The FM Professional

Facilities management costs: 5 FM cost-saving ideas

Brina Martens
July 7th, 2020

The way people work is undergoing a massive shift. Companies are now seeing the possibilities of integrating more permanent remote work opportunities into their operations. Facilities management costs are top of mind for many companies.

With this shift, comes the need to cut costs wherever possible. There are several ways facility managers (FMs) can make effective cost reductions without compromising on employee experience or company culture.


In this article, we’re sharing a few opportunities for facility management cost savings.

Adopt sustainable initiatives and smart technology

Reducing your building’s energy consumption is a great place to start with facility management cost savings. Smart building practices can help you minimize costs and decrease your carbon footprint by helping you understand your most significant usage factors.

When thinking about how you can make environmentally-conscious changes to your building, sustainable initiatives, and smart technology go hand-in-hand. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, by implementing smart technology changes, companies can reduce their annual energy consumption by up to 18% for HVAC systems, 28% for plugged equipment, and 33% for lighting.

For example, you could implement sensors to help regulate various components in the office, such as lighting or temperature, based on occupancy. Or you could add solar panels to the roof of your building to cut down on energy consumption.

Smart buildings can help reduce energy usage and help employees change their consumption habits.


Roll out a preventative and predictive maintenance system

Building and system maintenance is an expense every company has to face. But it’s possible to make those costs significantly less burdensome with preventative and predictive maintenance. Preventative and predictive maintenance systems are two excellent ways to cut costs from reactionary or emergency maintenance efforts.

With preventative maintenance systems, FMs can catch issues or malfunctions before they happen and fix problems before they turn into larger, more expensive ones. Predictive maintenance works similarly. Instead of notifying the right personnel that an issue is impending, predictive maintenance alerts you when something should be done, even if it’s not the time for scheduled maintenance. Things don’t (usually) break on a schedule, so predictive maintenance is a great way to cut costs on repairs.

Not only is emergency and reactive maintenance expensive, but so can be unnecessary routine maintenance. Fixing equipment before it breaks—even if it’s ahead of schedule—can help companies save drastically.

For example, your maintenance system could send notifications to the maintenance and FM teams when an air filter needs to be replaced before the air quality is affected. This could be especially helpful when it comes to preventing the spread of viruses, too.

Implement a BAS

Building automation systems (BAS) allow FMs to monitor and manage various aspects of a building, such as HVAC, security, lighting, and more. BAS allows for streamlined building automation, which can help cut costs.

Typically, a building’s HVAC system uses the most energy, and a BAS can help regulate that consumption. The BAS helps control things like air conditioning and heating, which subsequently acts as an energy management system that results in significant savings.

BAS also makes it easier for FMs to manage the different components of a building and enact changes where applicable. Plus, if your company decides to allow employees to work remotely in a more permanent setting, cutting costs on heating, cooling, and other building systems will be critical to reducing costs.

Also, a BAS gives FMs a comprehensive view of the health of the entire building. This makes it easier to identify areas that need immediate attention, areas that could use optimizing, and other cost-cutting information.


Consider IoT, sensors, and analytics opportunities

Internet of Things (IoT) and connecting technologies, like sensors, can foster a more efficient workplace—both from a productivity and financial standpoint.

IoT is a system of devices, like appliances and tools built with connectivity capabilities that allow them to sync, communicate, and exchange data. With IoT technology, companies can create systems of efficiency, but FMs can use them to optimize the building further.

For example, if your company is implementing shift work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, IoT technology can be used to manage your employees better, see which employees are present and abiding by physical distancing practices, and more. 


IoT technology can be used in various ways to cut costs:

Improve security and building management

With IoT, you can create a system that notifies essential personnel in case of an emergency, a building malfunction, or a potential security risk.

Streamline office management

IoT can help FMs manage the building’s spaces more efficiently. This technology can also help FMs see how many employees are working in the office at a time, which can help with understanding real estate costs, forecasting, and more.

Leverage big data

FMs can use the data collected by IoT systems to make improvements around the building, cut costs, understand how space is used, and so much more.

Assess your building for SPaaS possibilities

As companies become more on board with a fixed remote work option for employees, buildings will be at less capacity than before. That extra space can be costly, especially if you’re having to heat, cool, and light certain areas not being used. 

SPaaS, or space as a service, is the idea that landlords offer features to tenants that boost the experience in an area. Pre-pandemic, examples of SPaaS could be found in coworking spaces like Regus, The Wing, and Knotel. These spaces grew in popularity due to the added value they offered members in the form of collaborative spaces, exclusive events, shipping and printing centers, coffee bars, and more. These companies redefined typical workspaces by combining community with convenience. 

While this would warrant additional cleaning practices and health safety measures, moving to a coworking space might make sense for smaller teams – especially as companies shift to more permanent flexible work arrangements.


Facilities management costs: More remote work flexibility, less space needed

There are many opportunities for FMs to cut costs, especially as more employees turn to work remotely more often. Take a look at what makes sense for your unique space and see what is feasible. 

With fewer employees in the office at a time for the foreseeable future, FMs can implement changes and cut costs that most accurately reflect occupancy use and a different set of requirements due to the pandemic. 

What are some ways your company has saved on facility management? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet!

Photos: Scott Graham, Syaibatul Hamdi, Science in HD, OSS