How Can You Make Your Facility Management Resilient?

First, it is important to understand what resiliency means.

According to Merriam-Webster, it is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”
Since the facilities we manage to provide space for the occupants to conduct their business, we must consider resiliency from their perspective, not just from a building perspective. This is the same whether you are a commercial property manager with tenants or an owner-occupier.

So, to make your building more resilient, you must talk to the occupants (whether tenants or departments of your organization) about their needs and what resilience needs to be to them.
This is the same process you should use when you plan emergency and contingency response – you don’t do them in isolation, you understand the occupant needs and plan accordingly.

So, the starting point is to understand what the occupant needs to maintain their business operations and how long they would need it, whether they have their own backup plans (or backup locations) and other business related issues. For instance, there may be some buildings which won’t need to stay open if there is a public emergency and others which are vital and need to remain open.

Then, based on what your occupant needs, you look at your building systems, utilities and services one by one to determine what your options are if there is a ‘misfortune’ as the definition describes it. This should include all the same things you deal with for emergency management and contingency planning for building system failure but also on services that could be impacted by external factors all with a very clear focus on resiliency for the occupant.
In some cases, alternate services, process changes or other straight forward planning can provide resiliency. For other things, major capital spending could be required, such as upgrading backup power capacity.

And don’t forget communications. In the case of a disaster, you need to communicate with your staff and with the occupants. Alternatives in case cell service fails should be considered in your plans.
If you have to invest to improve resiliency to the level the organization needs, the cost/benefit of each option has to be assessed and implemented based on that assessment.

Keep in mind what is within your control and what is not and be open and honest about whether it is possible to achieve the resiliency occupants need for any given ‘misfortune’. That way, they can plan their own business contingencies accordingly.