Buildings count for half of the primary energy sources consumption, half of all consumed raw materials, and produce hundreds of million tonnes of waste and a third of the world’s CO2 production. These statistics have made construction and building of low energy buildings an international trend. More than transportation, mining or any other industry, it is primarily the building industry that efficient facilities management has led to better utilisation of resources as well as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Rajesh Shetty, senior national director of facilities management at Colliers International India, sheds light on the subject. Having started his career as a civil engineer, Shetty travelled internationally to oversee the refurbishments and maintenance assignments for over 70 hospitals. He forayed into facilities management when he returned to India in 1999. Today, he finds himself at the helm of affairs, growing the FM business both organically and inorganically, for one of the largest companies in this segment.
Shetty shares the most critical aspect that he focused on — making use of all his experience and preempting those repeat challenges in the new environment. “Close to any start-up environment, the focus in Colliers International remained sharp on client feedback for improvement, mobilising all resources together to deliver on promises through collaboration and tighter governance, and thinking and doing more for the client and worrying less for ourselves in the process,” he states.
He mentions that cost and business compliance continue to remain a challenge and a focus area. For these, his philosophy is that there are no shortcuts to success. “I am a firm believer of the age-old adage that ‘time invested with clients and your people is never wasted’, as eventually it results in long-term dividends.”
Another aspect that he delves on is sustainability. He says: “Sustainability is not just one organisation’s focus alone, it is a cumulative effort of all stakeholders in a project, most critically that of the end users. Therefore, clearly defining the common objectives and ensuring absolute transparency in communication, followed by action is the key agenda. Many times, these efforts go beyond the scope of the engagement and hence collaborations at every level and between stakeholders result in the success of any sustainability programme.”
Binding all focus areas and initiatives through a structured/compliance framework, following best practices of procurement, and defining measurable standards has ensured best results on sustainability for Colliers International. The company, besides investing in its own resources in up-skilling their awareness on sustainability, have also made some strategic alliances with energy managers, waste management agencies and utility companies, to extend best in class support for its clients.
Collaborating for efficient solutions
While the industry recognises the need for early involvement of FMs in developing a programme, it tends to miss out in creating a sustained and intermittent involvement and partnership until the actual takeover of the project. Rarely in an Indian context, an appointment of a FM takes place at the design and execution stage, and these services are expected to come by as value additions. Shetty says, “In most cases, there is never much scope to undo the design executed, hence, the best solution is to have a collective meeting with all stakeholders to address the case in point and derive an acceptable way forward for maintenance. However, for consequent expansions within the same client portfolio, adequate visibility and communication has been initiated to ensure design limitations are not repeated.”
Creating savings as against avoiding costs has and will continue to remain the core challenge for any organisation, until the client portfolio attains full consolidation and stability in operations. While generally large ticket items are addressed, there’s a need for smaller and progressive contributions towards overall sustainability and cost containment.
Shetty adds, “In most cases, retention of the ongoing association with clients is a measurable success for FM by itself. When expanding or adding more portfolios with the client, not bringing in an additional FM service provider has also served as a measure of success for us, as there’s always pressure for clients to have some contingency built-in for FM service providers, in their ever-growing portfolio.”