The practice of sustainable facilities management: Design sentiments and the knowledge chasm
Elmualim, A.A., Czwakiel, A., Valle, C.R., Ludlow, G. and Shah, S. (2009) The practice of sustainable facilities management: Design sentiments and the knowledge chasm. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 5 (Special is). pp. 91-102. ISSN 1745-2007
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The construction industry with its nature of project delivery is very fragmented in terms of the various processes that encompass design, construction, facilities and assets management. Facilities managers are in the forefront of delivering sustainable assets management and hence further the venture for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. A questionnaire survey was conducted to establish perceptions, level of commitment and knowledge chasm in practising sustainable facilities management (FM). This has significant implications for sustainable design management, especially in a fragmented industry. The majority of questionnaire respondents indicated the importance of sustainability for their organization. Many of them stated that they reported on sustainability as part of their organization annual reporting with energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction as the main concern for them. The overwhelming barrier for implementing sound, sustainable FM is the lack of consensual understanding and focus of individuals and organizations about sustainability. There is a knowledge chasm regarding practical information on delivering sustainable FM. Sustainability information asymmetry in design, construction and FM processes render any sustainable design as a sentiment and mere design aspiration. Skills and training provision, traditionally offered separately to designers and facilities managers, needs to be re-evaluated. Sustainability education and training should be developed to provide effective structures and processes to apply sustainability throughout the construction and FM industries coherently and as common practice.