Gail Tipping is a facilities manager. The company manages and administers the office premises security and equipment for major companies.
What does your job involve?
I look after the office buildings for the company I am allocated to manage at the time, so the staff there can carry out the jobs they're employed to do. This usually means working on site, or near the company, to have regular access to its premises.
At the moment, I look after two head office buildings with the team of 15 staff that I manager. I have overall responsibility for the state of the buildings inside and out, equipment, any maintenance needed, catering, cleaning and security. The equipment side covers everything from photocopiers to vending machines and air conditioning units.
What routine tasks are involved?
I do have regular jobs, for example, liaising with my team of staff on work progress and planning ahead. I also have regular meetings with contractors – representatives of the companies appointed to provide security staff and systems for the buildings.
I have 'regular' emergencies too! These can include reports of blocked toilets, office equipment or a lift breaking down. I'm always in different parts of the buildings – checking on action needed for breakdowns, or discussing changes to office layouts or maintenance requirements with staff.
What skills and qualities do you need to be a facilities manager?
You need to be very organised to manage all the different tasks and responsibilities. Flexibility is also important to react quickly to the problems that occur.
Good communications skills are essential. You are regularly in contact with your customer company's staff, the security team, suppliers of goods and people you call in to attend to emergencies – maintenance staff, plumbers and so on. You need to build good relationships with them all if the offices are going to run smoothly.
What challenges do you face?
I often have to deal with more than one emergency situation at a time. It can be a real challenge to keep everyone involved in touch with that is happening and any delays, as well as working solve the problem!
What do you like best about the facilities manager job?
I love the variety of the job and I'm always learning new things. I enjoy visiting our suppliers of goods and services to see what products and deals they can offer. There is sometimes the opportunity to meet Johnson Control staff managing premises and facilities for other companies too. It's great to share experiences and pick up tips on the best way of handling situations and problems.
Do you have any future career plans?
There are always chances of training – I have recently undertaken fire safety training and further management training. With so much opportunity in the company, I am very happy to stay and hopefully move forward with them.
Gail's route to her facilities manager job
- Worked in a factory after leaving school
- Temporary work in administration
- Started working for Johnson Controls, doing administrative work and meeting room bookings
- Promoted to supervisor
- Moved to facilities manager
Gail's facilities manager tips
- Get some administrative work experiences – especially doing things like booking rooms, arranging catering for meetings, looking after the maintenance of equipment and any other practical jobs.
- The British Institute of Facilities Management has a good website, which provides lots of information including courses, seminars and events.
Facilities manager related jobs
- Administrative assistant/manager
- Civil Service administrative assistant/officer
- Health and safety adviser
- Local government estates officer
- Security officer/manager
Salary of a facilities manager
- Salaries vary according to employer and geographical location, but new premises/facilities managers can earn around £25,000.
- With experience this can rise to £30,000 or more.
- Senior premises/facilities managers or heads of department, especially in large companies, may earn £35,000 to £40,000 or more.
How to become a facilities managern
- It is possible to work up to a premises/facilities management position with strong administrative and organisational skills and experience, either in the same company or another company in a similar business.
- There is a Degree in Facilities Management.
- Other useful degree/higher national diploma (HND) subjects include management and business studies.
- Other useful qualifications are NVQs/SVQs in Administration levels 3 and 4.
- The Chartered Management Institute offers a Certificate and Diploma in Management at levels 3, 4, and 5.
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