Evidence – Based Facility Management

Why it is important, why now for the Facility Management profession.

Chuck Griffin

Article by Chuck Griffin, President of Griffin & Associates

Evidence-based management (EBM) is an emerging movement to explicitly use the current, best evidence in management decision-making. Its roots are in evidence-based medicine, a quality movement to apply the scientific method to medical practice.

Having the second largest budgets in corporations, FM Organizations spend money on resources, capital, maintenance and technology but never seem to finalize connecting the information dots. Why is that? How much time does your organization spend getting accurate information?

Many times Facility Managers make decisions with incomplete information. Evidence Based Management is a concept designed to help us make the right choices at the right time. Why is it then that many of us ignore it? Instead we use outdated information or our own experiences to arrive at decisions? This is simply is a waste of time and money and jeopardizes the credibility and effectiveness of your organization.

Start your organization on the path to evidenced-based management by:

  • Building a culture in which people are encouraged to be truthful, even if it is not what you might want to hear. (deal with the facts)
  • Adopt the integration of information and information inter-dependency sharing.
  • Make decisions based on the facts and what will work best for your organization.
  • Be committed to getting the best evidence and using it to guide your management decision making process.
  • Position your organization to be a continuously developing and evolving structure striving to prosper in the future.
  • Evaluate the impacts (good and bad) of decisions made.

If your FM organization is responsible for the ownership and/or stewardship of assets, (Built Environment) Evidence – Based management worth considering. You may have an efficient organization, but more importantly is it effective?

7 essentials for being effective:

  1. Strategic direction;
  2. Current and documented business processes;
  3. Current and accurate information sharing;
  4. Performance management and reporting;
  5. Correct functional organizational alignment and resource development;
  6. Transition planning and strategies;
  7. Having accurate analyzed information at the right time;

Let’s take a look at how an Evidence – Based framework can be applied to Comprehensive Facility Management.

Facilities Management

10 questions to ask what evidence you actually have:

  1. Is your organization moving in the proper strategic direction and is it understood to support of corporate needs? Vision, Mission, Values, Specific Goals and Objectives
  2. Do you have a Transition Management plan allowing your organization to be flexible?
  3. Do you have a formal Marketing Plan? Do customers actually know what you do?
  4. Does everyone understand what information is needed by whom and when?
  5. Do you have the correct resource in the proper position? Qualified for the function?
  6. Do your processes reflect how or how your organization should be doing business?
  7. Is all the information about your assets current? Data, Life cycle, Maintenance strategies, Drawings?
  8. Are our maintenance strategies compliant to achieve life cycle forecast? Performance, Reporting, Analysis?
  9. Do your technologies provide the appropriate functionality to support the business of your organization? Data, Reporting, Notifications, Dashboard, Etc.?
  10. Is your organization structured to provide Evidence-Based decisions reliably and repeatedly? How much time and money is wasted trying to get accurate information?

If we take a look at question 7, how do we adopt Evidence- Based concepts? To ensure accurate historical, current and forecasted information, establish a framework in your organization to make decisions based on knowledge transfer and the best evidence available by ensuring the following are successfully implemented:

  • Adjustment of life cycle and maintenance strategies based on commissioning data, design and operation under warranty;
  • Management of the warranty and validation of operation prior to warranty expiration;
  • Maximizing resource efforts on predictive, preventive and inspections maintenance strategies in support of life cycle forecast;
  • Analysis of the impacts of insufficient  knowledge transfer and totally integrated information management;
  • Incorporation of corrective maintenance analysis in conjunction with predictive, preventive, and inspections analysis resulting in Evidence – Based information;
  • Identification of component performance based on manufacture, system design, installation data, application and run time;
  • Technologies provide the proper outputs for each function of your organization at the right time;
  • Sufficient administration effort required to maintain current accurate information in a timely manner;
  • Assurance that resulting design, engineering and maintenance activities and trends validate current sending and adjust future spending requirements;
  • A totally integrated environment combining: asset decisions, people performance, processes, technologies, service delivery, and overall organizational results;
  • Managers and staff stay current in their field;

The goal is to make Evidence – Based decisions that are justified and quantified.


Chuck Griffin (chuck@cgriffinassociates.ca) is President of Griffin & Associates specializing in organizational design and performance. www.cgriffinassociates.ca. Based in Mississauga, Ontario.

Chuck was the Academic Advisor and Consultant for the University of Toronto’s Facility Management Certificate Program and is a development team member of the new Evidence – Based Facility Management Program being offered in February 2011.