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Advisory
The Difference Between Hard and Soft Facilities Management

Facilities management services are often split in to two types, hard facilities management, and soft facilities management. Here, Jeremy Harrison, Managing Director of MSL Property Care Services, discusses the difference between the two, what they include and when the different services may be necessary.

MSL

Businesses need to employ a variety of facilities management services in order to run effectively and remain compliant within the law; these services will vary depending on the size of the company and building, location and type of business.

What is facilities management?

Facilities management encompasses all aspects of a building’s maintenance to ensure efficiency, safety and comfort. Employing facilities management companies, such as MSL Property Care Services, will help to ensure the building and relevant equipment – for instance, air conditioning units, electrics and water systems – are inspected regularly, repaired as required, and that each aspect is compliant within the law. These services not only help to maintain the fabric of the building, but also help to ensure the safety of staff and visitors alike.

Hard facilities management

The first type of facilities management is hard facilities management services. These relate to the physical and tangible aspects of the fabric of the building and will often have compliance laws and legislations attached to them. These services will help to ensure the safety of people on the premises and some examples of these are:

Lighting

Safety within the workplace is vital, and ensuring the premises are well lit is a must. As part of a planned maintenance schedule, lighting systems will be checked to ensure any minor faults and issues are identified early and can rectified to ensure business continuity and safety. Emergency lighting may also be implemented which will ensure that your business complies with relevant regulations. Lighting systems will also be inspected to ensure they are energy-efficient, and depending on the size of your business, an ESOS energy assessment may be required.

HVAC

As part of your facilities management inspections, heating, ventilation and air conditioning units will all undergo checks to ensure they are compliant within the law and working efficiently. It is important to consider that different sized units and outputs will be required dependent on the size of the building; your facilities management team can help you identify what is right for your space and spot any inefficiencies in the equipment.

Water systems

There are laws and legislations in place for water systems on business premises to protect people from legionella. Planned maintenance schedules help to ensure water systems are checked and tested regularly and compliance certifications are kept up to date. This will ensure your business remains within the law, avoiding potential fines and even court dates, but most importantly protecting those using the water from potential harm.

Fire safety systems

In line with the Fire Safety Regulatory Reform (2005), every non-domestic building must appoint an individual as a ‘responsible person’ who oversees everything to do with fire safety. Your facilities management company can work with your company to ensure your fire safety equipment and systems are in working order and compliant with legislations.

Soft facilities management

In contrast, soft facilities management relates to the additional services within a building and are often not compulsory but can make the environment more pleasant and secure. These services can often be removed or added to on an adhoc basis. An assessment of the property will identify the soft facilities management services which may be necessary for the property, some examples of these services include:

Cleaning

Commercial regular cleaning or adhoc deep cleans may be required for your property. Often, cleaning and hygiene services can be provided out of work hours to ensure minimal disruption.

Security

The levels of security required for your business will depend on the type, premises size and location. Security can vary from installing CCTV to having
on-site security guards 24 hours a day. Consulting with an expert will help you understand the potential areas of your business which may need increased security.

Waste management

This can include everything from the collection to the disposal of waste from your business. Many waste management services will offer recycling and it’s important to consider the environmental impact of your business through the waste it produces.

Pest control

Infestations can cause a huge amount of issues for a business, even sometimes resulting in closure and evacuation of the premises. Pest control solutions can help treat infestations and get your business back up and running, but also identify and implement measures to prevent pests in potential areas of risk.

Aesthetics

Landscaping, gardening and the upkeep of the appearance of a building can help to not only improve and maintain the value of the property but also make the environment more pleasant for staff and visitors alike improving overall morale.

Car parks

If your business has a car park, it is your duty of care to ensure it is a safe environment for staff and visitors in both cars and on foot. You can liaise with your facilities management company to discuss the options pertaining to the car park such as implementing speed measures, adding clearer signage, increasing visibility with lighting, posts and mirrors, implementing seasonal maintenance checks and marking clear walkways for pedestrians.

Ensuring you are compliant and are employing all relevant hard facilities management services for your property will make sure your business remains within the law and is a safe and comfortable environment for your employees. There are many additional benefits to implementing soft services such as improving employee morale, increasing the value of the property, and adding additional security and peace of mind.

It is good practice to understand the soft services which may be required for your business, therefore discussing with a facilities management company and undertaking a needs assessment will help you identify areas for improvement. There are many important factors to consider when running a business and having a team on hand to assist with the facility’s needs will help to alleviate time and stresses from your internal team.

Jeremy Harrison is Managing Director of MSL Property Care Services, one of the UK’s leading property maintenance companies with an expansive range of facilities management services, including reactive, planned and compliance maintenance.

Contact MSL

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