Experts in the built environment have advocated for efficient facility management system as a means of sustaining national infrastructure across the country. Speaking to Housing News in Abuja, vice chairman of Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Bldr.
Samson Opaluwah noted that the cycle of failure of national infrastructure and facilities soon after commissioning could only be prevented by introducing efficient facility management system. He pointed out that the days of relying solely on maintenance management is over adding that part of the indices of measuring people’s civilization are their regeneration and sustainability profile. Opaluwah wondered how Nigeria could break away from underdevelopment when the leadership failed to focus on sustainable developments. He said though the proceeds from the sales of oil were largely invested on infrastructure that Nigerians are yet to reap commensurate returns given the absence of efficient management plans even as he called for an urgent action to reverse what he described as ‘ugly trend’.
“The world has moved on and we need multidisciplinary competency to stay afloat and be relevant because some professions will soon be lost to information technology as their expertise can be obtained by the click of a bottom. Let’s arise and jumpstart our development by acquiring current technologies and move on”, he added. The vice chairman enjoined professionals to adapt to the realities of the changing world and new technologies adding that they should not stick to 1970s technology and ideas in today’s emerging world without enrolling for fresh training. While noting that the built environment industries are the bane of national development, he maintained that the failure of other sectors could be traced to the improper structuring of the built environment components.
On his part, the managing director of Justin Okpu & Co limited, a facility management company, Prince Justin Okpu lamented that governments have often reduced the capacity and capability of growing the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP’s) through improper management and maintenance of private and public infrastructure. He called for urgent management of national infrastructure and the need to end serial abandoned projects adding that the role of facility managers are crucial just like other members of the construction team.
Okpu debunked claims that facility management is same with property management adding that it’s a multi-disciplinary profession needed to sustain developmental efforts since the world is changing rapidly.
He said that the unnecessary bickering between facility managers and estate surveyors and valuers was irrelevant, advocating for stronger collaboration between the two professional bodies so as to sustain infrastructure in line with current economic realities. Explaining further the role of facility management, Okpu hinted that it entails managing the built environment by making it conducive and safe for people and its equipments.
“Becoming a core facility manager requires compliant with eleven competencies in skill sets and ability such as communication; emergency fitness with business continuity; environmental stewardship/sustainability; finance & business skill; human resource factor; leadership & strategy, operations & maintenance; project management; control; real estate & property management and technology”, he said. The facility expert stated that possessing such competencies is equivalent to possessing eleven certification which is a testimony of the huge task performed in facility management.