• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

The benefits of facility audit

A case for corporate governance in FM profession

Facilities management continues to be a fascinating vocation in many ways because of the diverse areas that make up this ever-growing industry. The post covid era has even placed more emphasis on the workplace and the wellness of its occupiers.

The FM industry, no doubt, contributes a decent percentage to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any country. Furthermore, a good percentage of the workforce in any economy is in FM. This information is encouraging for the local market because it provides insight into the future of FM in Nigeria.

As part of the enormous responsibility of facilities management practitioners, carrying out a facility audit is of utmost significance in maintenance planning and budgeting process. The purpose of an audit is to provide a vehicle for producing an inventory by assessing the existing physical condition and functional performance of a built environment including the utilities and equipment.

The facilities manager should use the audit results to plan major and minor, immediate and long-term maintenance and repair. It can also be used for short- and long-term financial planning. The basic principles of audit can be used for any scale operation from a single structure to multiple buildings in various locations.

Three basic phases make up the audit process namely audit design, data collection and presentation of findings. To make this process achieve its objective, the scope of the audit must be determined followed by the audit team selection and design of a set of forms for use by the audit team. The forms may also be obtained from any available source.

The forms are used to record field observations for individual building components and the information is then summarized and priorities set. The information collected is available for use to develop cost estimates for capital repair and replacement projects, define regular maintenance requirements, and compare a building or facility’s condition and performance to other buildings or facilities and to eliminate conditions that are either potential safety hazards or likely to cause damage to property amongst others.

Using the HVAC systems as a case study, an audit should be prepared to provide an overall picture of the condition of the systems. Maintenance and repair of these systems are amongst the largest components of a facility’s budget. They are generally known to experience significant wear and tear since they have moving parts and require cleaning and upkeep to continue functioning .at an optimal level

A routine or preventive maintenance programme helps to avoid crisis management in HVAC systems and is arguably the biggest factor in reducing the overall costs to a facility. It takes only a broken pipe or failed transformer to set in motion a succession of costs for emergency action such as provision of temporary equipment or replacement of damaged materials.

One major benefit of an audit is the review of available records including the operating manuals from the manufacturers and existing maintenance logs.

Facility audit is, therefore, a critical part of a facilities manager’s responsibilities and should be treated as such.