Current job (title): Building Facility Manager – Corporate Headquarters (Civic Centre Cape Town)
Name of company: City of Cape Town (Municipality)
Length at current job: 2 and a half years.
What do you do on a typical day?
Manage tenant needs in an aging building of 98400m2. I have the pleasure of having the Mayor of Cape Town and her Mayoral Committee, as well as the City Manager and his Executive Management team, senior management — in total around 3,500 officials/councillors in the building. I have to see to ensure they are safe and comfortable within the policy constraints, legislative framework, systems acts and within the budget earmarked for my portfolio – which is ratepayer funded. This embraces electrical, civil and mechanical issues, communication to the building, emergency management planning, requests for quotes, tenders.
Are you part of a team or do you work independently?
I am part of a dynamic facilities management team. I have three female colleagues who manage their separate portfolio’s. A small team assist with the daily running of the facility. There is a building management team, a compliance team, projects team, space planning team and security division with whom I have to liaise with on a daily basis.
What do you like most about your job?
The challenges of the environment and the significance of my portfolio. Interaction with the user departments such as Transport for Cape Town, Valuations, ERP and IS&T, Water, Solid Waste. Dealing with professionals ie architects and engineers to discuss and manage issues pertaining to the Civic Centre.
How have you evolved in your current job? How have you maybe evolved as a person?
I have always enjoyed working with people at all levels, and this has certainly expanded this aspect of my being. I have learnt much about legislation, red tape, policies and politics. I have been surprised at my own ability to stay calm in emergencies such as fires and floods. Managing and coordinating what needs to be done in the face of a crisis.
What do you think are the most important skills required to carry out your job?
A calm collected disposition, tenacity, a love for people and a keen interest in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in facilities management?
If you are not energetic, stay away. If you want a career that is varied, demanding, exciting, never boring, facilities management is your choice.
Where do you hope to go with your current job and your career in general?
Managing the Civic Centre Cape Town is a bit like travelling to the moon – what can compete? I have been toying with a Masters in Urban Planning; however I enjoy the hands- on people/nuts and bolts. I guess time will tell.
How have your education and / or past experiences helped prepare you for your current role?
When I did my qualification facilities management was a new field, and property management was offered. I had to opt for a second major in informatics. I would have loved doing facilities management to enhance my career. My family speculated with property, at the age of 21 my folks had renovated 25 homes. The only given in my life being change, bricks and mortar, I was born to the career. I started with Property Management in 1987, and never regret being in property/facilities management.
What type of jobs have you had in the past? (job titles are fine)
Mechanical draughtslady, personal assistant, real estate agent and commercial broker, property management, valuations.
What is your proudest accomplishment in your career to date?
Graduating, and being successful in the application for my current position. Acknowledgement when emergencies were handled well.
What do you think the climate is for your industry? Where is it headed? How has it changed?
Facilities management has become a recognised, professional and scientific career. It is heading towards an outsourced model relying on information systems and sophisticated building management / information systems that will give the facilities manager real-time information on all areas of the business. Due to the higher life expectancy we will probably become facility managers for aged facilities and with mental diseases becoming more prevalent, medical care facilities will be on the increase.