Advice and Opinion

The SA Facilities Management Handbook launched

The SA Facilities Management Handbook

As Managing Editor, Bouwer Kleynhans – Senior Solutions Manager at Tsebo Facilities Solutions – is the driving force behind The South African Facilities Management Handbook published by LexisNexis South Africa. The book is the first to deal with facilities management in the South African context and is endorsed by the South African Facilities Management Association (SAFMA).

Kleynhans was awarded the Distinguished Author Award at the recent SAFMA Awards 2017 for his work on the book. It is an essential guide for the safe, efficient and cost-effective running of any facility, particularly within the context of a role that has changed dramatically over the years and now encompasses a wide range of complex and challenging responsibilities.

“So much of the information, we receive in South Africa is from overseas, from the UK, USA or even Australia and India. This book is targeted specifically at the nuances of the South African market,” says Kleynhans.

“With endorsement from SAFMA, it is a must-have for any local Facilities Manager or indeed Property Occupier who needs to understand more about probably their biggest physical asset and how to manage it for maximum productivity,” he adds.

Kleynhans mentions that the idea for the book started when he did the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) Exam for IFMA. The handbook used as the study guide was The Facility Management Handbook” written by David Cotts, but the book predominantly focussed on how FM is conducted in the US. After a search for a South African version, it was clear that no material existed and the decision was made to produce a South African version of the Cotts title.

The problem that arose with such an all-encompassing title was what to include in the book? The main objective was to obtain SAFMA endorsement. Kleynhans decided to make it a collaborative work and get as many specialists as possible to contribute to the book. There are seven co-authors and seven other people who also had inputs. From the beginning, the authors decided that the book should cover the A-Z of FM and had several workshops to determine what to include and to which level of detail.

Three main reasons, identified by the authors as to why a book of this nature is required in South Africa, led to the conceptualization of this book.

Firstly, to make information available in an accessible format to assist Facilities Managers to execute their functions as efficiently as possible. The authors have investigated and addressed as far as possible all areas relevant to Facilities Managers.

Secondly, little, if any, literature on this topic is available in a South African context as most of the information pertaining to Facilities Managers is sourced from abroad.

Thirdly, to serve as an education and training tool for Facilities Managers. The aim is that the book can be prescribed as an educational aid by tertiary institutions or any training organisation. Since SAFMA has endorsed the book, it can also be used in the accreditation journey of Facilities Managers.

These reasons highlight the passion of the authors to elevate and promote Facilities Management (FM) as a profession. When school children are introduced to possible occupations to choose from, FM is never mentioned. This could be as result of it being relatively new as a formal occupation, or that it is not seen as one of the more glamorous occupations such as doctors, engineers or architects. Consequently, the objective is to make it an occupation of choice.

It has been said that Facilities Managers should be elevated from the plant room to the boardroom. This may be true but not always practically feasible, as organisations need the expertise in the plant room as well. Therefore, this book not only deals with technical information around the maintenance of equipment but also with other areas that a Facilities Manager needs to be informed or knowledgeable about. For example, the financial management chapter provides invaluable information to Facilities Managers on how to prepare project proposals and to engage with financial decision makers.

The end goal of the book is to elevate FM, such that successful organisations no longer view FM as a non-core “overhead” but as an integral part of the organisation with significant strategic importance.

The South African Facilities Management Handbook (ISBN: 9780409077469, October 2016) is available through LexisNexis or online via the short URL at a cost of R547.20 (incl. VAT, excl. delivery). There are 401 pages in the published book. With checklists and practical guidelines for easy-to- find advice and industry best practice, this up-to- date, comprehensive handbook will be an invaluable resource to facilities managers, anyone working in the facilities management industry, property owners and developers, property managers, government and built environment professionals such as architects, quantity surveyors and engineers, as well as students and newcomers to the industry.