People capabilities for promoting sustainability in facilities management practices

Sarpin, Norliana & Yang, Jay (2013) People capabilities for promoting sustainability in facilities management practices. In World Building Congress 2013, 5-9 May, Brisbane, Australia, International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD, pp. 1-11.

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Sustainability needs to be embedded throughout the life-cycle of a construction project. From project conception, planning, design, construction stage, operation and maintenance to demolition, each phase of development should embrace principles of sustainability and the stakeholder involved should be empowered with the necessary skills. Past research explored the importance of ensuring sustainability measures during the occupancy phase based on considerations of Life-Cycle Cost Analysis and a project’s long-term detrimental impact on the environment.

Facility managers are in a unique position to promote sustainability over longer periods of project engagement and can apply a high level of influence on the built assets through management and upgrades. There is growing interest among facility managers in incorporating sustainability measures into day-to-day practice. More, however, needs to be done. Previous studies have identified barriers such as the lack of sustainability knowledge and skills, poor access to information, and unwillingness to change among facility management (FM) practitioners and stakeholders. This inhibits proper implementation of sustainable practices in the FM sector. A number of key factors, such as knowledge discrepancy, time constraints, diversity of FM functions and a lack of incentives, require urgent remedy.

The capability of FM professionals and stakeholders will be a key enabler in managing the sustainability agenda, as it is central to the improvement of competency and innovation in an organization. Compared to the attempts at developing sustainability guidelines and performance measurement, research efforts relating to people capabilities and skills are still lagging behind. This paper discusses the progress to date of a research project aimed at formulating a people capabilities framework for sustainable FM practices based on expert opinions and industry feedback.

Through literature review, the paper explores the challenges of incorporating sustainability principles into general FM practices before focusing specifically on FM personnel capabilities that may impact on the implementation of a holistic sustainability agenda in real life practice. The results of an industry survey are used to propose an action framework to identify, promote and utilise people capabilities in order to promote sustainability integration in FM practices. The paper provides a useful information source for FM personnel and organizations to bridge the gap between extensive tools on sustainable design and construction assessment at the front end and the need to maintain focus throughout the project life-cycle.

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ID Code: 59967
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Facilities management, Sustainability, Capabilities, People, Life-cycle
ISBN: 978-0-9875542-0-8
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult author(s)/creators
Deposited On: 15 May 2013 03:16
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2013 04:05

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