the things people have complained about in our management of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the enforcement of directives. But we know that social distancing is not innate to people. So rather than a hard stance, logic is guiding us to invest in sensitization and ensuring that people get the right incentives that will make them adhere to the guidelines.”

Mr. Makinde further noted that government has been having a running battle with space during the period, adding that rather than take up the various offers for existing spaces to be adopted as is for isolation centres, his government is taking a different approach with considerations for the longer term.

“We are taking the difficult route of redesigning places to be able handle both management and control of COVID-19 cases. This is an expensive and time-consuming effort, but we remain committed to our promise to the people,” the governor said.

Speaking earlier, Chairman of Alpha Mead Group, Mutiu Sunmonu, (CON), noted that although the global theme for the World FM Day is ‘Celebrating the Environment’, current realities have necessitated the need to contextualize the theme.

Sunmonu commented: “I believe the theme we have chosen is very topical to help all stakeholders appreciate the fuller ramification of FM as not just a profession that manages buildings, but a business function that manages the environment for business sustainability and people productivity”.

Femi Akintunde, Group Managing Director of Alpha Mead in his opening address explained that the essence of this year’s roundtable is to ensure that the voices of FM professionals are heard, and the profession plays a significant role in Africa’s recovery agenda.

“As a leader in the industry, we appreciate that our position comes with a lot of responsibilities. This includes showcasing the successes of FM in our clime, creating a platform to raise the standards of our profession, and positioning FM as one of the key players in Africa’s economic growth agenda”.

Host of the roundtable and Managing Director of Alpha Mead Facilities, Wole Olufore, in his speech charged Facility Management professionals “to help the communities, government and private businesses we support to manage people and places by leveraging technology in a way that ensures continuous safety during this pandemic and speedy recovery post-pandemic, he explained”

The 2020 Nigeria FM Roundtable–which held online in adherence to the social distancing guidelines – had in attendance over 400 participants from 17 countries.

Panellists at the online event include: leading environmentalist, Dr Desmond Majekodunmi; Prof. Babatunde Green, MD, Alpha Mead Healthcare Management Services; Mr Jerome Eshun, Economist and Former MD, NHTC Properties, Ghana; Francis Gasana, Chairman, Private Sector Federation, Rwanda; and Wale Odufalu, Group ED, Corporate Services, Alpha Mead Group and Chair IWFM Nigeria Region.

The World FM Day is a day earmarked globally to celebrate Facilities Management and enable conversations on the important role the profession plays in enabling people productivity, business profitability and environmental responsibility.