One of the cornerstones of an effective strata community is working closely with both the committee and the strata manager is the Facility Manager.
More than just a caretaker or a maintenance person, facilities management covers a comprehensive range of services including project management, defect resolution, workplace health and safety systems, contract and tender management for contractors and building staff.
We talk to Tony Basile of Facilities Management Victoria (FMV), pictured at left, about his work and the success of the company he runs with founding director David McGlashan, pictured at centre.
How did you get started in facilities management?
After twenty years working with elevators and dealing with building managers on a daily basis I made a career changing decision to move into facilities management.
What was the first job you had?
I worked as the “Paint Guy” at McEwan’s which became Bunnings for nine years all the way thru to the end of my Engineering Degree at uni. My first job in facilities management was at Savills, as their FM for Victoria.
How did FMV come about?
There was a need to provide a structured approach to residential FM so David saw an opening in the market and started the business.
I met David back in 2009, when he was looking to expand the business. Three years later we were 50-50 partners in FMV and since then our independent status has seen the business double in size in just a few years. We now have over 120 employees, and are the biggest independent FM company in Victoria (possibly Australia, and soon the world).
What type of issues did you identify in the industry that you knew FMV could do better?
We made a strategic decision to increase the profile of residential Facilities Management.
We became active within the FMA which was a commercial focused enterprise. David McGlashan effectively co-wrote the “Facilities Management, Good Practice Guide to Multi-Unit Residential living”.
We identified that buildings are the same regardless, and therefore the Facility Managers needed to be more professional and ensure buildings were a safe workplace for people working there as well as a good home to those living in them.
How has the industry changed over the past 20 years and even since 2001 when FMV was established?
The Commercial side of Facilities Management hasn’t changed much over the years, apart from updating regulations.
The big changes have been on the residential side. Some committees were caught short because they weren’t aware of their obligations with compliance. Committee members are more astute nowadays and we see part of our role is to educate them on their responsibilities. Committees today set the direction for the building and execute their plans.
What do you identify as the key issues for facilities management in the next 5-10 years? Two key issues which we foresee is the need to improve security as well as the need to ensure the long term maintenance plans are constantly reviewed as the buildings start to reach the age when big ticket items are due for upgrading.
How important is it to work closely with your client’s strata manager?
The best buildings to live in are the ones that have a strong and professional relationship between the Committee, the OC manager and the Facility Manager.
Please describe a typical day for your team.
The best thing about being in this business is that there is no such thing as a “Typical Day”. We can deal with internal HR issues one minute and floods the next.