Contracts and out-sourcing are fundamental components of facilities management, and central to this is the identification and selection of a good network of contractors and suppliers.
While it is possible to find the majority of skills necessary for building and facilities maintenance, getting such skills in Nigeria remains a daunting task due to various factors not least the lack of proper training.
Facilities Managers increasingly require negotiation and management skills because of growing diversity and complexity within the industry.
It follows, therefore, that contractual relationships for procurement of facilities management and maintenance activities generally fall into two broad categories: traditional procurement arrangement and the alliance/partnership type.
Traditional procurement involves strict adherence to a defined specification or scope of work, whereas the alliance/partnership arrangement involves greater flexibility.
Outsourcing is any task, operation, job or process contracted to a third party for a period of time. The majority of skill set required for various aspects of facilities management and maintenance services (cleaning, electrical, mechanical, etc) are relatively predictable and readily available including a fair idea of pricing.
Any specialist skillset which maybe required at some point for facility operations and management should be identified and sourced well ahead of time. Knowledge gained should be shared and recorded.
It is important to ensure all contractors and suppliers working within the facility are adequately inducted. Consistent contractor induction processes should be developed and implemented including the following minimum requirements:
•A record of all employees and contractors inducted, including the date of induction
•An introduction to the facility (building) management team and other relevant personnel
•Provisions for security cards and access keys
•Verification of the ability to operate or maintain equipment
•An outline of any work conditions or requirements (e.g. use of lifts, safety or environmental requirements, etc)
•Copies of relevant contractor certificates, registrations, licences, etc
•Details of the system used for recording time
•Specific occupational health and safety requirements
An important element of consistency in contractor management is the development of a Contractor Management System. Such a system should include:
•Contractor induction arrangements for ensuring all safety, environmental and building user requirements are adhered to
•Contractor registration and identification system, (e.g. display of professional licence or contractor sticker)
•Documentation that listnames, positions and responsibilities of all contractors
•Details of arrangement for managing occupational health and safety incidents, including contact details for all person(s), available to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from occupational health and safety incidents
•Outline of site safety rules and arrangements for ensuring all contractors, employees or visitors are aware of the rules
•Other specific task or activity-specific training requirements
•Safe work method statements for all activities assessed as having safety risks (including electrical, welding, working at heights, etc)
•Recorded and file filed copies of insurance certificates.
Certain provisions must be in the contracts to prevent unnecessary issues that can be avoided in case of a dispute.These include:
•Technical specification – it defines rules and requirements expected from contractors or suppliers
•Evaluation – develop measuring criteria that correspond to the technical specification
•Management – establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to monitor the performance of contractors or suppliers.
How contracts are managed by facilities managers from the systemapplied to how teams work together will ultimately impact its levelof visibility, control and compliance. The strength of these components will determine the overall success of the contracts so people, processes and technology need to be built with this in mind.
With the level of growth, awareness and sophistication being experienced in the service delivery industry, facilities managers will do well to pay attention to contracts.
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