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What is facility management?

14 Feb 2024

Facility Management

All clubs have some sort of facility that they are responsible for in some capacity whether it be through ownership, lease, licensing or renting arrangements.

Ensuring these facilities are kept in good working order or to meet these arrangements as well as your club demands requires your facilities to be managed by someone within your club. Too often clubs are looking for redevelopment opportunities without giving little thought to the ongoing costs associated with managing a facility, or how alternative designs and/or modifications to your infrastructure can reduce operating costs.

Facility Management is a definition which is constantly evolving in today’s sporting world. All sports clubs are in a competitive market with not only other sports, but also leisure activities competing for community interests and membership. It is therefore important for clubs and associations to be proactive in providing and maintaining the best possible facility conditions to provide benefits to their members and the broader community.

So, what is facility management?

For sporting clubs, facility management is ensuring your facilities are in the best possible condition by maintaining, repairing, upgrading or improving your facility assets to support the primary objectives of your club.

Facility Management can appear to be quite a daunting task from a time and effort perspective as well as the potential financial demands on your club. With increasing strains on our sporting clubs, it is important club committees take the time to consider and implement facility management plans to ensure service delivery, response to changing trends and most importantly sustainability within the community.

What is a facility?

Before we can begin to look at the steps involved in managing your facility, let’s define what a facility is.

When talking about sport, a facility includes where your members attend your sport, as well as the amenities and equipment used by your club. It is a building, structure or specific venue designed for a specific purpose or function. This also includes structures to support the involvement in your sport such as a canteen, scoreboard, lighting, heating, cooling or change rooms.

Club facilities can be indoors or outdoors, multi-use centres encompassing many sports or a small stand-alone structure dedicated to a single sport, and everything in between. Most importantly regardless of size or location it is important to ensure your facilities are clean, safe and in good working order to encourage members, supporters and visitors to attend your club.

Why should clubs maintain their facilities?

Without a doubt, all clubs should want anyone who visits or participates in their club to have an enjoyable experience whilst doing so. There is nothing worse than attending a venue specifically built for your sport only to find that everything is broken, looks old or is dirty. This kind of experience discourages growth and retention of members and provides a negative reflection of your club to the community.

Taking pride in your facilities is also a great contributor to your club culture. When all your members, supporters and visitors have respect for your facilities it becomes a joint effort to contribute and maintain these standards. Added benefits of facility management also support the ongoing fundraising efforts of your club as the community and grant providers see that your club will value and take care of any donations or investments you are given.

Facilities will be specific and unique for each club and across different sports. While every club has facilities that are different, there are a great deal of processes and practices that every club should follow to ensure their club’s facilities remain safe, are looked after for years to come and are a great reflection of the club culture. To ensure this happens for your club it is imperative someone is responsible to coordinate the proper care and repairs for your club facilities.

This person is your Facility Manager.

How a ‘Facility Manager’ works

A Facility or Grounds Manager is the central point of contact for coordinating the running of your facility, looking after the facility management plan and looking at long term solutions and care of your facility.

It is not the role of the facility manager to be the only person in the club maintaining, repairing and upgrading your facilities. Nor is it the role to make major financial decisions on behalf of the club committee.

The role of the Facility Manager is to manage, maintain and ensure the safe and efficient operation of sports ground assets for club success. This position may include turf management, repairs and maintenance, security, cleaning and higher technical requirements. Facility Managers need to be able to plan in advance, anticipate changing environments and modify services where required for social, participation or financial reasons. Recommendations on improvements and more substantial infrastructure upgrades can be considered by the committees with up to date relevant information, asset registers and status reports from the Facility Manager.

To assist Facility Managers in identifying and assessing facilities and enable them to make well informed recommendations to the committee about upkeep, repairs and replacement it is important to have a ‘Facilities Management Plan’. This plan is a resource for the entire club to be able to understand, contribute to and clearly identify needs for the successful operation of the club.

Clubs that do not take the time to create a Facility Management Plan run the risk of being unproductive, vulnerable to changing market trends and most importantly wasting your most valuable asset – volunteer time and resources.

Facility Management Plans do not need to be complex and time consuming documents, although they do need to have relevant and up to date facility and assets information to be effective.