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Facilities Manager

Facilities Managers not only handle the day-to-day management of a building’s operations, be it a shopping mall, condominium, office or multi-use building, they are also involved in managing peoples such as contractors and officers. They ensure that the building and its facilities are accessible, safe and in working order, while also ensuring the needs of its tenants and occupants are met.

A day in the life of a Facilities Manager…

A Facilities Manager

Celeste Lok, CapitaLand Commercial Management

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Success stories

Read about the motivations, inspirations and achievements of one of Singapore’s property officers.

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They say education is a lifelong journey. Facilities manager Vinson Chen is a testament to that.

Fueled by his interest in the built environment sector, he went on to pursue a Diploma in Building and Real Estate Management in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, after he completed the National Technical Certificate Grade Two in Building Drafting (Architectural) course at Bedok ITE College. He then went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Building Services from the Heriot-Watt University, UK.

Never stop learning

Even after he started work with SMM Pte Ltd, the facilities management arm of Jurong International, he never stopped his pursuit of learning. Within his five-year stint at the company, he went on to complete three certification courses including the Green Mark Facilities Manager programme. He also attained a specialist diploma, as well as a bachelor degree in environment and occupational health and safety.

“As a professional, the Green Mark programme had broadened my knowledge to excel in my career; it has allowed me to be more savvy in managing my housing expenses at home,” he shares. 
 
Green management
 
Vinson specialises in planning, maintaining and monitoring operations to ensure the smooth running of facilities, including fire safety provisions of buildings. Among the types of buildings he has managed are commercial properties, government schools, flatted factories and office spaces.  
 
“The most important part of my job is to look into enhancing the building's performance”, he says.
 
As a Facilities Manager, he has to propose enhancements to improve the physical environment. Such enhancements can include Universal Design features for users of all ages and those with disabilities,  or green features, such as energy efficient fittings, and that is where his interest in sustainability comes in.
 
Love for nature
 
Being an adventurous person, Vinson loves the outdoors, and is constantly challenging himself physically by conquering peaks such as Mount Ophir, Mount Tahan and Mount Lambak in Malaysia. He has even climbed Mount Kinabalu 10 times so far. It is this passion that leads him to want to inject a bit of greenery into the buildings he manages.
 
“The greatest sense of satisfaction is when your green ideas are adapted and appreciated,” he adds. “Yes, living in a red dot like Singapore, and being able to play a part in climate change is indeed fulfilling. I am hoping to see more green projects in our public transport. For example, solar operated train systems.”
 
His best memory at work is getting his hands dirty on the ground with the students in Fuchun Primary School, which he used to manage, planting and increasing the footprint of plants.  
 
He feels there are more areas to extend green projects to, such as the private and public housings because these are the places we spend most of our time with our families. 

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Have you ever wondered who comes up with the concepts behind the design of new and revamped shopping centres? Well Xin Rui, once a Senior Executive in the Investment and Asset Management department for CapitaLand Retail Limited and now a manager at Jewel Changi Airport Development Pte Ltd is guilty as charged.

"I get to do, as part of my job, what most women love to do as a hobby – browse the malls!" she laughs. "You must love new things and have a sense of curiosity. As you are shopping, you should always be looking for ideas for new concepts and have an open mind to let creativity flow."

Of course, while browsing, there is a serious objective to her mall visits. Xin Rui is tasked to evaluate and conduct feasibility studies for potential retail real estate opportunities. This involves financial analysis, market research, and report preparation for proposals that suggest new concepts for new shopping centres. Also, for existing shopping centres in the portfolio, Xin Rui looks into the endless possibilities to enhance these malls so as to drive in increased volumes of consumer traffic and optimise returns for the property owner.

"It can be challenging," Xin Rui explains. "Consumer tastes always change, particularly in retail concepts. People are looking for new experiences all the time, so we have to keep shopping centres updated. Staying on top of market competition and setting new industry benchmarks is essential to the business."

A prime example of Xin Rui’s work is the enhanced Raffles City Shopping Centre, where better use of space was created for new and signature tenants, increasing revenue potential for the property owner and creating an exciting new retail experience for shoppers.

Xin Rui loves to try out new activities outside her work. This has included climbing Mount Kinabalu in Eastern Malaysia of all things! She saw it as a challenge she couldn’t resist, training for three months before the climb. This ambitious lady applies the same determination and dedication to her work. "I handle challenges by taking one step at a time until I reach my goal." A high climber indeed.

Job scope

Some responsibilities a facilities manager has include:

  • Day-to-day management of a building's operations
  • Tenancy matters and tenant relationship 
  • Provision of preventive and corrective maintenance to building facilities
  • Ensuring ease of accessibility of facilities and common areas in a building for all

Qualities

Here are some qualities that a competent facilities manager should have:

  • An eye for details
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Good public relations and organisation skills

SALARY GUIDE FOR
POLYTECHNIC GRADUATES

The salaries below serve as a guide for graduates in Facilities Management for Business, Integrated Facility Design & Management, Integrated Facilities Management, Leisure & Business Facilities Management, Property Development & Facilities Management and Hotel & Leisure Facilities Management.

Median monthly gross starting salary

Fresh graduates

$2,000

SALARY GUIDE FOR 
UNIVERSITY GRADUATES

The salaries below serve as a guide for graduates in Project & Facilities Management and Real Estate

Median monthly gross starting salary

Fresh graduates

$3,000
 
Source: MOM report on wages in Singapore, 2015.
Median monthly gross starting salaries includes basic wage, overtime pay, commissions and allowances. Bonuses are excluded.

Education route

Your education roadmap to becoming a facilities manager:

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* The above chart is intended as a guide for general reference only.