Facilities management is a field that blends business management, architecture, engineering, and (increasingly) information technology. It coordinates the physical workplace with the people and work within it.
Although work takes place in many different kinds of facilities—including factories, office buildings, hospitals, prisons, theaters, schools, and laboratories—all facilities share the need for certain services. They all need to be secure and safe, heated in winter, cooled in summer, protected from the elements, clean, and effectively connected to the infrastructures of power, water, waste removal, information, and transportation. They need to avoid fires and floods as much as possible and to be minimally disrupted by disasters and temporary setbacks such as power outages. In a small facility, one person may ride herd on all of these duties—and, in fact, this characterizes 80 percent of the establishments in this industry—but in larger facilities or in firms that manage multiple facilities, these responsibilities often are assigned to separate managerial departments and handled by specialized workers.
The businesses that arrange for all of these needs to be met belong to the industry that the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls facilities support services, which employs 154,980 workers. The global facilities management industry generated $34.65 billion in revenue in 2018, according to a report by Markets and Markets.
These figures for the industry do not represent the work that goes on in the businesses housed in the facilities. For example, there are also front desk clerks in hotels, doctors and nurses in hospitals, and the cooks and servers in restaurants. There are also people who work for establishments that contract with facility management to provide support services, such as a security business that provides guards to patrol a shopping mall at night, a plumbing business that sends someone to fix a leaky faucet in someone's a...