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June 05, 2017

Now is the right time for an architect to enter Facilities Management - Diwank

Divank Awasthy from Delhi, an architect graduate, shifts his sight to Facilities Management once he senses the enormous potential for growth that is present in this field. Read on to know why a well-placed architect takes a calculated risk and plunges into a new career.

“I belong to Delhi and am from science background. I pursued architecture from Gateway College of Architecture & Design. After my graduation, I worked with Design International Forum for a year where I handled projects like Palm Olympia Housing Noida and GD Goenka School in Sarita Vihar. There I worked on planning, making 3d view and designing working drawings for them. After a while it became monotonous, I thought after designing a building or constructing a building what should I do next? I always knew that I wanted to do something new and exciting, something different. I started looking for a course that might tell me what happens after a building is constructed. From the internet I got to know about Facilities Management which is all about managing the facilities of a building to provide a good workplace and environment. So I searched for this course on Facebook and got to know about RICS SBE, Amity University. I went through the procedure of applying for admission. After completing one year of my course here, what I have learnt is that managing a facility is not that easy; it requires constant vigilance and coordination, but if you work hard and concentrate you can really excel in this field.  One needs to have multi –tasking skills with good communication ability to be in this profession.

One important aspect of Facilities Management is space management and this includes space planning. An architect plans the space of a particular building and organization by planning, validating the spaces and checking out the per unit areas of a place. So this space planning is a core part of FM which is completely related to the management and maintenance of buildings which is also a part of architecture. In architecture we design and construct buildings, in Facilities Management we manage and maintain buildings. So it is basically the process cycle that continues; once a building is constructed, you optimize the space and bring the best out of it.

Facilities Management: scope, opprtunities and challenges

When we talk about the scope of FM especially in a country like India, it is fair to say it on the boom right now. It is the right time to enter this field as it is on the rise. FM is important for every country because it aids development. My sister who is in Canada gave me a lot of information about FM. In developed countries like Canada and USA, FM is one of the most important aspects of real estate. So with all these inputs, I thought of changing my field and coming to this new field which is actually somewhat related to architecture but different. It starts where architecture ends or maybe it is an amalgamation of both where you require an architect for fit-outs, design and beautiful interiors and a facility manager to maintain it.

I feel that FM is meant for me. First, my background in architecture gives me a familiarity with this subject. Secondly, I actively like working in a place where you have to manage everything. If you can be efficient and organized, you can really do well in FM. Also as an extrovert, you need to communicate a lot and you need to have the power to convince people be it vendors, employees or subordinates. So I have that in me.

The most challenging part of FM is procurement. Procurement is purchasing of materials, taking materials outside your building and bringing them in. Materials include all the furnishings, the furniture and equipment that is required in a building. One needs to have stock in place to replace anything that is broken or lost. Facilities management is taking care of all these details, talking and bargaining with vendors to have a cost effective deal. This makes procurement an interesting and challenging aspect. One of the FM projects that I would really like to work on is a relocation project because going from one building to another is a challenge; one has to manage employees, CEOs, infrastructure etc.

India has huge growth potential in Facilities Management

The right time to enter FM is now. FM is a field which will not be much affected by recession. Even when there is recession, there will be no impact as the buildings will keep working, organizations will never shut down. FM has lots of opportunity because in India there are very less facility managers. I would love to be a Director of Facilities in a good firm like CBRE and I am also focusing on having my own start-up of FM because it is something that can come up in India in a very good way. If I make the right efforts and get the right experience after 3-4 years, I can apply all my learnings and experience into a start-up and take it forward.

The subjects that were taught to us are useful in terms of application. In my opinion, the first is FM itself and the other is Building Services where you learn to cover services like HVAC, water supply, electrical distribution system and the last subject is Finance.  In Finance, we gained knowledge about present value, share market and bonds which I did not have previously; it really helped enhance my knowledge.

I think I am married to the industry because here there are a lot of opportunities, a lot of jobs and a lot of designations that you can get as a faculty person. You can be a Director or Manager, Head of Procurement or you can be in the front office. So there are different fields inside this domain which makes this a vast field with lots of variety.

My dream is to open a start-up in FM. I have plans to partner with my classmates to open a firm, each of them from a different background. Sourav is from Civil Engineering, Ankit is a Hotel Management graduate, I am from architecture and Harpreet is from Physics (Hons). Right now since there is a shortage of facility managers, this is the best opportunity for people who are serious and have knowledge about it. Coming from varied fields and applying our individual learnings together in a start-up can be a really good thing for us. We are deriving different meanings from the same subjects like a civil engineer looks at the structure of a building, the architect looks at the design so you get two separate perspectives from both. This is what really takes you forward in life so this is a win-win situation for all.”

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