Commercial buildings define iconic skylines and create our everyday landscape. Often thought of as static structures, buildings are abuzz with complex networks and systems. As smart solutions arise and spaces become more automated, the importance of building management becomes that much more vital. At every layer, there is intention, thought, and skill in making it all go smoothly. Let’s step inside a typical owner-occupier scenario and meet the people—and jobs—that make it all possible.
A person that possesses both the structure, or title, is commonly referred to as an owner. In an owner-occupier scenario, the owner may occupy the entire space or lease out part of the space to other organizations. Owner-occupiers are responsible for high-level decisions, paying taxes in relation to the property, and funding maintenance and repair. They also have a very tangible motivation to make the space as inspiring and comfortable as possible.
Head of Workplace Services
Head of workplaces services wear many hats. Ensuring that office spaces are safe, efficient, and align with greater company or organization goals, they think long-term about office culture, construction and relocation, general improvements, and space planning. In addition, they are often involved in day-to-day operations—reception, mail and copy services, food service, and security.
Sustainability managers have a deep dedication to energy efficiency and social responsibility. They find innovative and economically viable ways to stay green. With a flood of factors to consider like greenhouse-gas emissions, waste management, energy and water conservation, they take charge to develop, implement, and monitor organizational environmental strategies. Suggestions could include renewable fuels, recycled water, and retrofitting buildings with new and efficient tech.
Chief engineers are responsible for technical supervision and building operation. They play an integral role in determining the technical goals of the building, devising plans for each phase, delegating work, and supervising installation of equipment.
Energy managers set and report on energy benchmarks. By tracking consumption, identifying underperforming areas, and verifying improvements, they play a crucial role in implementing the strategies and suggestions of the sustainability manager. They foster ownership of energy management, motivate staff to adopt energy efficient practices, and understand energy-use patterns and trends.
Information Technology (IT) Consultant
IT consultants offer technical expertise on and develop IT systems for buildings. They can be involved at any stage of the building lifecycle—initial contract, refining a specification with the broader team, or designing and coding necessary systems.
The procurement or purchasing manager is responsible for buying or approving acquisition of goods and services as they are needed by the building or company. They oversee purchasing of production materials, general supplies, and construction contracts, all while trying to hit that sweet spot of quality of service and sustainable pricing.
A facilities manager is the ultimate ground-level organizer. They make sure that both the building and workplace meet the needs of employees. Their day-to-day duties consist of performing or coordinating building and ground maintenance, cleaning, catering and vending, health and safety, contract management, space management, and utilities infrastructure. Depending on the size of building, some of these tasks could be outsourced to a third party.
At the end of the day, buildings are made and managed for the folks that fill them. The owner, head of workplace services, sustainability manager, chief engineer, energy manager, IT consultant, procurement manager, and facilities manager all operate in alliance to meet the needs of their biggest assets—employees and occupants. With the rise of both cost-effective and people-centric technology, employee happiness and corporate financial stability don't have to be at odds. Building management is a mighty task, but anything can be achieved with a great team.