Facilities management is the process of ensuring that a building, its equipment and environment are well maintained. A service on the other hand is the action of meeting a need in a particular area. Therefore, facilities service management can be defined as the provision of a range of services to ensure that an office is effective and runs efficiently. It can be hard or soft service facilities management.
Soft service facilities management
This are services provided at the workplace to ensure the office environment is a friendly place to work in. It is a companies initiative and so, not required by law. It involves a range of services like security which involves providing surveillance cameras, guards and alarms, waste management of sanitary wastes, plus recycling and disposing wastes, general cleaning service of floors and windows, pest control, office decoration and catering services that ensure eating areas are provided for clients, staff meetings and visitors.
Hard service facilities management
This service relates to physical aspect of the building. It can be services like fixing or providing mechanical and electrical repairs to ensure employees work in a safe and secure environment. It is required by law. It covers fire safety systems, that is, ensuring fire safety appliances are available, in good working conditions and emergency fire exits are provided, plumbing and drainage issues, heating, lighting and power issues, air conditioning, it also addresses IT and audiovisual communications, building fabric repairs like carpets and maintenance of lift and doors.
For example a project close to my heart is government housing and facilities management, which a lot of the majors are starting to cover a lot more, in LA alone we have 10s of thsousands of people sleeping rough and no capacity to house them, if our governments would adopt the right software we would be in a lot better position than we currently are.
To decide on which hard or soft services are really required for an office, a facilities needs assessment should be conducted. This can be through physical inspection or by requesting employees to fill questionnaires.