HARD FM VS SOFT FM Services: What’s the Difference?

Hard Fm vs Soft Fm

If you want to be able to tell the difference between Hard FM and Soft FM, you must be familiar with the different facility management tasks that facility managers do. Hard FM and Soft FM are two primary terms used to categorise facility management tasks.

There is a wide range of tasks that facility managers are responsible for. They are involved in every aspect of facilities management. From the improvement and maintenance of a facility to providing support services for the people within the facility, facility managers undertake all facility management services that would help create an optimal environment.

What are Hard FM and Soft FM?

Hard FM

Hard FM services are non-negotiable FM services that are required by law for the safety and well-being of building occupants. They are the facilities management tasks adopted to manage the physical aspects of facilities. This means that we can define Hard FM as the FM services related to the building’s physical structure.

Examples of Hard FM

  • Plumbing service

Facility managers take care of plumbing systems in buildings. They fix and replace the apparatus used in the use and distribution of water and ensure drains are unclogged and slabs are maintained.

  • HVAC servicing

As HVAC units are a primary component of a building, the facility manager sees to it that the HVAC equipment (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems) are serviced and functional.

  • Mechanical, electrical, and lighting services

Electrical, lighting, and mechanical services are also hard FM services that facility managers take care of. With a proactive approach, they can ensure you conserve and moderate your energy consumption and have illuminated spaces in your building all the time.

  • Fire protection systems

Whether in a residential or commercial facility, having a fire protection system is essential. The facility managers can help you set up a fire protection system that works, prepare a fire escape plan, and make available different fire control equipment expected to be found in a facility.

  • Building maintenance

Building maintenance is a primary hard FM service that every property owner needs. For your property to maintain its structural integrity, there should be no compromise with building maintenance.

Soft FM

Soft FM, on the other hand, is a facilities management service that makes the building environment more comfortable for the building’s occupants and visitors. They are facilities management tasks that facility managers do to ensure a pleasant and safe environment. This means that Soft FM services are concerned with managing facility usage.

Examples of Soft FM

  • Landscaping

Landscape maintenance is a soft FM service that is concerned with making the exterior of a building beautiful. Just carving out an area to create a landscape or a garden filled with flowering shrubs and trees is one little change you can make to your property to increase its value. Landscape maintenance is another Soft FM service that facility managers provide.

  • Decorating

Decorating the interior of your building is just as important as the exterior. Facility managers may not be able to do the work of an interior decorator here, but they can help you optimise the use of your space and, if necessary, create attractive demarcations that will go well with every other fixture you have in your home or office and a useful partition in your space.

  • Restaurant services

Restaurant services are Soft FM services that are more pronounced in the corporate environment. Since facility managers are a part of the administrative staff in an organization, one duty they are tasked with is to ensure meals and refreshments are gotten when needed.

  • Housekeeping services

Housekeeping services are necessary. Soft FM services involve the routine task of caring for and managing the spaces in a property. In the corporate environment, housekeeping may involve reorganising files and systems so they can function efficiently. However, housekeeping in a residential environment may refer to general cleaning to keep the living spaces clean.

  • Pest management

Pest management is the Soft FM service that involves constant fumigation to keep rodents at bay and prevent insect infestation.

  • Waste disposal

Waste management and disposal also fall under the list of soft FM services that facility managers provide. These facility management tasks ensure the property environment is always clean and tidy.

  • Vehicle Parking

Valet parking is a facility management service that helps ensure the effective use of available parking spaces on the property.

  • Workplace management

In the corporate environment, workplace administration is a part of the wide range of soft FM services that facility managers provide. Their support in the daily operation of the business brings effectiveness and efficiency to the organization.

With these examples above, you can see that the clearest distinction between Hard FM and Soft FM is this – Hard FM considers facilities management from the perspective of the maintenance needs of the facilities (structure and physical aspects), while Soft FM considers facilities management from the perspective of people’s needs (use of facilities).

However, to have an optimal environment, whether residential or commercial, you need both Hard FM and Soft FM. Incorporating both facility management services, the daily health, safety, and well-being of building occupants as well as the building structure is guaranteed.

Management of Hard and Soft FM Services

There are two ways to implement Hard and Soft FM services on your property:

  1. Using an in-house facility management team

Having an in-house facility management team is one way you can have these facility management services on your property. An in-house FM team is usually part of the organization’s employees. This FM team would consist of skilled personnel that would be responsible for the different facility management tasks that would be required. However, it is only large organisations that can afford to have an internal FM team because the cost of keeping them is quite expensive.

  1. Outsourcing your FM services

As a small or medium-scale business that doesn’t have the financial budget to keep on a huge FM team, the best option is usually to outsource your FM services. There are two ways to do that:

a) Engaging multiple contractors.

When you have multiple contractors who provide hard FM and soft FM separately, it means that you only bring in these contractors when you need them. So, for example, if you need to fix appliances or make an upgrade, that is the only time you will be compelled to invite a contractor who can help with it.

This process can seem like the cheapest way to go about ensuring an optimal environment for you, but truly, it isn’t. It can be time-consuming and counterproductive, not to mention the frustrating and overwhelming feeling of having to deal with so many contractors at once.

b) A single contractor who provides both hard and soft FM services.

This is the best of the two options when looking to outsource FM services. Having a single contractor who offers both hard and soft FM services manage your FM services will free you from the hassle of engaging with so many contractors can bring. Not only that, your FM services will be carried out by experts and in a more professional way. A single contractor that offers both hard and soft FM services is called a facility management company.

Conclusion

Since both services are essential, therefore, facility managers are expected to make provisions for both services.

James Cubitt Facility Managers (JCFM) is a facility management company that can help affect hard FM and Soft FM on your property. Our facility management packages are suitably designed to provide corporate and residential facilities with facility management services to meet their needs.

Our approach is simple. First, we understand and analyze your needs, provide you with invaluable recommendations, help you formulate a strategy, implement them, and ultimately help you save costs. Our goal is to help you create an optimal environment whether a commercial or residential facility with the facility management services we provide.

Phone No: +234 904 000 6627, +234 904 000 6628

Email: info@jamescubittfm.com

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