I was discussing the issues of design not working well for operations with a very experienced Facility Manager I know and he gave me a great example of how he got the Architect on-board with operational design requirements for a new Facility.
You may have seen my previous posting “Architects Dream – Facility Managers Nightmare” where I talked about an issue with design and operations at an airport I traveled through on my way back from a trip to the Middle East and Asia where I taught IFMA’s FMP Designation course and delivered my Facilities workshop “Strategic Facility Management“.
The issue I outlined will continue to persist, but as my colleague showed, there are ways to make a difference.
In this case, it was also related to janitorial services, which as we know is a crucial front-line service in our facilities.
My colleague was having difficulties convincing the architect to include enough janitorial closets in the building he was involved with. As usual, there are competing interests in designing a facility and the architect wanted to maximize the space allocated to the users and didn’t seem to believe there were operational needs such as providing working space for janitors, not to mention making running water available to them.
With some effort and by using his skills at influencing, my colleague got the architect to make a facility visit in the evening when the janitorial staff were working.
Based on this visit, the architect learned about the work flow and needs of the janitorial staff. This convinced him to include the necessary janitorial closets in the facility design.
This is a great example of how, if you take the effort, you can influence facility design. In this case, the Facility Manager was already included in the design development phase, which is probably the biggest hurdle most Facility Managers have to overcome in the first place. Then the next step is to have your experience, knowledge and opinions listened to and acted on.
My colleague showed that this is possible, so next time you encounter a similar issue, get the Architect to experience your pain or walk in your shoes. Seeing and experience are more powerful than talking about it.