Why Facilities Management must evolve with the University education revolution

What is facilities management?

Facilities Management is the management, planning, operations and maintenance services related to an organisation’s property portfolio – i.e. land, buildings, infrastructure and capital works.

Facilities Management is evolving across Australia’s Higher Education Sector. These changes mirror developments that occurred in the 1990s within the commercial property industry. Instead of tenants being viewed as a noisy inconvenience – disturbing common areas and complaining about facilities – they’re now more appropriately seen as critical to success. That’s because tenants deliver the cash flow that drives revenue and profit.

The recent changes have been motivated by the shift from direct university financing to a student-funded model, which means attracting and retaining students is central to maintaining adequate funding.

Higher Education is Australia’s fastest growing export sector

Higher education is our third largest earner after coal and iron ore. Export revenue from international students is now a $20 billion industry. Attracting and retaining those students is big business and vital to the success of Australian universities. If students go elsewhere, so does the money.

In the Higher Education Sector, it’s no longer sufficient to simply provide a great faculty and publish the latest research. It’s now equally important for a competent Facilities Management function to consider the experience and wellbeing of its students. To attract undergraduates, you need great facilities, teachers, classes and courses.

The Challenge

Organisational models, systems and processes used by many universities have not changed for decades. With their focus on buildings and maintenance, they’re unequipped to meet modern demands for a flexible and client-centric service. Legacy IT systems and antiquated data-management practices mean traditional FM teams lack the information needed to make informed and timely business decisions.

So what does best practice look like?

Own the revolution! Learn what it takes to be a competent university Facilities Management function and how to tackle the challenges faced by Australia’s tertiary education sector.